I am a Borderliner
All About Me

I am a Borderliner – Life with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

I can't remember if my brain ever thought healthy thoughts, knowing what I know about BPD (borderline personality disorder) it is quite obvious to me that some of my strange thoughts when I was a mere child were part of dissociating from myself.

I guess before I write more, I should explain why I'm writing this post. I used to be quite open about my mental health, I could easily tell someone I had depression and anxiety disorder, as well as other issues (yes OK BPD was my dirty secret still). However, then my teen years came back to haunt me, someone decided again to use my mental health against me and I went back into my shell. It seems even as an adult you cannot get away from the stigma of mental health.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD is a serious mental health illness, which is marked by a long-term pattern of abnormal behaviours, such as unstable relationships, unstable sense of self and unstable emotions. BPD suffers also often have an irrational fear of abandonment and often feel empty. Sufferers can frequently display dangerous behaviours and are very often self-harmers. BPD suffers can often experience other mental health problems and some suffer from addictions to drugs and alcohol.

How has it affected me?

I guess I should go back, way back. In my primary school years I remember wondering why I was me, why was my head put in this body, why not another. It is a hard sensation to explain, it was almost like my thoughts were disconnected from my body. I also remember at 10 thinking some of the other kids in my class had planted something in my brain to track my thoughts. Not normal at all right?

I was able to keep most of my thoughts and feelings under control when I lived in Oxford, after all, I had a strong network of family and friends around me. However, that all changed when we moved to the Midlands. Suddenly I was no longer accepted, I spoke funny and wore the wrong clothes, I no longer belonged. Then I fell ill with a bad case of the flu and constant tonsillitis at 13/14 it all came to a head, I started self-harming, which gradually got worse, till I was taking a lot of over doses in the hopes of committing suicide (how I didn't manage it, I still don't know).

I also starting doing some very scary and dangerous things, I would run away from home, in the middle of the night, without shoes, in the pouring rain, I would mix alcohol with tablets when taking over doses and would do anything to hurt myself from picking up glass from the streets to breaking cans apart to make a pointed edge. Sadly I also had audio and visual hallucinations, some which had little meaning to me and were just constant streams of hatred, while others I felt related to bad times in my childhood, such as one which seemed to have related to an incident in my younger years when I was with a friend in the park, and someone scared us badly with a knife.

After having three different consultants check me over (one believed I was getting better, as in his mind no one who is hugely depressed tries to commit suicide, as it is too much effort, one who thought the opposite and the third who agreed) at 15 I was admitted to a child and adolescent unit as an in patient.

I won't delve hugely into my time there, it had its ups and downs, I met some amazingly strong people who suffered from all different types of mental health issues. Did it help? Well, no one knows the answer to that, sadly I found I picked up often on how other around me were feeling and internalised that as well as my own emotions. I remember vividly as I left the hospital almost a year later, the doctor told me and my parents, I'll never know if I managed to help you or not.

My life over the preceding years was a mix of madness, I worked for a while and found that it took my mind off everything, so I worked all the hours I could, ending up running myself into the ground, to the point I was badly cutting and getting angry a lot. Back then I would bang my head on the walls and floors in frustration, as well as throwing around items and barricading myself in my bedroom. Unsurprisingly I ended up back in hospital, this time I spent 2 weeks in an adult mental health unit, which was a completely different world to the child and adolescent one I had been in just 2 years prior. I was released from there into what I can only describe as a half way house, , (which was inadequately supervised due to “staff Shortages”) where it took a more sinister turn and I started getting into abusive relationships, three in total over the course of 4 years, which saw me subjected to, physical, sexual, mental, emotional and financial abuse. While in many ways this time left me broken it also gave the will to not let these people win, it gave me the want to find out who I was and try and find a way to live with the issues that are broken inside me.

I am a Borderliner - What is BPD

Where am I now?

I am no angel to live with, I have my down times and I have the times when I feel like BPD might rear its head again, however with the help of the right medication and many years of self-work I have come to be on a more even keel. Don't get me wrong I still worry about being abandoned, I still have times when I self-harm. However, I have managed to make meaningful relationships with people, people who I care about deeply and who care about me. I have learnt to try and rationalise the completely irrational thoughts that still pop up.

I've learnt to try and forgive myself for the things I have done due to my mental health issues and try and learn from them and work it out so I don't make the same mistakes again. I really do hope that I never go over the edge again, I know I am on a knife point, holding myself sane.

To anyone with BPD.

Please do not think you are beyond help, do not listen to those who say you are purely insane, yes your brain doesn't process things correctly, yes life can be downright hard, when you're fighting those demons in your head. However, you are not alone. There are people out there struggling in similar situations to you.

