How Borderline Personality Disorder Manifests In Me

Author’s note: This is a personal essay, written from my individual experience. While psychiatric medication has not proven itself to be an effective treatment for my particular case of borderline personality disorder, I want to acknowledge that it is an effective treatment for many. And even though I consider myself to have been failed by our medical system, I want to make it known that I am not against Western medicine. And I certainly do not recommend that anyone reading this stop taking their medication without first talking to their doctor.

Winter of 2011

“I don’t think you have bipolar disorder,” my at-the-time boyfriend says to me.

His claims are ridiculous. How could I not have bipolar? I have been struggling with depression for years, but despite being depressed I have an abundance of energy. Besides, bipolar II disorder is what the psychiatrist diagnosed me with, so certainly this diagnosis is correct.

Still, I entertain my boyfriend’s delusions: “Okay… why do you think I don’t have bipolar?” I do not hide the skepticism in my voice.

“Because,” he continues, a bit frantically, “I think what you actually have is borderline personality disorder.”

And he pulls up the symptoms. I read through them, expecting to disagree. I am shocked, however, that I do not disagree.

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Falling In Love Triggered My Borderline Personality Disorder

Just over a year ago, sitting on a beach log with my mother, I told her, “Honestly, at this point, I don’t know if I even want a relationship.”

This shocked her. I had always been a hopeless romantic—someone in love with the idea of love—so it was strange for me to be spouting this new idea.

But, by the last quarter of 2021, this was where I was at: my heart had been broken enough times for my brain to question whether or not love was worth it. Everyone probably feels this way at some point in their life. Couple this normal human experience with the crippling fear of abandonment that my borderline personality disorder plagues me with, and I had a lot of incentive to never make myself vulnerable again.

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A Letter To The Therapist Who Threw Gasoline On The Fire That Is My Borderline Personality Disorder

Dear therapist,

You know I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. In fact, you helped me recover from it eight years ago. You know, for me, it manifests itself as an extreme, irrational fear of abandonment, and frantic attempts to avoid said abandonment. You have worked through these issues with me before.

Alongside my borderline, you know I am the most anxious fuck. No one needs to bother warning me about the sky falling, because I am already well-prepared for all the potential ways the sky could fall.

Tied into both my anxiety disorder and my BPD, you know that one of my greatest flaws is how I struggle to let go of intrusive thoughts and pull myself out of obsessive thought loops.

To put it simply: my mind often feels like a prison, a prison I have no escape from. Sometimes, if I catch the trigger early enough, and if the right supports are in place, I manage to crawl out of the thought loop. But when things get really bad, I often feel as though the only thing that can save me from my own mind is time.

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