**Trigger warning: suicide attempt**
I was 18 and sitting in the bathtub; now cold. I had just received a text from my then partner reading “I am walking on eggshells with you. You are so passionate I’m not sure what it is or what to call it, but I don’t think I can give you what you need and I don’t think I can be with you”. My emotionless eyes spilled over with hot tears and with my looming fear of abandonment and blurred vision, I looked over my shoulder to find my mother’s bottle of nail polish remover on the bottom shelf of her vanity. I climbed out of the tub and laid on my mothers bathroom floor; the agonizing smell of acetone filled the room.
As I stared at the bottom of this bottle of nail polish remover, I tried my hardest to put it all together. I wasn’t sure what “it” was about me either or what to call what I was going through. Why I felt things so deeply, why suicide was always my “plan B”, the emptiness I felt within myself, or why I am unable to get out of bed even when the issue is only gravel in my knees.
I had been misdiagnosed with many mental health disorders months previous to this incident. Bipolar is one I often heard, Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety and so on, but none of them ever resonated with me and I was never “sold” on any of the mental health disorders that I was being diagnosed with.
After my second (and last) suicide attempt, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and that’s when it all made sense. My exhausting mood swings, impulsivity, agonizing fear of abandonment, and past history of dysfunctional relationships now all made sense and Borderline is “it”.
In an attempt to educate myself on my disorder, I went to the internet, my first mistake. I was overwhelmed by the Borderline horror stories, hopeless statistics, and just straight false information. Borderline Personality Disorder is thought to be the most misunderstood, most stigmatized mental health disorder, and the internet plays an astronomical part of this problem.
People with BPD are often portrayed as evil, calculated, hopeless, manipulative individuals. The media makes it seem as if people with Borderline won’t ever change or heal, they’ll cheat, lie, abuse, they’re broken, and the list goes on.
This is the reason I am writing this and sharing my story. I want to be part of that small percentage of the internet that shares the strengths and success stories of those with Borderline, because there’s plenty of them. Not everyone with Borderline will cheat, Borderlines are not “crazy” nor are they broken by any means. Not to mention, there is treatment and there is hope in this diagnosis. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive therapy that encourages a healthy lifestyle through healing and pushing for positive behavioral changes. DBT is something that has drastically changed my life and I would encourage anyone struggling to look into it and give it a shot.
I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder for two years now, attending Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for one and I, along with all my loved ones, have seen incredible improvement in my mood regulation and overall health. I no longer crumble over spilt milk, I haven’t had another suicide attempt since my diagnosis and vowed to myself that it will stay that way.
And as hard as it is to live with BPD, because it is, there is still a silver lining within it all. Not only do I feel pain intensely, but I feel love just as intensely. I am uncommonly passionate about those that I love, I am exceptionally creative, I am a functioning, loving, loved, beautiful, resilient, independent, self-sufficient and successful Borderline, and as cliché as it may be to say, I am only stronger from living with the disorder.
You are not your diagnosis. Your diagnosis does not define who you are as a person. Whether “it’s” Borderline Personality Disorder or quite literally any other mental health disorder, you are stronger than you think you are, remind yourself of that.
Hanna Holmes is a 20 year old college student living in Southern California. After being diagnosed with BPD for two years, she has began to learn to live with the ups and downs of the disorder and writes this with hopes that she can help others learn the same.