When I was first told that I am Borderline, I envisioned myself as a beautiful tightrope walker traversing a thin wire across the Philadelphia skyline. I envisioned myself hopping over the broken yellow line on a highway to nowhere under a starry night sky. I imagined wonderfully artistic things, as if my diagnosis were a clever plot twist in the indie film of my life. The reality however was much more bleak. The diagnosis did not transform me, but rather gave me a name for what I had been struggling with since before I can remember: violent mood swings, uncontrollable sadness, anger, happiness and giddiness, and the little voice in my head telling me that I’d rather feel nothing at all than everything at once.
The crutch I had been relying on while I was at university was the belief that everyone went through the sine curve of emotions I experienced every day. I clutched onto my supposed normalcy, using it to give me the strength to make it through my recurring turbulent days. The arrival of my diagnosis on the stretched and parched lips of my university therapist shattered all of that. I was suddenly catapulted back into my childhood life, replete with rules and circling parents and an utter lack of freedom. I would lay awake at night plotting my escape, whether it be to Tulsa, Oklahoma, or the Great Beyond; I just wanted to get out!
But while I was tabulating how far I could get on the measly fifty dollars in my bank account and scratching the number of days I had spent in isolation (commonly referred to as “my room,”) into a ratty journal, something changed. The words of my new therapist, the mantras of my DBT specialist, the love and support of my family seeped into the walls I had so carefully constructed. I hadn’t even become aware of the leak when I found myself awash in positivity and hope: emotions that I hadn’t felt in years.
The walls fell back and I surfed on these feelings into a new era of my life. Borderline Personality Disorder does not have to define me. Borderline Personality Disorder does not have to be the epithet on my early grave. Borderline Personality Disorder does not have to be a gray cloud following me from place to place. All that I have learned since I left university has made me into a better, stronger, woman, with a greater passion for life, the downs as well as the ups.