Finding myself… overcoming borderline personality disorder

Abstract by Chantal C.

Written by: Chantal C.

I have been living with mental illness since I can remember. My earliest recollections are during late childhood years. My clinical depression manifested itself during my adolescence. But now I struggle to understand the depth of my own Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  Last year I tried to take my life and was diagnosed with traits of BPD. Even though I suspected this for many years, the diagnosis is my wake-up call. I now ask myself…Who am I really and why did I live a life of abuse and self-inflicted pain? [Tweet this quote!]

Borderline Personality Disorder is devastating. Many mental illnesses can be treated with medication and psychotherapy. BPD is one of the most difficult disorders of the mind to overcome. I have lived a life, often lacking the ability to discern and cope: feeling helplessness and continuous despair.

I can’t say that I did not enjoy inspiration, wonder and love. As an artist, the BPD helped me to be creative.  Because I have and still do experience emotions so profoundly, it enables me, in an odd way, to express myself by painting, photographing and writing. Sometimes, the more I hurt inside, the more I feel and the more I create.

The baby in a dysfunctional family

bleeding heart by Chantal C.My “day one” starts with my earliest childhood memories as a sensitive little girl in a dysfunctional family. I was often ridiculed, rejected and experienced emotional rage and isolation because of a continued sense of abandonment from my elders. When I was eight, my brothers and sisters were in their teens and twenties. I was the baby in a family with seven brothers, two elder sisters, a verbally abusive and distant father but a gentle loving caring mother.

At fourteen, I became the rebellious teen no one cared to discipline. Even though the discipline should have started during my childhood years I was now “testing the limits”. I wanted to be loved, and so, I searched for it elsewhere. My life became self-indulgent: sexual promiscuity, drugs, impulsive behaviour and depression.

Low self-esteem, risky behaviour and failed relationships

My deep spiralling despair did not end during my teen years. It unfortunately continued to manifests itself in my twenties and thirties. During this time in my life, I struggled with the separation of my marriage and the affects it had on my first born child. As I still sought unhealthy relationships, I became pregnant with my second child. Her father was not present often during her life. I was a single mom, working, raising my daughters and yet still conflicted with emotional regulation, mood instability and continued depression. Even though these years were very difficult, they were also some of my best years. I was able to work in photography, other employments and take on the challenges of motherhood. I was truly blessed with two beautiful daughters. I strongly believe, up to this day, that our love kept us going all these years.

I do believe my trauma from childhood was the cause of continued low self-esteem, risky behaviour and failed relationships. I developed over time ways to cope with the pain of abuse. I blocked one failure after another and repressed as much as I could. As the unbearable shame and brokenness became such a pattern in my life, I eventually realized, this is the way I am and will never change…however…

Photo by Chantal C.

Photo by Chantal C.

Fighting the BPD monster

Four years ago I was hospitalized because of a depressive breakdown and review of medication. This past year however was the turning point for me. I lived many life changing experiences all at once. With another phase of inability to cope with life…I tried to commit suicide twice, carved on the side of my wrists and was hospitalized three times.

Change did not happen quickly but gradually. I had no support system in place. I was in shock of what I had done, disgraced with who I realized I had become and what I had repressed all these years. As I fought off, my “bpd monster”, I painted abstractly my feelings: anger, sorrow, love and hate. I was living with mental agony, deep sadness and the fear of panic resurfacing. I still felt alone and misunderstood.

When I experienced my spiralling suicidal attempts they were not just a cry for help. I had a deep longing to die, to end all my inner pain: a deep emptiness. I had no reason to keep going. However, I was blessed with the unsuccessful attempts and a second chance at life.

Photo by Chantal C.Finally…the right therapy and a support network

In the past four years, I have seen five counsellors and started a variety of therapies for mood, anxiety, self-esteem, anger management and dialectic behaviour. Having a problem in making commitments, I was successful at completing only one of them.

There is no medication for BPD. This mental disorder comes from a negative belief system that lives in my core, its outcome: lacking the ability to control thoughts, feelings and behaviours. I am presently working on CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) specifically for Borderline Personality Disorder. One thing I have realized is the importance to seriously commit to my new therapy. I am thankful that I now have the support of a clinician and am still seeing my doctor regularly. It is finally the time to seriously work on breaking the bad cycles from the past, trying to forgive myself, and reminding myself everyday, to not give up.

The CBT has helped me. I have since experienced some emotional acceptance, less anxiety and a glimpse of a better sense of self-worth. I have been living, to a certain degree, some freedom.

