The Part of Living With Borderline Personality Disorder I Have a Hard Time Talking About
I’ve become an advocate for mental health and use social media as the platform I bravely stand upon. I’ve quickly become comfortable with sharing my story with strangers and have fortunately become numb to any negativity I receive. I’ve talked about most aspects of my illness: my symptoms, my need for medication, how I cope and what my good and bad days look like.
However, there is one aspect of my borderline personality disorder (BPD) I find extremely difficult to think about, let alone talk about. I’ve always denied this part of my illness, and I still do. I’m ashamed and brought down by the reality of it. The part of my BPD I’m usually silent about is the relationship aspect of my illness, of which I’m openly talking about for the first time right now.
I’ve always denied the affect my BPD has had on my relationships and because I’ve remained in denial for so long, accepting the reality now hurts, a lot. It’s hard to accept there’s something I can’t control taking a toll on my relationships, whether they be platonic or romantic. I can’t control my illness. Although most of the time I can manage it, my relationships still suffer. The relationships that have suffered the most because of my BPD have been my romantic relationships, and so I have experienced so much heartache in my life.
My symptoms have taken the biggest toll on my romantic relationships, and only after all of those failed relationships did I realize and try to rectify this. My BPD comes with a lot of unpleasant symptoms (unpleasant to say the least). I experience mood swings, impulsivity, promiscuity, hypersexuality, fear of abandonment and what are now infrequent suicidal thoughts. Each of those symptoms, particularly the mood swings, have been the partial culprit of my many failed relationships.
My mood swings come hard and fast and are hard for people close to me to tolerate. When one moment I’m pleasant and happy and the next moment I’m the complete opposite, partners from my past have become irritated and confused. After months of this, they ultimately ended our relationship and deemed me “crazy.”
I believed them because I didn’t understand how my symptoms affected me. I didn’t see how they affected my relationships. Thus, I felt crazy. It was only after several confusing breakups and my heart taking a beating, did I figure out it wasn’t my fault. It was my BPD, and the symptoms that come with it.
Along with accepting why I’ve had unhealthy and unstable relationships with men, I’ve accepted I’m not totally at fault and that my past partners had a part in our failed relationships, too. They didn’t understand my mental illness, just like I didn’t, but they didn’t try or want to understand. They only “knew something was wrong” with me, but instead of sticking around to figure it out with me, they called me names and left.
Not one of them were patient with me or compassionate during my difficult times. Not one of them supported me. Lack of patience, understanding, compassion and support can certainly put a strain on a relationship. The lack of those things, in addition to my then undiagnosed mental illness, is what ended those romantic relationships.
I always thought my romantic relationships ended because I was “crazy” like my partners often said with gusto. Though I’m not and wasn’t crazy, my relationships did end partially because of me and because of my BPD. That’s hard for me to accept and admit, and it’s hard not to place the blame entirely on myself. It’s difficult to talk about this, but as I do, I feel a giant weight lifted from my shoulders. My BPD has has a negative effect on my past romantic relationships. I won’t deny that anymore.
What I’ll do is work vigilantly to manage my BPD and its symptoms so that my future romantic relationships won’t suffer. I will also start talking about this part of my BPD, in hopes that this part of my story will help someone else and continue to help myself. It’s hard to talk about, but I’m doing it for my sanity and for the sake of people who have BPD like me.