I always thought this would remain my biggest and darkest secret.
The thought of someone else knowing about The Darkness frightened me.
When I got diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2019, I knew everything would change drastically. My whole life I knew I was different but nothing could prepare me for the journey I am now on.
I wish I could explain how it feels to have a Cluster B personality disorder, but there are no words in any language to describe the chaos within me. Feeling everything intensely, or feeling nothing at all, is normal to me.
You see, there was always this Darkness that I carried everywhere I went. I stood out, and not in a good way.
The way I felt was different. The way I spoke was different. The way I acted was different. The way I saw the world was different. I knew there was an invisible wall that separated me from everyone else around me.
For decades I believed I was just very depressed and suicidal. I had no idea what personality disorders were. No one taught me that there are clusters of them or how they are developed.
It all began when in 2018 I experienced one of the biggest heartbreaks of my life when my favourite person left me. A favourite person – or FP – when it comes to Borderline Personality Disorder is an individual to whom we are attached in an unhealthy way.
They make us real, they fill up our emptiness, and give our lives meaning and purpose. When they give you their attention you are normal, healthy, loved. They are not just someone you love; they are who you are.
When one lives with a PD that causes one to have an unstable sense of identity, they seek anything and anyone who will fill them up and give them a sense of self. A favourite person is who you are – at least in the beginning.
Eventually, the mask starts to slip. The Darkness cannot be hidden anymore and the real you, the BPD you, is finally seen and experienced. The secret is exposed.
Both I and my favourite person were toxic to each other – he was narcissistic and needed someone to control, while I was addicted and needed someone to make me real. We were using each other to fulfil our needs.
He gaslighted me; I was possessive. He lied to me; I lied about me. Our friendship was built on an initial spark that suggested we had something in common when in reality he found someone who would praise him and I found someone to give me attention.
When months went by and I was completely under his spell, he stabbed me in the back and gave me the silent treatment. Then came the final email, which I read only partially because I split on him as soon as I saw the first sentence.
That’s when the dark phase began and the countdown to receiving a diagnosis started to get louder.
Carl Jung can explain what I started to discover about myself better than I can: “Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected“.
I became fully aware of the most disturbing thoughts I carried. Some of the vilest fantasies suddenly weren’t obscure and I had to accept them as part of me.
The Darkness was slowly coming to light and I couldn’t blame my actions on depression anymore. It was clear that there was something very wrong with me and my brain, and I had to get an answer.
This was the first time that I didn’t just blame the other person for my heartbreak but I consciously accepted the role my actions played in the ending of a friendship. I looked in the mirror and never looked away.
My impulsivity, anger, emptiness, unstable sense of identity, paranoia, jealousy, rage, possessiveness, periods of no empathy, all led me to ruin everything in my life. Yes, I was severely abused by many people, but I was not always innocent.
In December 2018 I walked into a room that gave me hope. My psychiatrist looked like a slightly older version of Argentinian pop star Lali and she was actually nice when I talked about myself.
I was pouring my heart out – telling her about the splitting, episodes of rage, and the emptiness – and she actually treated me like I was normal. When I joked that for a while I thought I was a psychopath, she wasn’t alarmed, but quickly reassured me I was not.
After a 40 minute conversation, she suggested I meet with a psychologist who will give me a few tests so we could see what my diagnosis is.
The psychologist was kind and respectful, and we had a lovely conversation. It took about two different days to talk, answer about a billion questions on a test and take the Rorschach test. I know the latter is not exactly scientifically correct but I did not mind.
Seeing my diagnosis, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (Borderline), written on the official piece of paper with my psychiatrist’s name underneath, made me feel better for a while.
Only for a while.
Because then came the devastating reality when I realized what it truly means to live with Borderline Personality Disorder.
People fear what they don’t understand. They stigmatize. They demonize and point fingers and create subreddits with thousands of members who call you an abusive psychopath and ban you if you try to defend yourself.
Knowing that there are people who truly, honestly, wholeheartedly believe that I am an evil abusive crazy psychopath solely because I have BPD kind of changes your life. Suddenly listening to true crime becomes a secret, and all those John Douglas books are gathering dust in the closet.
As I said, people fear what they don’t understand and fear makes people dangerous.
10% of people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder will die by suicide. That means there is a 10% chance I will die by suicide. Seeing how I have been self-harming for two decades and tried to overdose at one point, this number seems normal to me.
To this day I feel suicidal. I know exactly how I would choose to end my life and I’ve known it since I was 8. To me, talking about it is like talking about the weather. Mundane. Ordinary.
This is a long post, and I salute you if you read the whole thing. It means a lot that you didn’t stop after I admitted to joking about being a psychopath. I like to make dark jokes to cope with reality.
I want to start talking about my diagnosis in-depth with you. For so long I’ve been hiding it because it is dark and uncomfortable and stigmatized. I was careful not to reveal too much when I was writing about mental illness.
When I first spoke about taking antipsychotics my heart almost stopped. This was more intimate than I was willing to get with anyone. But as time went by, I just began opening up more and more in hopes it will bring us closer.
Now, I want to talk about paranoia, hallucinations and rage. I am ready to get vulnerable and expose myself. Not in a sexy way, though. Yet. I’m kidding.
There are so many of us out there. And so many of us are tired of hiding and dealing with hate that comes from social media, books and, mostly, Hollywood. Can we ever be represented as normal people, or do we always have to be abusive killers?
Let me know if you would like to see a post where I go through BPD characters from shows/movies and rate how realistic they are. This is something I’ve wanted to write for such a long time.
To end this post, I just want to say that having Borderline Personality Disorder may be a curse and a hell, but I am just as human as you are. Personality disorders are scary but not as scary as people who fear them because of a Reddit post they read.
None of us chose to be ill.