I am also a member of a local Consumer Survivor Initiative. This support network is welcoming, caring and helps me in my mental wellness. I have made new healthy friendships and am supportive to my peers.  I no longer have this need to be in a relationship in order to fill the void that was once in me.

Abstract by Chantal C.

A deep knowing…I can overcome BPD

I can overcome my Borderline Personality Disorder some day.

During my life I was often on and off my Christian path. I am not my old self anymore because I desire a new beginning…hoping and trusting. I am thankful that I had the guidance of a wonderful pastor.

I know I still have a long way to go but I realize that part of the healing process is to give back to those who suffer with similar pain and to share my hope in order to encourage others to find theirs.

I still live with many challenges of BPD and still have to confront often the despair. Even though I have just touched the surface of therapy, I do have a new outlook on life and the long journey ahead of me. Changing the way I have lived my life is not going to be easy, but it’s time, time to find my true self.

 

The Inner Child of a Borderline

I am seven years old
I stare out my bedroom window
On the eighth floor of this dreadful apartment
The city lights illuminate
I dream and long for a better life
Not one of isolation and aloneness
But one where I can exist
Where I am loved and accepted

I fear the pain of rejection
I cry often and run to my room
This is where I am safe
Here I can feel
Not out there in the throws of an adult world
I can’t show emotions
My father doesn’t say, “I love you”
And others, they ridicule me
Seven years of isolation
Looking out a bedroom window
What is beyond?

A rebellious teen
Promiscuity and drugs
Desperately aching for love
The cycle began
Spiralling in self-hatred
Can’t take this life no longer
I want to go but I can’t
My soul mate just might be around the corner

Life goes on
Twenties, thirties
Constantly searching
My emotions are out of control
I keep making the same mistakes
I can’t change
Where is this love?
Does it really exist?
If it doesn’t, how can I?

Then…I give up
This life within will never change
I am so lost and empty
I want to go
I try
But I fail

I was left with one thing
Searching
There has to be something more
As I cried out, I found a second chance
To believe in myself and to not give up
That I can commit to recovery
That finally, I understand my hope

I am not in my room anymore
I am stronger
I say to my inner child, “I love you”
“I love you too”, she replies
We look at each other and smile
And hold each other tightly

And everyday now, I say to her, “Forgive me”

 

Artwork, Photo and Poem Credit: Chantal C.

 

Chantal C. can be found expressing her artistic talents and insights at http://mentalillnessandchristianfaith.blogspot.ca/.


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Comments

  • Earla Dunbar

    You give others hope – so glad you have found your way.

    • Chantal

      I do wish for others to find hope on their recovery journey. I am happy and grateful that I have found my way. Even though I still face many challenges and setbacks, knowing deep down what direction to take that will sustain me is what helps me to keep going. This is not only from a clinical perspective but also a spiritual one. Thanks Earla for sharing your kindness and support.

  • Cathleen Spacil

    Chantal, your story is amazing! We have a lot in common! I was a superhero a few months back… I LOVE your artwork and your photography! Hugs to you!

  • Rachel Miller

    Chantal, the last verse of your poem really resonates with me. I am currently at a place where I am trying to forgive myself and love myself. I’ve been doing some inner child work and I think it can be really powerful.

    We’re never prepared for a life of unstable emotions, rages, suicidal feelings and dysfunctional relationships. We just have to muddle through. But it is so good to know there are others out there, like you, to share our experiences. Makes the journey a bit less lonely.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Chantal

    Hi Cathleen, thank you for your supportive comment. I am happy to hear you have enjoyed reading my story. Being a Superhero on MHT is pretty amazing! I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity and the guts…lol…to finally start sharing some of my past and present situations concerning mental illness. I do look forward in writing more on my blog about how I am presently overcoming BPD symptoms through my faith, artwork and of course therapy :)
    All of this is quite new to me. I am excited and nervous! However, now that I have started…I am not going to give up. Thank you for enjoying the art and photography.
    I have looked at your website “Brain Be Happy”. So positive! Amazing what you are doing for others! I will definitely be in touch :)

