What Rupi Kaur Taught Me About Borderline Personality Disorder

The signature of someone living with borderline personality disorder is the intensity of which we feel everything. Rupi Kaur put it beautifully in one of her most powerful poems...

From Milk and Honey:

Rupi Kaur BPD

Note: I am in no way saying that Rupi Kaur is a borderline or even wrote these poems through the lens of BPD, but her poetry has been relatable for me, as someone who lives with diagnosed borderline personality disorder.

We are isolated, but we are not alone

This is one of the most alienating parts of living with borderline personality disorder. There are enough of us to create online communities to support each other but there's not enough of us to cross paths face to face, on a daily basis. To be the only person, in a crowded room, feeling endlessly invalidated and too terrified to interact without alcohol, makes us borderlines feel alone.

That is why it's so important to have online spaces. To go to places where we can vent, cry, and uplift each other with our relatable experiences. 

But there also needs to be an understanding that not everyone can feel the way we can, and that's alright. That it's okay for us to love with every fiber of our being, knowing that it can never be returned, because others are simply incapable of feeling the intensity that we do. 

This isn't to glorify borderline personality disorder, but it's a fact of life. We feel deeply in a way that is unmatchable. However, instead of wishing we could be loved back the same way we love them, we have to understand that we should love in the way we yearn for.

That's both the gift and sacrifice of loving, while living with BPD.

From Milk and Honey:

Rupi Kaur BPD

As a borderline, we always have the choice of how we react and move forward, after people have been cruel or abusive towards us. We can always choose to hold our head high and be better people than what others have done to us.

With so many blog posts and loved ones speaking out on the hateful nature of some borderlines, it's an even firmer reminder that we are not them. We share a diagnosis with them, but we can choose to channel our pain into compassion.

We crave validation in the most impossible ways

I vulnerably start this paragraph by saying I used to (maybe I still do?) have a hopeless need for male validation. That I took jobs that required me to be looked at by males where I was continuously told I was beautiful or wanted. I sought validation and happiness with faceless men in their girlfriends' beds or in Snapchat messages.

But deep down, it wasn't validation that I so hopelessly wanted. It was for someone to fucking understand how badly I'm hurting and still want me, despite how terrible I always felt. 

Validation is a loop, a cycle. An addiction. It's a dose of attention that lasted for a few hours, or minutes, before I had to face myself again. It was endless.

And in a few words, Rupi Kaur taught me that I didn't need to be told I was beautiful... it was a band-aid for the real issue. I wanted it to be enough to say I was sad... and for someone to care about that sadness, even when I don't know where it was coming from.

From Milk and Honey:

Rupi Kaur BPD

The realization of my sadness also pointed me to the right direction. I didn't need to keep sleeping around to be considered desirable. I needed professional help to rebuild and reframed the way I looked at myself.

We can have healthy relationships with other people

First, we need to have that healthy relationship with ourselves. We have to dig deep and find what makes us light up and bring that same light into the lives of the people we choose to be around.

From Milk and Honey:

Rupi Kaur borderline personality disorder

To quote someone I used to know, "You get so excited over the smallest things... I love that." 

We're a bit like pit bulls... we get our eyes set on something and we pour love, passion, and joy all over it. People, events, work even. The smallest things light up our worlds and this is the type of positivity that can be spread by someone who has BPD.

We all share the trait of "feeling deeply." We can choose to use those intense emotions for the positive.

No one is coming to save us, and that's okay.

There was always a part of me that waited. Waited for that guy to sweep me off my feet and marry me and make me whole again. Waited for the perfect job that was sensitive to my mental health issues. Waiting for that favorite person who would say, "I will never leave you no matter what," and held up to that standard.

And they don't exist. They never will.

Because the world doesn't owe us anything, despite the pain and hardships that borderline personality disorder has shit all over us. No matter what happened to us in our pasts... trauma, abuse, addiction, hurt, it happened and there's no one coming to save us from it.

So we need to protect ourselves, moving forward.

We have to shield ourselves from future pain, while working through our past traumas. It's difficult. The path to healing is not linear. Some days, we really just want to give up.

We just can't, and we need to continue putting one foot in front of the other.

From Milk and Honey:

Rupi Kaur BPD

And lastly, we always have a choice

We can choose to push people away, test them, and hurt them to make them prove their worth and devotion. We can choose to love them unconditionally.

We can choose to endlessly hurt ourselves and repeatedly self-deprecate. We can choose to get help and reframe these negative compulsions.

We can choose to see borderline personality disorder as a curse and a burden. We can choose to make the most of it... to become a friend, a lover, a parent, a decent person.

Because this personality disorder might not go anywhere. But we always have a choice on what we do with it.

From Milk and Honey:

Rupi Kaur borderline personality disorder

-F