I asked my best friend Anisha about her understanding of borderline personality disorder, as well as the relationship between my BPD and our friendship.
Anisha and I met in first year of university and we immediately sparked a close friendship bound by a shared sense of humour and a desire to live life on our own terms. Here's what Anisha had to say...
What is your understanding of BPD?
I’ve been friends with Rosie for nearly ten years, and since her BPD diagnosis we’ve had several conversations about what this means. From what I understand, BPD can be an incredibly debilitating condition, causing emotions too deep and painful to be harnessed.
It seems to be very introspective, in that there might be constant self-evaluation or self-judgment, perhaps leading to heavy insecurities within a person. Apart from the mental weight these bring, they could also cause physical harm.
How can friends can help with mental health problems?
I think everything starts with being open about mental health. Friendships could be amazing safe spaces to talk, listen, learn, and understand each other better. There is so much out there about how the stigma attached to mental health problems does nothing but perpetuate silence and terrible feelings of shame.
Maybe it is about taking the time and making the effort to building these safe spaces together. This can happen in many ways, one of the main ones being open, honest communication.
Do you have any tips for friends of people with BPD?
BPD seems to come in like a storm, particularly during periods of transition or high demands. I think in any friendship, but perhaps even more so with BPD, to be able to hold fast and be consistent is so important.
The condition seems to produce this fear that telling others about it - in any detail - will be ‘too much’. Friends may not be able to provide the correct medical aid or advice, but maybe it is simply enough to let someone know you are present, listening, and not leaving.
Can BPD positively impact a friendship?
I truly think it can! BPD is a very real, consuming condition, but a friend is someone you invested in for so many reasons. It is an important part of someone, but it isn’t all of them. Rosie lives with BPD, and is also one of the most intelligent and interesting people I know.
We are in a relationship like any other, where we continuously learn from each other, and therefore develop more empathy and sensitivity. We also mess about and have many laughs. I don’t think a mental health diagnosis can stop you from growing, and in my experience it gives you the chance to grow together.
Thank you so much Anisha for sharing your thoughts. You have done so much over the years to make me feel valued as a person, even when my self-worth was on the floor. I hope everyone with BPD can find a friend as supportive and understanding as you.