  • Chantal

    Rachel, I am touched that the last verse of my poem resonates with you. It has been very difficult for me to forgive myself through all these years and to this very day. I am comforted that I have found my way of loving my inner child so much. She is the part of me, within, that I love unconditionally, like my daughters. There are times during a day, moments where I can not even grasp the meaning of forgiving myself, even though I know very well how to forgive others, and do know I am forgiven through my Faith. The extremes in thoughts and emotions that I experience with BPD hit so hard sometimes, nothing seems clear to me, just the inner turmoil. But then I remember, I meditate and smile at her, hold her dearly (and by this time, I have a huge smile on my face), and ask her to please forgive me. She always smiles and looks at me and says yes and keeps holding me. It is interesting how a person visions their own connection with part of their inner-self. She helps me…it is a slow process in loving myself, but it is happening.
    I connect so very well with most of what you commented above…unstable thoughts, emotions, behaviour, anger, suicidal idealizations and dysfunctional relationships. I do seem to get myself through it, but only do so with support from those dear to me in my life. We can’t do it by ourselves. I am so happy and feel “not so alone” right now, because yes you are right…sharing our experiences does make the journey a bit less lonely. Thank you so much for sharing yours: I have subscribed by email to your blog and am sure to be inspired. Thank you for your kindness.

  • Walter H.

    Great work Chantal. Stay hopeful and don’t give up. Take care.

    • Christian

      I’m glad I found your blog. My X suffers svereely from BPD, bipolar disorder and her global assesment of functioning is a 30, which I believe was inflated so they could boot her out of the hospital. She refuses to get help, believing that the whole rest of the world is crazy. I think that you may provide me with some insight from the borderline’s perspective. Thanks so much for sharing and I wish you the best of luck!

      • Chantal

        Hi Christian,
        Sorry I have not responded to your comment sooner. I am happy to know that my post/blog has provided you with some insight. BPD is a very messy emotional disorder and many suffer its consequences. Not only does the individual struggle, but also their families and friends. I am fortunate to be on medication, to have therapy and to be in recovery. Continue to educate yourself about BPD as it will help you to gain more understanding as to why things happen the way they do, but will also help you to be of support and comfort to her. Blessings to you and your X. Take care.

  • Chantal

    Hey Walter, Thank you for reading the post and encouragement…means a lot!

  • Chantal

    Hi Trish, Thank you for the opportunity you have given me to voice my experience. You have been supportive and kind and am grateful. You and Mental Health Talk are amazing!

    • Trish

      I am touched you would leave a comment with such kind words Chantal. It was truly an honour to work with you and to participate in a small way in your healing journey. I will be in touch this week to do the follow up I do with some of my guests–I thought you would appreciate the closure. Much love to you, Trish

  • Nicola

    Chantal,
    Hello. I just want to let you know your story is similiar to mine. I am in a constant state of hoplessness and helplessness. However, after stumbling across your story it gives me some hope. So thank you for putting your story out there. Nikki

    • Chantal

      Hi Nikki,
      Thank you for sharing. It touches me deeply that my story has given you some hope. It’s good to get feedback from others who live in similar ways and so important that we encourage one another. In our “hopelessness and helplessness” that so many of us go through, we can try to remember that during the turmoil of it all, we are not alone. There is support out there. On your journey, you will find your hope. It will be new and special to you. Keep searching and never give up.
      Your comment is of great timing. I needed to be reminded of a few things…that my strength within me may lay low for a while, but no matter what life throws at me and how confusing it can be, I must continue to overcome my sorrows and pursue my journey of healing. You have given me some hope too. What a great chain reaction hope can be! Again, thank you and all the best.

  • Ellen

    chantal – how old are you? and how long have you been conscious of the fact that you have a disorder and how long have you been getting help?

    • Chantal

      Hi Ellen,
      I am forty four. I was officially diagnosed with traits of Borderline Personality Disorder and possible Bipolar 2, in the Fall of 2011 (in a psychiatric facility). However, six months ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 as well, by another psychiatrist in a health clinic I attend. In this clinic I also see a therapist every 2 weeks and have been for a year now. I have not missed an appointment which I view as a success for me because in my past I could never commit to any therapy or counseling. With this therapist I work on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy specifically for BPD. I have not worked for five years now. At the beginning of those years, I use to see my medical doctor every few weeks but now, since I have other professional support (therapist and psychiatrist) I see him every second month or so. Five years ago I had a major depressive breakdown and have been in recovery since.
      I have been conscious that I have mental illness since my early twenties. I have been on medication since. Back then, my illness was not specifically diagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder or Bipolar Disorder but more so as Clinical Depression. I was put on a happy pill and life was not so bad for awhile, till the symptoms of BPD continuously progressed.
      During this past year and a half, while doing my therapy I have gained much understanding into the illness of BPD and suffer 5 out of the 9 symptoms. However, according to the psychiatrist, it would make sense that I have Bipolar 1 and because this is such a broad illness, the BPD falls into it. Medically I am being treated for Bipolar 1, therapeutically I am being treated for BPD, which I am positive I do suffer from. Sadly.
      Hope this information helps. Take care

  • Hannah West

    I am thankful for blogs like this! I have been dealing with depression on and off since I was 16. I started looking into BPD when I heard about it because the symptoms of being alone and abandonment are VERY strong with me. As long as I stay busy with school and friends I can handle my feelings pretty well, but as soon as I get a day off and I am alone at my apartment I start to freak out. I try not to talk about my problems because I feel like no one understands and that maybe if I ignore them enough they will go away. I am really scared sometimes its almost like I am living with a demon; I do not know what to do with my endless aching and pain.

