In this guest post, Charlotte (she/her), aged 28- feminist, adwoman, mental illness- shares her experiences of living with borderline personality disorder, amongst other diagnoses and conditions. 'For me, getting the BPD diagnosis was almost a relief', she writes, 'it finally made sense why I did the things I did and felt the way I felt. I think the emotions shared in Charlotte's writing will bring comfort to many people.
'From about the age of 12 I have suffered from an eating disorder, which was formally diagnosed along with depression and anxiety around the age of 18. I have been receiving (private) treatment on and off and have been under proper care for 7 years, since I was around 21 years old.
For a long time I got my head around those given diagnosis but there was always a bit of me missing. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t deal (or even name) my emotions, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t build relationships, and I couldn’t understand why I was so afraid everyone hated me, and was going to leave me. For me, getting the BPD diagnosis was almost a relief. It finally made sense why I did the things I did and felt the way I felt.
I believe that a lot of my problems with BPD have to do with the trauma I had in my upbringing, and thus most of my treatment has been around that. My therapist doesn’t focus on the diagnosis much, but more on the behaviours that I portray. I have undergone DBT [dialectical behaviour therapy], CBT [cognitive behaviour therapy] and am currently undergoing EMDR [eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy].
DBT has been helpful for me, and the tools that work for me, is something that I look back at on a daily basis. I believe many of my problems will stay with my life long, so for me its around knowing which tools to use when, and improving my day to day by keeping the behaviours at bay.
EMDR has been a completely different story- as I am still undergoing it, I can’t give a full account. However, it has allowed me to process certain traumas already and I hope that it continues to do so, so that I can make peace with what happened and learn to move on. One of the main things I hope it improves is my terrible ability to build healthy attachments.
Personally, I think there is a stigma around the diagnosis ‘personality disorder’ and often when I talk about my mental illnesses I find it easy to say eating disorder, anxiety disorder and depression, but I often leave out the last one, the BPD. I do hope I can become more certain of myself, less scared to say those words. It’s part of who I am, and I think it will be for a long time.
One thing that I’ll never forget, and try to hold on to-- those with BPD feel a lot. You hurt a lot, but you also have a lot of love to give. And that is certainly true.'
-- Charlotte, @charlottschreu --
Thank you so much Charlotte for sharing your experiences. Like you, I have always found it far harder to disclose BPD than any other diagnoses or conditions. Over time though, I have developed the confidence to say the words 'borderline personality disorder' out loud, so much so that I am mostly comfortable to speak about it.
I love how you finish by expressing that people with BPD 'hurt a lot', but 'also have a lot to give'. I couldn't agree more. I really hope that your powerful words act as a reminder of inherent worth to anyone struggling with self-loathing today: you are worthy of care, respect and support.
I wish you all the best Charlotte with your EMDR therapy and thank you again for sharing your feelings and experiences here today.
You can learn more about Charlotte via Twitter @charlottschreu.
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