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Going Global to Find Peace With Borderline Personality Disorder

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I’ve just gone to war with my mind.

It might be the thing that destroys me once and for all. But I suspect it is the very thing that will make me…in the end.

After two years living at my home in the UK with my Australian boyfriend, I’ve made the difficult decision to travel to Oz with him to see his son and leave my own three boys behind for three months. For someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD), this is not an easy decision to make. Separation from those we love can cause immense pain and suffering.

Not to mention the fact that my boys have a 50 percent chance of developing BPD as it is, without their mother “abandoning” them for three months. I have no idea how my boys are going to process my leaving. I only know of my own abandonment issues. And I saw my dad every fortnight. But him leaving us when I was two affected me deeply throughout my childhood, into adulthood and beyond. I can only hope and pray that my boys are made of stronger stuff than me.

So far my partner and I have been in quarantine in Melbourne for 12 days due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Australia makes everyone coming from overseas spend two weeks in forced quarantine. It’s illegal not to. So far it’s been 16 days since I saw my boys.

I’m coping OK at the moment. Every now and then the enormity of the distance between me and my children hits me like a brick to the head. A knife in the heart. It knocks the wind out of me. I gasp. Fuck! My babies. So so far away. What if something happens to them? At best I can get to them in 21 hours. The feeling is torturous. For anyone. Let alone someone with BPD. I crave their smell. Their touch. Their warmth. I long to kiss my baby and hold my older boys. I could weep right now.

A banner promoting The Mighty's new BPD Safe Zone group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Join the BPD Safe Zone -- a safe and nonjudgmental space for anyone living with borderline personality disorder to talk openly about their experiences. Click to join the BPD Safe Zone.

But on the flip side I get to be with my love in his home country. He gets to see his boy who he himself has gone without for 18 long months. I can’t even fathom it. And I get to meet his boy for the first time. I get to see the man I love in a new light. As a father. I can’t tell you how that excites me. I know firsthand what a good father he is from watching him with my own children. But this is different. How can I love him fully when I don’t know him completely? I can’t. I need to see this other side to him. No. I want to. I want to see the other half of him that so far has eluded me. Only then can I say that I love him. Truly.

When my visa runs out I have to return home. Alone. My partner will stay on in Australia to bed down his career and relationship with his son. It shames me to admit this terrifies me more than leaving my own children halfway across the world. But my fellow borderlines, I know, won’t judge me for this. He is my favorite friend. Being separated from him causes me untold anxiety. My brain torments me. Even my antipsychotics can’t shut it up. Quarantine has been hard and yet oh so easy, as I never have to be separated from him. But I get my dark days. The days where I think about flying home alone. Leaving my lover behind. 10,000 miles away from me.

Will he be faithful? Will he fall out of love with me? Will he decide to stay in Oz forever? Will he like his life better without me? Round and round they go. I tell myself to shut up. I tell myself to grow up. But I can’t. I can’t. I also can’t imagine being so far away from him. From his presence. His touch. His smell. All the things I miss about my children. Only 1,000 times magnified. I honestly don’t know how I will cope. But cope I must.

He tells me not to hate my BPD. But how can I not? I can’t begin to explain to those without it how it feels. I’ll try. Thinking about leaving him here, the panic starts in my gut. Churning and flapping like a million butterflies on speed. Bile rises in my throat burning harder than a bushfire. My head bangs like 100 workmen are drilling into my sickly brain. My heart pounds. Palms sweat. My mind lies to me. That is the very worst of it. The lies. The tricks. Shut up. Shut up. Shut up!

I need air, but I’m trapped in this damn hotel room. I need to run. But I’m stuck here. Swimming around in my own lies. I’m drowning. I’m sinking. Somebody please help me. I pop pills. I deep breathe. Try to calm. I cry. My partner holds me. Tells me it’s going to be OK. Tells me what I need to hear. It helps. A little.

The storm has passed. For now.

Getty image by FreshSplash

Originally published: July 17, 2020
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