Hi Elle,

thanks for your comment, I relate to what you are saying completely. I thought I’d share a personal story with you – call it Love is the best medicine part. 2. In 2016 I got married; it was and remains the happiest day of my life. I remember while dating, when my wife was still my fiancé we had a pre-wedding photo-shoot planned at the local park – I was really anxious, panicky, I generally don’t cope with these sort of things and so didn’t want to go. Anyway the photographer had arrived and was waiting for us, and with it came this crushing sense of obligation and pressure. It made me feel like I always feel when I’m compelled to do something – trapped. I tried to explain but it was no use; in the end I zipped on the suit of apparent competency and went with her for the photo shoot. I smiled all the way through for 3 hours straight, but inside I was getting more and more angry. By the time we got home I was shaking with rage. My wife was scared, she thought I’d gone mad. (How can I smile on the outside and feel something different inside? The answer is apparent competency but to everyone else it looks like we flip) I remember saying all these things – how much I was suffering, how I’d been forced into going, that she made me go on purpose (all sounds ridiculous now but that’s how emotions distort perception). I also remember her crying and saying “but that’s not fair, I thought you were happy. You didn’t tell me how you were feeling. I didn’t know.’ At that moment it was like a lightbulb went of: I looked at her and I realised this girl loves me, she hadn’t, and never would want to hurt me. Even more than that she doesn’t know my history, she’s doesn’t know u have bpd there’s no judgement in her eyes just sadness and reproach. It was like a light was shone on everything; I realised I am free I have a chance to Start over, I don’t Have to be like this or act like this anymore. I made a vow that since this girl has put her trust in me, given me her heart I will not let her down. I realised that all love i felt before was not really love; that in fact I never truly loved anyone, because it was contaminated with pain and misery. Thus is what love could be, without the burden of trauma and memory. For me that’s how u learnt to love again and how love healed me. We celebrate our four year wedding anniversary in a couple of months.

I agree finding that love is difficult. You have to take a chance, take a risk and open your heart so it’s vulnerable but at the same time you have skilled enough to protect it. For me this was only possible when I broke from my parents and spent several miserable years alone – they were fruitful years though because in that time my body and mind was able to calm down a bit. I was able deal with suffering more compassionately without being a slave to blind reaction. Finally I was able to see how the past impacts the present but it doesn’t have to. I still carry the pain of my past to this day, however it doesn’t hurt as much, and while I still mess up and have moments where I lose my bearings in the end I find my way back more easily. That’s why I always encourage people to never give up looking for that special person.

Finally, when I speak about childhood trauma I’m using that as a lose term which can encompass adolescence. I developed bpd in adolescence and my worst memories are from adolescence. I have no doubt there were problems much earlier but I can’t remember them. I’ve seen old videos of myself as a toddler and there’s definitely something odd (even hostile) in how my parents interact with me but I can’t quite describe it. I think these forgotten parts of our history are real, and act as seeds; they grow and grow and in adolescence reach the surface

The good news is bpd tends to get better with age. Eventually the suffering withers away and dies; there’s a little bit of pain left over but it can be managed, especially if you are surrounded by people that care. I think it’s important to recognise as humans beings we can never have unconditional love; if we seek that we’ll be disappointed. However there is love that can be fought for a won each day anew. And that makes it even more special.

Best wishes

Kevin

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

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