To Those Newly Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder

I know borderline personality disorder feels like a life sentence; a punishment. Things were bad before, but now you’ve learned that you have something within you that damns you into a life of turmoil. It’s knowing that your feelings betray you and your world is vastly different from those around you. You’re lost, confused, and terrified.

Googling borderline personality disorder doesn’t help. You’re met with people who believe that those like you are monsters. That you’re incapable of caring for anyone but yourself. Having this disorder comes with labels such as crazy, psycho, selfish, bitch, and overdramatic.

It’s enough to make you think that you’re not worthy of treatment. After all, it’s hard to find a therapist. They keep sending you referrals and passing you over to the next one. Medication seems to make it worse or make you feel nothing at all. Sometimes, you hurt yourself to feel some semblance of normalcy. The pain lets you know that you’re still alive.

But through the little fractures in your mind, a bit of light gets through. You’re someone who feels something so intensely, that it urges you to pursue what you want. You love without limits. You struggle to see the flaws in someone you care about. If there is something that you want, you chase after it, relentlessly.

This is a piece of your personality. They call it a disorder, but it’s a part of you. Over the months and years that will pass, you will learn when the ugly parts of your personality start taking over your life. You will learn how to tame it. You’ll stop hurting yourself.

Because deep within you, there is aggression. There is a person who can cause destruction through your rage or someone who will master control over your emotions that come pouring out. You have the ability to choose how you want your future to look like. Make the choice to start dialectical behavioral therapy or spend wasted years brooding over your diagnosis. Decide to seek medication or vitamins that can help relax the terrifying urges. Use your words to tell others you need some space, instead of letting everything boil over until you’ve cut everyone from your life.

Borderline personality disorder is a piece of you and a piece of me. We’re trapped in a hurricane of intense emotions, but we don’t have to fight against it. We can articulate those feelings into poetry. We can choose to love others while creating healthy boundaries. We can choose to seek the help that we desperately need so maybe one day we stop hurting ourselves.

Instead, transform the pain into written pieces, into art. Paint your feelings, tear it up, and sew it back together. Create music. Throw yourself into your work and life’s calling, with a passion that is unmatched. Borderline personality disorder isn’t something to fear. It’s a diagnosis that you can work with.

Despite all the hurt and despair you’re feeling right now, there is a light on the other side. The journey you’re about to embark on will bring forth the rawness of your trauma and a storm of tears. It’s a lonely path, filled with darkness… but there is always a spark at the end. You’ll realize, months after your journey has started, that you have gotten better. That the healing has begun, even though you didn’t feel the shift. The light does get bigger and life becomes more bearable.

But you have to take that first step into recovery. Keep your tools of survival close and move forward in your path. Let go of those who have abandoned you or ridiculed who you are. Leave behind the things that hold you in place, and let yourself pursue healing. One foot in front of the other.

13 years after my journey first began, I am still diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Regardless of the name that others give it, BPD is the reason I started writing. It gave me hope and purpose in my life. I’ve dated dozens of men until I realized what I truly wanted and then waited for that man. Friends have come and go, and I learned about growing apart. I no longer see these things as abandonment. Surges of jealousy still frequent my feelings, but it simply alerts me of something I want. I take it as motivation, instead of pain.

I refuse to look at my disorder as a death sentence. It’s simply a part of me. Like my nose or my eyes or my hands or my skin, this disorder is something that people have found gross or terrible, but I’ve stopped living for other people's’ thoughts. Or stigma. The disorder is a part of who I am, but I can’t be boxed into a list of symptoms and requirements. I am a human first, uniquely touched by a personality disorder, but still worthy of having a healthy life.

Your journey may look and feel vastly different from mine, but the important thing is that you start. That if you take three steps forward and five steps back, you keep going anyway. To shut out the voices of those who demonize you and want to hold you back, suffocating you in their negativity. Keep going, and look back only to reflect on your progress.

One day, you’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror again. Scars will fade into a distant memory on your skin. Because in healing, you’ll find the parts of you that have grown fearless, beautiful, and resilient. And that’s the true goal of recovery.