    • Chantal

      Hi Hannah,
      Mental Health Talk is an awesome website that gave me the opportunity to write this post. I am glad that you are appreciative. I am too.
      My depression, as you read in the post, started during my teen years as well, therefore I can empathize with your pain. I also understand the symptom of fear or sense of abandonment from BPD. It’s very difficult to live through, that deep emptiness and does seem to often be worse when we are alone.
      In my opinion though, it’s important to open up and talk about these symptoms you are having. Hopefully you can find a good support network and share this pain you are going through. For me, this helped. Maybe people won’t fully understand exactly what you are experiencing concerning your specific inner struggles of BPD, but at least they can try to listen. The important thing is to share with someone you can trust and is willing to simply be there for you…so you won’t feel alone and can find a bit of comfort for your pain. There are good peer supporters and therapies out there. If you are searching for help, don’t give up. Keep searching till you find the right person, friend, counselor, support network in your area. I do understand your endless aching pain as I still experience it myself to this day. My heart goes out to you. Please find help and don’t give up. If you want to read more of my posts, check out my blog: “My Mental Illness and Christian Faith”…it’s harmless and who knows, it might be of some kind of support for you. Take care.

  • Tobi

    My children recently diagnosed me with BPD (about 2 years ago) and I spent the past 2 years arguing with them about it. I finally am resigned to agree with them, and am now looking for literature to help me fix it. I do not have health insurance, so seeing a counselor is not an option, but neither is suicide. I appreciate your website, as it helps me to see that you can be a normal person and still have BPD. Now that I at least know what the problem is, I am on a quest to find self-help answers to it.

  • Chantal

    Hi Tobi,
    I thank you for appreciating my post “Finding myself… overcoming borderline personality disorder” on Mental Health Talk’s website.
    Accepting that you have BPD is the first step. This is good and very important. It is also part of the long process to insight, understanding and healing. I personally believe recovery is possible with time. Commitment is very important too.
    I am glad to hear you are on a quest to find help. I have done some research on the internet but I must say, not all links give you proper information, and some can bring on triggers. I immediately stop reading or viewing research if I feel any triggers coming on. Sights from hospitals and organizations for mental health are usually good ones. Some suggestions…Have you tried the NIMH website? Also, a book that I have read that has personally helped me is “get me out of here” by Rachel Reiland, and “The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook for Personality Disorders”, by Jeffrey C. Wood is the therapy I am doing with my clinician.
    Please know that I am not a professional of any kind and that these references are a few that have personally helped me along my journey in recovery.
    Along your quest for knowledge, I hope that you find the support that you need and are looking for.
    I wish all the best to you Tobi. Sounds like you are on a new journey to healing. Good for you. Don’t give up. Many blessings.

  • Jake

    Go, fight for it. God will never give us problems that we can’t bear. You are talented, a true son of art. Miracles will come to people, who despite their problems, are still there, reaching people and continue touching others’ lives. I am happy that you are strong battling this disease. Don’t give up. Life is beautiful.

  • Chantal

    Hi Jake,
    You are right, we must fight the good fight and God does not give us trials we can not handle. Although the struggles are often unbearable, we somehow pull through them with the Lord’s blessings. I am so grateful to Him that He has given me the ability to share my recovery journey with others. Thank you for the encouragement, and yes, life is beautiful.

  • 1990

    I really see no point in living if I have this mental illness. It has affected every area of my life, I can’t hold a job and I cant stay in college I can barly maintain a relationship with someone. I have no money to get treatment for bpd and the free help that’s there is scarce. I m on a waiting list waiting 1-2 years just to get free help that is out there. I’m a christian too I had to give up my relationship with God because I was becoming psychotic full of fear of condemnations. My mom, the only person who fully knows about my bpd doesn’t even believe I have it. I honestly feel like God doesn’t care, why would he allow me to go through this much pain with no relief in sight? I can’t even have a decent relationship with him let alone anyone because of this. I have no hope. this is all nice and all but you have many counselors and support and yet you still struggle with bpd. If this is the only thing I have to look forward to then I see no point in living.

