An open letter to those with questions…
I have a mental illness. I’m not crazy and my illness doesn’t define me. I have borderline personality disorder. I’ve struggled with self harm, bulimia, and suicidal thoughts. But I’m still alive and I’m still fighting.
I know that many of you have wondered where I’ve been over the last few months…so here’s the truth – I’ve been in and out of the hospital since January. I tried to take my own life in April. Thankfully, I was unsuccessful.
Every day is a battle for me. I wrestle with myself and my own thoughts – thoughts that I cannot control. I try, with every fiber of my being, to not let my mental illness effect those around me. But the truth is, if you care about me, my mental illness will effect you.
You see, I don’t view the world the same way you do. I obsess. I worry. I isolate. I cry. I over think. I panic. I hide. Sometimes, I wish I could just run away.
Borderline personality disorder is a living hell. Those of us with BPD have an extremely difficult time regulating our emotions, an unstable sense of self, and a hard time maintaining relationships. It’s been said that people with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. I didn’t choose to have BPD. According to the doctors, BPD most frequently develops in children who have been abused, neglected, and/or abandoned before the age of 5…circumstances that’re beyond the control of a small child. BPD develops as a way to cope with a world that makes no sense. It’s our brain’s subconscious way of helping us deal with the chaos in our lives.
I might not be very good at being a friend. I don’t know how to talk to people. I’m terrified of rejection and abandonment. I don’t do small talk. I hate talking on the phone. Most days, I would give almost anything to just be able to interact with the world like a “normal” person. My family often walks on eggshells around me, not knowing if I’m having a good day or a bad day.
I constantly feel guilty and ashamed for the effect that my mental illness has had on those closest to me. I wish I could give my husband and children more of me, but BPD takes so much from me that I don’t have much left to give.
The biggest thing you need to understand about BPD is that I struggle with emotions. I hate emotions because they scare me. I feel things on a much deeper level than most people. I can feel extreme joy and happiness. But I can also feel terrifying depression and anxiety. I don’t understand emotions. I don’t know how to cope with them. Even when I feel extreme joy, I am overwhelmed with fear about what to DO with that emotion.
So to sum it all up, if you take only one thing away from this post, please remember that I love deeply and, just like everyone else, I long for love and acceptance. I am only human. You many not understand me – don’t worry, I don’t understand me either. But I ask that you please be patient with me. If I don’t answer you calls, don’t take it personally – sometimes I just can’t find the strength to talk on the phone. Sometimes I don’t know the right words to say – don’t take offense to it.