I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at age 27. I attempted suicide countless times, perhaps 20 or more, within the next three years. Statistically, I should never have lived past 30 years of age. I was addicted to drugs, I was homeless, I was caught in an abusive relationship, and I had no one to help me, to hold my hand, to tell me that things will get better, or even just to say that, yes, life is hard, and maybe that's what makes it worth living. Because there was nothing for which I was living. Certainly not for myself.
So I published a series of blog posts describing my experiences with BPD. They were therapeutic, in a sense, but I believe they offer a valuable insight into the minds-eye of one who is a highly functioning borderline personality patient. I passed my first year of law school with great grades, served on the student body, and was social, outgoing, charismatic ... on the outside. Inside, I wanted to cry, I wanted to die. And, all too often, I let that feeling take over and I"d reach for so many of the pills that the best and most well-intentioned doctors had prescribed for me, and overdosed, until I could feel no more. That's what I wanted: nirvana. A state of absolute relaxation, knowledge that this fucked up world no longer had a grip on me, that right now, at this moment, I had the power over life and death, I had that power, and no one could take it away from me. Ultimately, every time, I ended up calling for help when the calming effect turned too real, when I realized that I was about to die, and I decided I wasn't ready, not just yet.
So many others, I believe, have experienced what I have experienced, and have felt the isolation and solitude of not knowing that anyone else, anywhere, ever, has experienced this depth of despair and depression. I wrote to ease my mind, but I also wrote to show fellow sufferers that their minds aren't crazy, like people love to say, that their feelings aren't valid, like lovers and family patronizingly say, that their emotions aren't too strong, their will isn't too weak ... that they are perfect just the way they are. We all have changes we need to make, and the borderline patient is no exception. I don't offer a cure, I don't offer a salve, I don't offer redemption or salvation or nirvana or any other crap that therapists might say is possible one day. I'm not sure it is. But what I do know is that I'm not alone, and neither are you. And together, we can make it through this thing we call life, stronger than ever before, and so much stronger than those who have never known the suffering we have endured. I want my book to prove the power of the human mind and psyche over the realm of raw, unfiltered emotion and reaction. Learning to control what we see and hear, what we choose to believe ... that is the real power. Not the bottle of pills, not the power to choose death, although those are real and if that's what you have to hang on to, then keep that power close by your side, those are things that no one can take from you. But I believe the real power comes from having been where we've been, and I hope my book helps some avoid paths I took and avoid needless suffering, just by seeing that others have been there and they aren't alone. That's my message, that's my story.
Today is a new day. Every day is a new day. Will I wake up today? Will I take a shower today? Will I call a friend today? Will I overdose today? I don't know. How long do I have in this life? I don't know. But when I can find precious moments, a shared moment with a loved one, however brief, it is a reminder that there is more to life than blacked out curtains and sheets pulled over my head, that maybe I can learn to enjoy some parts of life, not endure, not "deal with," but actually come to terms with and see that there is pleasure. That pleasure exists. Not every day is a good day. But a few good moments may be what separates my mind from reality and insanity, and I strive to find those moments to keep my grip in this life.
I hope, if you are diagnosed with BPD, or you have a loved one or a friend diagnosed with this devastating illness, that you read my book, and find some compassion and understanding. You won't relate to everything, you'll be highly offended by some things, but you'll get a picture of what its like on this side of the worldview, and maybe just knowing, just realizing, is enough. Enough to carry on another day. Enough to tell that loved one that they are, in fact, loved, not because they need the love, not because they are loved despite the illness, but because they are, first and foremost, persons, persons deserving of love and respect and compassion and honor. When we can find it within ourselves to give ourselves that compassion, and when others can give us that compassion, those are the small moments that I mean, that make life worth it. Not everyone will understand, not everyone is meant to understand. Find the few that will accept you. Find the few that will love you. An entire stadium of friends could never replace the feeling of love emanating from one person you hold dear. So hold on to that feeling. They may not know what to say or do, but do know that they love you, and that love is genuine.
I will keep a blog updated somewhat regularly as I run from crisis to crisis, sometimes I feel it never ends. But sitting here now, telling you this .... I feel like some part of it was worth it, to pass along the message that we are all one, different manifestations of the same personality all coalescing together. Its not a perfect fit, things shift and slide and move, but once there was a person, and one day there will be a whole person again.