    • Melissa

      1990 Hello, I have BPD too and can relate to what you saying. Hope you are ok, I know it is hard but when I want to die, sombody tells me that that is the easy way out. We have to be strong for our selves and family,kids to get well.

    • Chantal

      Hi 1990,
      I thought I would write another comment for you. Like Melissa, who also commented, I do hope your ok. It would be nice to hear from you but I understand that is up to you. Remember…don’t give up and God loves you. Write to me if you wish mentally.faithful@gmail.com

  • Chantal

    I am glad to hear from you 1990 and that you are reaching out for guidance and comfort. I know life seems devastating right now and it feels like there is no hope in sight. But there is. Sounds like you are living with many symptoms of BPD. I really would like to help more. Please email me at mentally.faithful@gmail.com. Or visit my blog My Mental Illness & Christian Faith there is some good posts on there about BPD and how our faith does sustain us through our darkest moments and times in our lives. I am a Christian too and I know how challenging it is to have a relationship with our loving God. He does not want you to condemn yourself and even though you may not sense Him He is there right beside you. You have to trust this.
    Living with this mental illness is destructive but we have to believe that there are better days. I have lost many jobs and have had broken relationships too. I tell you one thing, the only one that has saved me through out all these years is our Lord. Yes I am in therapy and am taking medication but I still have off days too and you know what gets me through them is my faith. You have to stray strong, however much, in your faith.
    Not wanting to live is a symptom of mental illness but it can be healed. I am going to be blunt here and tell you that you must find the will to live. There is no other option but to keep moving forward in life. I know this is hard to hear when we are unwell but it is the truth. I want you to not give up.
    Again I want to say, I am glad that you are reaching out for help. Talking about it with someone who has been there is a good thing. I do understand the pain you are going through, I have wanted many times to stop living; however I keep going even though it is extremely painful. How? One day at a time, even one moment at a time. Please do not give up and email me. I am here for you. Perhaps we can help each other. God puts good people on our paths for a reason. Don’t give up.

  • Stephanie-anneb

    Hey came across this post by accident iv also got bpd and i suspect major depression as well its nice to knw there are others like me who feel like i feel but when im deep in my depression i dnt feel like anyone knws or understands i am on waiting list for cbt but a long wait so going to other things ie stress management and not sure what else finally after years of just putting up with it( im 30 now) i decided enough was enough i have 6 children lost 4 (in care now) but have my son 7 and my daughter 2 that lives with me i fought for my son in spite of social services trying to put him in care when he was 3 days old went through assessments for 2 years til he was finally all mine. i need to get myself ok for my son he has adhd odd and some learning difficulties and at times in the day i feel hopeless and despair and it dnt help with my son as he has to be looked after 24 7 then add my 2 year old daughter going through the terrible twos it gets so overwhelming iv managed over the years to control alot of the traits of bpd i dnt gamble much anymore have to limit myself if i do go to bingo on the machines just not to be tempted, iv been clean of all drugs for nearly 9 years only thing i do is smoke a few joints of weed at night when kids are asleep its my way of coping, stopped the relationships was damaging my son and i think cos i have to look after him 24/7 he wears me out so much i dnt even have a libdo am with a great guy been together 4 months but knwn each other 8 years but find i cant handle it even tho i want to be with him i find it hard around my kids im not a very cuddling person (cos of my past ) sorry there is so much just thought id say a little piece i really need the support that i cant get from anyone cos noone seems to understand so thought id try people who has what i have who faces the similar thoughts struggles fears etc sometime i think im going mad and not normal all i want is to be happy and enjoy my life as i have everything i cld want 2 kids who have thier faults but r perfect to me a really good and helpful boyfriend who is very understanding and never pushes me always patient and calm with me and i can be testing at times a really good supporting family, my daughters dad ( we split when she was 10 weeks old) is really good and have her twice a week, i dnt have many friends i struggle with relationships of any kind but do have one best friend of 3 years and she is awesome no money worries in a small flat with a hyper kid and i worry about everything it drives me mad i just want to feel happy and not the way i do so sorry its long