And to anyone who thinks people BPD are cruel, awful people – please think again. We can be a bit manic, we can't completely control our emotions and it's a bit like living on a roller coaster and you never know if the next stop will be fear, anxiety or a bit cheer and we might need more reassurance that others (and we may say sorry a lot!), but we are human and we have an illness and while we will never be 100%, who really is in this world we live in?


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This article has 20 comments

  1. Tracy Nixon

    Thanks Sarah. I can totally relate to your post as I too was diagnosed with a Borderline Personality back in 2006.

  2. Natasha Mairs

    R=thanks for sharing this Sarah, I know how hard it can be to be completely honest. My sister suffers with Borderline personality disorder and is also bi-polar. She has 5 kids and one of them as a brain tumour. She is such an amazing women how she has coped with everything and I am so lucky to call her my sister. I also suffer with depression and in the past suffered terribly with a social phobia. I don’t think these mental health issue will ever go, I think it’s something we have to learn to life with, and in a way, control. It’s post like this and sharing everything that is helping other so they don’t feel alone, and that mental health issues are no longer taboo

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      Sending you huge hugs. It is a horrible thing to have to deal with (any mental health issue). I am with you on, you have to learn to deal with it as best you can.

  3. Rebecca

    I’m so glad you’ve shared this Sarah, it is so important for people to be more aware xx

  4. Ashleigh

    It was so interesting to learn more about this, as I never knew much about it. Awareness is unbelievably important. Thanks for sharing. x

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      Glad that it has helped you learn something new, I think most people don’t know about it, unless it is via a horror film or similar. It isn’t portrayed well in most places.

  5. Cassandra Mayers

    You know, with you describing symptoms of this, sounds very much like me. I felt very similar to you when I was younger to. But never got diagnosed, never actually talked to anyone about, I just got on with it in which ever way I did, sometimes destructive, sometimes not. More in my younger years than now though feelings can creep back onto me. Im in a good place now though with my partner and daughter.
    I many times used to walk in the rain, I would take a cold shower, I once poured a glass of cold water over my head. Its good to know were all not alone with feelings like this though. Good post to read 🙂 Thank you x

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      Sending you big hugs, I am so glad to hear you are in a better place now. I wrote this post and wasn’t sure what to do with it, I thought about giving it to someone as a guest post, but sent it to my Dad and he told me to post it. In doing a bit of research of it I was amazed at all the things I did that are common with people who have BPD. Like banging my head on the wall, I could never control it, it was just an impulse, so when I read a lot of BPD people did it, it was like oh wow, I’m not alone.

  6. Mummy Times Two

    It sounds as though you have been through a really hard time. I’m so glad things are a little easier for you at the moment x

  7. A S,Edinburgh

    Excellent article, thank you. It’s incredible how stigmatised BPD is. Every piece of testimony from people who actually have it is so valuable. I only hope that in addition to decreased stigma, in the future there are the resources available to help everyone who could do with assistance with their mental health. The state of support services at the moment is shocking.

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      I really hope it helps a little, I remember telling someone who I spent a lot of time with about my mental health issues and he said you wouldn’t know by looking at you or talking to you. I was like yup my mask is good. One day I hope the world will be more excepting, we have come a long way, but we have a long way to go as well.

  8. ABIGAIL HAMILTON

    Such a good post. It’s good to open up about mental health as it should be able to be spoken about in the same way as heart problems, broken leg etc Our brain health is the most important of all organs as without it we can’t function. There’s a good support network on twitter for BPD & other mental health issues.

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      It really is sad that if you can’t see something happening often people think it is nothing 🙁 I’ll have to check out the twitter networks thank you.

  9. Susan Smith

    Waht a fabulous article you have written, i believe there is a lot of people out there, that has depression and other mental illinesses and i am hoping now everyone is being made aware, so perhaps more help will be out there,

  10. Ashy Curtis

    Thank you for your honest piece. I have BDP, diagnosed in my teens, but I have only been told at 33! I knew I had Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder, but the BDP diagnosis has hit me hard, as I wasn’t expecting it. I am still learning about it and find reading the experiences of others with BDP really helpful, as I do relate to the comments people make, such as dissociation and not fitting in. Thank you again.

    • Sarah-Louise Bailey

      *Sending you big hugs* I remember no one wanted to tell me and it took me keeping asking to find out, they would say things like you don’t want a label, it doesn’t mean anything, and I know for me it helped knowing, it helped knowing I wasn’t alone as I could look it up.

      If you ever need to chat please do just drop me an email.

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