Borderline Personality Disorder and Five Foundations for Recovery

What Recovery feels like, and how I set about creating a life worth living.

Image for post
Image for post

1/ Let go of your story

How long are you going to carry the burden of the past? Like Sisyphus condemned to roll the stone up the hill for eternity — a punishment for cheating death — we all have watch the same stone roll back down the other side. This goes on for eternity, only heres the catch. The heavy stone of childhood is you, you’re the stone, crumbling to dust as you keep rolling forward. Relinquish the burden, let go of the trauma, and climb the hill without extra baggage.

2/ Accept Limitations

In May 2018, surgeons at University College London Hospital fitted me with a permanent colostomy! An operation I begrudging accepted as necessary, because for the last decade, I’ve suffered a crippling bowel condition which has decimated my life. As I lay in the hospital bed, connected to saline drips, and wires, my large intestine literally pulled out of my abandon and stitched like a sleeve cuff to my stomach, I was thinking: Why me? Isn’t it enough that I have recovered from Borderline Personality Disorder, why did this have to happen as well? I could only reply why not me? Life is full of bizarre meaningless tragedies, and some people seem especially unlucky. While I knew that intellectually it didn’t mitigate the emotional pain I felt when I looked down at my insides now sticking out of me. Nevertheless I didn’t relapse; a testament to how much I’ve grown in stature I was able face injury down with equanimity. Eventually I simply had to let go of the question. We all have to submit eventually, so it’s better to submit gracefully, than kicking and screaming, which causes more suffering.

3/ Always find something to be grateful for.

I think psychiatrists should start also looking at Borderline Environments,rather than foisting labels on damaged people. There are environments which are so bad, they cause a person to get BPD! I grew up in one, within very dysfunctional family, my childhood was miserable. My parents were not ready to be parents. Their emotional and physical violence, toward me was unbearable. The shouts, insults, and threats of physical punishment, hurt me. As a result I developed complex-post traumatic stress disorder. As of today, I still feel angry about it. There were times when I swore I’d never forgive my parents for such wilful blindness. In fact I’d find a way to punish them. I thought if they can only see me as an antisocial BPD monster, then that’s exactly how I’m going to act. Of course it didn’t work, they didn’t understand the irony, and so I wasn’t able to prove anything. They remained oblivious. Besides which, even if they understood what I said intellectually, they wouldn’t be able to act upon such information. Their characters were set, even as mine continued to evolve.

4/ Reflect reflect reflect

If you have Borderline Personality Disorder, you may have trouble identifying emotions — Alexithymia is the technical word for it — we feel passionately, but often our feelings are so undifferentiated as to be lumped together in a singular feeling of distress. Lacking a coherent sense of self, beset with identity diffusion, we are buoyed up by moentary wishes and dreams: I will be a bestselling author, a rockstar an astronaut. I am gay, straight, bisexual. I want a big house and a nice car. I want nothing just an empty hut in the woods. I want everything but simultaneously I want nothing at all! Why do we have an appetite for self-destruction, engage in reckless activities like self-harm or substance abuse? Why are relationships so chaotic. Why are we splitting people into all-good and all-bad objects? Reflect reflect reflect.

5/ Above All Don’t Lie to Yourself

In Dostoevsky’s novel the Brothers Karamazov, the wise abbot of the town monastery Father Zozima, has some strong words for the debauched, unruly patriach of the Karamazov household Fyodor Pavlovitch. He tells him:

Written by

Freelance journalist writing on mental health and disability. Words have the power to shine a light on realities otherwise missed.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store