  • Chantal

    Hi Stephanie,
    I am glad you came across this post and yes, it is always comforting to know we are not alone and that others share and understand our pain of BPD and depression.
    It is good that you are seeking help, such as the CBT and stress management. I have been in CBT for a year and a half now. It is a type of therapy that takes a lot of commitment but is very much worth it.
    From what you write, it sounds like you are at a point in your life where you realize how important it is to seek help. This is a good thing. You are dealing with a lot with your family and seeking help for yourself will benefit them as well.
    It can be overwhelming to be a mother and with BPD this is an added challenge. It is good that you have managed over the years to control your symptoms.
    It is hard to not succumb to certain things in our lives that are not necessarily healthy for us, such as gambling, drugs and certain relationships. It is however, great when we can overcome them and change our lifestyle such as you have. Congrats that you have been clean for nine years now.
    BPD is difficult to live with and yes it does make us feel so unhappy and brings much brokenness in our lives. I do understand your pain. The symptoms of BPD, the illness itself is devastating but we have to believe in better days amidst the bad ones. It is hard to find stability in our lives but I personally believe with therapy, medication and spirituality one can eventually become more stable and find joy.
    You have great things going for you such as upcoming therapy, wonderful children, a good boyfriend, family and a best friend. This is wonderful! You seam like a very strong woman and I commend you for that. Your strength gives other people hope.
    Thank you so much for commenting and for sharing a part of your life. Be strong during the difficult times, have hope and never give up. Remember that happiness is in the moments. Many blessings to you.

  • Melissa

    Hi, I have BPD…Am wanting to better my life . Great to hear that others who have BPD have faith,hope and love. I need that too. I am 39 and diagnosed with this mental illness last year. I am just learning to understand it all. My life has been a up/down up/down, all the traits of BPD. Now that I am getting the right help..I am trying to change or cope better. I also paint. Love your art work.

  • Chantal

    Hi Melissa,
    It is wonderful that you are at a point in your life where you want to better yourself. Recovery is such an important part of moving forward and this does take faith, hope and love. It is always nice to know we are not alone in what we go through and need. Overcoming our traits of BPD is not easy but possible. It is good that you are starting to understand this. Once I had gained more insight into the illness it helped me to finally start healing. I am glad you are receiving help and are trying to cope, it is the fist step. Being creative is a great way to express ourselves and that also helps in our recovery process. It is wonderful that you paint too. Thank you for the complement on my art work and thank you for commenting and sharing. Many Blessings.

  • Melissa

    Hi Chantal,
    Thank you so much for your words.Helps to keep me in hope and faith..”Overcoming our traits of BPD is not easy but possible” I love that.. I also been reading the BPD for dummies book and other self help books..still yet to read many more and understand and learn new healthy skills. Unfortunately today my relationship with a man I love is ending because of BPD. I cut myself last week 2x and again yesterday, I hadnt done that for months and was happy that I hadnt until last week. A trait I have done since a young child, but back then never knew it was BPD. Today I am not crying over this as that does not help, Im doing things to help distract my mind from entering the black hole. Im trying to find a new home for me and my daughter to start over. Thank you.
    Keep up the good work Chantal.

  • Chantal

    Hi Melissa,
    So glad to hear from you again and am happy to know that my words comforted you. It’s great that you have been educating yourself by reading about BPD. I must say it saddens me to hear that you have been cutting yourself lately. I do hope you will find the will to not cut and endure the difficult times. I know it is hard to achieve this but we must try. When I am having thoughts of harming myself I try to ride out the emotional pain and after a while the anxiety and ideations go away. Remember hope and faith in times of distress. It is good that you are keeping your mind distracted and hopefully this will help you not to act upon your symptoms. I am sorry to hear your relationship is ending and I wish you all the best for you and your daughter. I thank you for your encouragement also. Many blessings and stay strong.

  • Austin

    I almost felt like I was reading my own BPD success story when I read this, because it sounded so much like me. But unfortunately, I have yet to overcome this terrible disorder that people like me are cursed with. This has given me some hope, and I hope to at least reach the step that you got to. Thank you and good luck

  • Chantal

    Hi Austin, thank you for writing. I can imagine that quite a few people with BPD can relate to my story in one form or another. For some they may be more advance in their healing process than others. That is something I do believe can happen for everyone…recovery. I am glad you have found some hope in reading my post and I sincerely believe with commitment you can reach the steps you need along your personal recovery journey. Don’t give up. Take care and many blessings.

  • just fuck me

    Im a 23 year old mothafucka…. dont know where the fuck am i going in life….. after reviewing the signs and symptoms of BPD, i think it is safe to say i display BPD tendencies, as much as i hate to admit it.

    Many times, i find myself not knowing what to do with myself. There are times as well, that i am overcome with feelings that i myself cannot explain nor can I reason…. Its like I become so caught up with a wave of emotions that i can hardly rationalize. Sometimes i think that i am slave to my emotions so much so that i lose a sense of control.

