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Why Borderline Personality Disorder Won't Keep Me From Reaching My Goals

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All my life I have been told I can’t.

I dropped out of school because I missed too many classes due to struggling with my borderline personality disorder (BPD).

“I can do better,” I said.

“No, you can’t,” my teacher said.

After my diagnosis I got a guardian from social services and they offered me a spot in a group home.

“I would rather live alone,” I said.

“You can’t live alone,” my guardian said.

So I was moved into a group home.

After one year of being certified sick and doing nothing but therapy I decided I wanted to go to college and become a professional in disability and mental health care. I wanted to help others who struggle like me.

“Then we would be co-workers,” my guardian said and laughed as if it was the most ridiculous idea ever.

“You shouldn’t be responsible for other people,” my therapist said.

“You can’t,” my psychiatrist said.

“Yes, I can,” I said and left the city for good.

I went to college to become a professional in disability and mental health care.

“People with BPD can not keep a stable job. Or have a long term relationship. In fact they can barely do anything,” my psychiatry teacher said. “I hope you never have to work with them.”

I sat in her classroom quietly.

I got a job in a group home for people with mental illnesses. One of my clients is a young girl who was recently diagnosed with BPD. She dreams of becoming an artist.

“She can’t,” my coworkers say and laugh.

“Why not?”

“Because she’s a borderliner!”

All my life I have been told I can’t. By family, by teachers, by professionals. Again and again until I believed it. Until I gave up on my dreams and accepted my future would be what others decided was best for me. I would never live on my own, have a family or a job. I accepted I was what they made me feel like: useless.

The stigma surrounding this disorder is real and dangerous. When people hear the term “borderline” they automatically think of what they have heard about “these people.” They are dangerous. They are violent. They just want attention. They do drugs. They will destroy you.

Individuals who struggle with BPD tend to have low self-esteem to start with. The stigma makes it worse. It makes it hard to accept the diagnosis and even harder to seek help because even professionals are often biased. In fact, some therapists turn clients down because of their BPD diagnosis.

A lot of people affected by it keep it to themselves simply so they don’t scare away friends and potential partners.

When you are a “borderliner,” you often get hate instead of help from those around you, although it is the latter you so desperately need.

But there is one thing everyone needs to hear: yes, we can.

We are people like everyone else. We are not monsters.

We can make our own decisions. They might not always be good, but we have a right to make them.

We have plans. We have dreams. And with a lot of work and passion we can achieve them. It might be a lot harder for us than for other people. But we can. And don’t you ever let anyone tell you you can’t.

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Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: February 3, 2017
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