Anyone can have mental health challenges in their lifetime, and it can be very difficult. However it WILL get easier if you get help. Letting people know you are there to listen, can make a big difference
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Today it’s a year and a half later and I still have my ups and downs and I’m still in recovery but I’m a stronger woman because of it. I have a long life ahead of me and I’m proud to say that I get to live it.
I was 15 years old when I started dating my first boyfriend. Everything went really great for the first few months. Then he swiftly changed.
He was physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually abusive. One of the ways he controlled me was by informing me that I wasn’t allowed to eat. He said I was a disgusting cow. I began to binge eat but I would feel so guilty I would vomit or if he caught me eating without his permission he would force me to be sick, all the while reminding me how repulsive I was to look at and that I had to look good enough for him. I started to believe him. I would live off of sunflower seeds and water. When I did finally break and eat, my body rejected it. I didn’t have to make myself sick, my body did it for me.
After I finally had enough and left him, his messages stayed in my head. Away from him I finally stabilized to being able to eat every day, but only eating once and never being over a certain weight. I finally became pregnant after 4 years of trying and a diagnosis of endometriosis. I was so healthy and happy while I was pregnant. I felt great and my daughter was healthy. But unfortunately after she was born I slowly relapsed to lose the baby weight. But my goal weight was dangerously low; I hated having a triple digit weight.
My husband was never mean or said anything about my weight but I couldn’t get my ex’s voice out of my head. I dropped to a dangerously low weight before I finally snapped out of it. I realized I don’t want my kids to see their mommy slowly wither away into skin and bones. It’s still a daily struggle to eat but I’m staying healthy. Every day I hear my ex’s voice in my head but I know I am just fine the way that I am. And my kids need their mommy, not the skeleton she was.
What the hell is Borderline Personality Disorder? I posed this question many times to several therapists, only to leave their offices feeling guilty. Guilty for being “bad”. Guilty for feeling misunderstood.
Like most other mentally ill adults, I had been exhibiting symptoms since early childhood. My mom thought I acted out for attention. Somehow, she nor anyone else never connected the dots between unusually high hyperactive moods and severe anxiety. Even as I aged, I would cry at the drop of a hat and stuttered beyond comprehension. I wet the bed ‘til age 12 and got caught masturbating a few times. I wonder if she ever knew there were a few times on many days.
My absentee father left a hole in my heart when his wife found out about my existence. He stopped coming around after my tenth birthday, but agreed to see my oldest brother anytime he travelled back to New York. Here’s where I never connected the dots. My story is peppered with the usual shameful tales of promiscuity and relationship fails. It combines academic highs with irrational lows. Some days my low moods would cause me to cry all day and sleep. Other days I barreled through doors and cursed some unsuspecting soul out up one way and down another. On many days I questioned whether or not God would sequester me to hell if I attempted suicide. There were times I stole my coworkers’ food after my last job termination left me broke and desperate. I spent many years angry, confused, and depressed. What the hell is Borderline Personality Disorder? And why did it choose to mess with me?
We all know what the DSM says. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment? Check! A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation? Check! Impulsivity? Check! I wish none of these applied to me, but it seems as if I develop a new symptom each year. I was diagnosed at age 34 and have undergone numerous medication trials. I hear that DBT therapy is the only sure fire “cure” for BPD and that supports groups should complement well. There’s just one problem. I have ADHD and can’t sit still long enough to last four minutes, much less an hour in a group setting. I can’t focus long enough to make any real progress. Well, maybe I’ve made some progress.
It’s been five years since my initial diagnosis and I’m happy to report that I’m now on two medications instead of five. I see my outpatient therapist every three weeks instead of twice per week, like before. I’ve actually maintained celibacy, and by the grace of God, I no longer cut or contemplate suicide. So what the hell is Borderline Personality Disorder? It’s a raging war that’s more like my tolerable step-child, and less like my nemesis.
I’d like to say that faith is a catalyst to change and believing you can heal is the first step to recovery.
I want to share my recovery journey to inspire other people and show them how powerful their personal story is. There will always be struggles, but they don’t have to define you or hold you back from being someone great! :)
There is more to life than just surviving. You can overcome mental illness.