    I dont want this to continue as i dont want this fucked up void to persist in the future. you seem really experienced in this, what would you say to a hopeless, lost, young and naive fucknut like myself?

    • Chantal

      I have to tell you that I am no expert and am not a professional of any kind but I can share with you some of my experiences (such as I did in the post) and perhaps give you some insight and support.

      BPD is an emotional disorder that causes our emotions to be unbalanced. We get angry and enraged, we have thoughts that change rapidly, one moment we are fine, the next we have had a trigger and we are filled with a sense of overwhelming emotions. Our cognition does not work like it should which makes us think more irrational and unreasonable at times. We get sad, lonely and bored. We get depressed from a few hours to a few days. We feel a deep sense of unworthiness and emptiness (void within our very being). We fear abandonment and rejection. We have problems with relationships and substance abuse. We are impulsive. We have moods that constantly shift. We harm ourselves. We sometimes experience dissociation and paranoia ect. So…yes we do lose control.

      Five years ago after one of my major depressive breakdowns I started to research about various mental illnesses and I came across BPD. As I studied it, I could not believe that I had many of the symptoms of the disorder. Although I was not diagnosed at that time, deep down I knew (just like you).

      I have since been diagnosed with BPD (2 years now). It was sort of a relief for me to know what I had as it allowed me to move forward and try to get the proper help that I needed. Still, one does not need to be diagnosed to find treatment. Finding someone to talk to is the first step. I am sure you know that talking to a counselor can help. Sometimes we find it helpful to talk to a friend, peer, teacher, therapist (if you can get one) and even a pastor. I know it is hard to find someone to trust but we have to start somewhere. It took me five years to find the proper counselor and therapy (not that I want to discourage you). My point is that we have to keep on searching for the right people to help us and if it does not work with someone (give it some time though), then we have to keep looking and not give up searching for the help we deserve. Once we do find help, it is important we seriously commit.

      Like I wrote in the post I work on CBT as therapy. The workbook is titled “The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook for Personality Disorders” by Jeffrey C. Wood if that interests you.

      You know I am going to tell you to not give up and that there is hope but I sense you are searching for more. For me it is my faith in God, therapy and medication that pull me through. I am far from being cured but still believe that I will recover some day from this mess of an illness BPD.

      I don’t have all the answers but I do know that if being in recovery from BPD is possible for me then it is for others. We each have to find what will give us hope.

      There are also good support networks out there…places you can go to and be with other individuals with mental and emotional disorders (Consumer Survivor Initiatives). Sometimes just being around peers helps us along our recovery journey.

      You need desire, to want to heal, you need to commit to whatever therapy you can find and you need to work hard. Somewhere along the way you will start believing in yourself a little at a time. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up searching for the right help. You are young and can be strong. You have your whole life ahead of you and this is the time to start your own personal journey to recovery. I am forty four and I wish I could go back, but I can’t. We keep moving forward.

      No matter what your emotions say to you, always remember that YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON AND ARE WORTHY OF GOOD THINGS.

      Glad you commented. Hope this helps. Take care and God Bless.

  • CC

    Chantal, we share the same initials and you wrote this on my birthday. My life story is just about identical to yours. I had 12 siblings, who often used me as entertainment and would stare and tease me till I cried and then they would laugh. Not that it was their fault, our parents were non existent in our lives. I was never once told I was loved as a little girl. Was never tucked into bed. Never got a “atta girl” for bringing home straight A’s. And yes, just as you say in your article, the emotional pain I feel has only gotten worse over the years. I have read every pscychology book related to my childhood trauma, and I have tried many kinds of therapy as well, including EMDR. My therapist is amazed at the depth of understanding I have as it relates to my own abuse and how it has and continues to negatively impact my life. However, even with the insight I have, it seems I am just more and more isolated and feeling no desire for much human interaction. I have one grown daughter and 2 darling grandons I see about once a week. I too love to do crafts of all kinds. Lately I’ve been crocheting. I abuse drugs and have most of my adult life because it’s the only thing I have. I feel very misunderstood and have often wondered why when people have a physical illness everyone gives them sympathy, and wants to take care of them, but when someone has a severe emotional or mental illness, which is causes them profound suffering, everyone shuns them or calls them nuts, losers, drug addicts….which just makes the BPD worse and the pain deeper and hurt even more. The reason I found your article today was because I was doing a Google search trying to find out why when I have a deep understanding into my traumas, how they affected my life and actually an above average understanding of early childhood and brain development, why is it I still can’t heal and really to be honest, I’m getting worse. About a year ago I moved into an apartment ALONE. I had never lived alone before in my life (I’m 53), but I could no longer cope with people, whether it was my ex psychopathic husband or my multiple family members, who don’t know the meaning of love and have abused me my whole life. If I did not use drugs, I swear I would be locked in a padded room. I CANNOT COPE WITHOUT THE DRUGS. I have tried, and tried and tried, and it’s like I don’t even have the desire to interact with humans anymore (except for my daughter and grandson’s as I mentioned above). I try and stay connected to my faith in the holy spirit, I’ve been in and out of therapy for years. And quite frankly, when I read about the damage being ignored and abused as a child causes to one’s brain, I really question if I am able to heal. Living alone ….I love it! I can do whatever I want without considering anyone else, so I have chosen to use drugs and do art work. The depths of sorrow I would feel if I had to face the lonely wasteland my life has become…I just cannot accept how abandoned, lost and unloved I have always been. I have a “plan” to try and start a health regiment this spring and try and loose some weight. Maybe that will jump start some spark back into my soul…..but all I can do right now is one day at a time…..and sometimes I don’t even handle that very well. I recently read that BPD is the among the worst of mental illnesses, and most definitely the most painful, and very often they are the most rejected by society. Thanks society, I really appreciate that!

    • Chantal

      Hi CC,
      Please accept my apology for not replying sooner. I just replied to a recent comment and saw your comment that I had not read. I am so sorry about this. Every person and what they have to share means so much to me.
      It is interesting how the post was published on your birthday, that we have the same initials and have similar stories. We seem to have a lot in common when it comes to how our siblings treated us, the lack of love we had growing up in our family environment, the childhood trauma, the emotional suffering throughout our lives, artwork and our faith in God…
      Gaining insight into our illness, symptoms or trauma is so important to our recovery journey. It is great how you have educated yourself by reading and researching psychology, and how you advocate for yourself with your therapist.
      I do understand how, even though we may have some insight concerning our abuse and suffering, we can still be feeling ill and symptomatic, such as living in isolation. I wrote this post in July 2012 and have to say, I am still recovering from BPD. I often am still symptomatic and do isolate myself as well, depression and anxiety taking over.
      It is wonderful that you have a daughter and two grandsons that bring joy and love into your life. This is a blessing.
      I empathize with your inner emotional pain. Individuals with mental illness are often misunderstood because people do not try to understand and educate themselves on the illnesses, symptoms and how they could be supportive, instead of discouraging or triggering us. Stigma is still a huge problem. We suffer dearly because of the rejection, judging, lack of compassion, and, this can make the BPD worse. I experience the stigma as well. We all do, sadly.
      You say you are getting worse even though you have much knowledge on early childhood trauma and brain development. I think perhaps we “get worse” because life’s struggles are heavier and take over our knowledge—too much weighs us down. Symptoms of BPD are never experienced lightly. Sometimes the anger, the extremities in emotions, the fear of rejection, the worthlessness, the deep sense of emptiness, the ideations and attempts are simply too much and they override the intellect and the cognitive.
      Seems like you have done everything possible to stop using drugs, even therapy. Right know it is your means to cope with your emotional pain. I think it is wonderful that you have faith and believe in the Holy Spirit. This is powerful and a gift from God. Continue to pray for healing.
      I also have read that BPD is one of the most difficult mental illnesses to live with. That is why we cannot give up on therapy and recovery. We cannot lose hope. Continue to take it one day at a time. I still do.
      Thank you so much for writing and sharing. I wish you all the best and many blessings.

  • AN

    Hi! I’m AN, and I’m a teen. I’m struggling to a personality disorder I don’t know how to name. I’ve searched through the internet about how to cope up and then I found yours. I don’t know what to say. But I know you gave me courage. Hope. That I can still be well. It’s not helping me these college days. And my mom agreed for me to see a therapist. I hope it’ll be a new start for me. Thanks for this!

    • Chantal

      Hi AN,
      I am happy that you found my post and that it has given you courage and hope amidst your struggles with a personality disorder. It has been my goal to provide insight and hope to others who suffer.
      Therapy is so important and it is great that you will be seeing a therapist. This is a crucial step on your journey to recovery. Although therapy can be difficult at times, the important thing is to commit. You seem optimistic and this is wonderful! Continue to hold on to this hope. It will guide you to a new beginning. I wish you all the best in college. Glad you commented. Take care and many blessings.

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