Borderline Personality Disorder is highly stigmatized due to the intense symptoms presented. Conversations around the disorder are often negative, and understandably, as the symptoms are overwhelming at times, painful, and can be destructive to the individual, those around them, and their relationships. Yet, from referencing DBT, we understand that all things can be both good and bad. Meaning, BPD can be horribly awful AND it can be empowering. And we need to accept things as they are because there is no other option.
Those of us with BPD are extremely empathic. We feel deeply, experience a wide range of emotions every day, and understand intense internal pain. This allows us to better connect with people. We can relate to all emotions, and truly understand the importance of validation. We are often supportive and easy to talk to.
Similar to intense emotions is our sense of intuition. Learning how to live with BPD requires a lot of mindfulness and observation of our environment and triggers. Due to this awareness, we are often very intuitive. Sensing when something is wrong with others, noticing things that are often overlooked, and thinking about things from an interconnected perspective. This may help us: connect with others more deeply, help others through emotional distress, and feel a deep connection to the world. We know the importance of the ‘little things’ that can go a long way. Whether this means appreciating nature, smiling at a stranger, taking in peaceful moments, or supporting a friend. Our intuition helps us connect.
We are often creative and expressive through art. There is no doubt that we experience extreme emotional pain that is invisible to others, and there is no way to change that, but we can channel it. Many of us want to share our experiences so that we feel less misunderstood. High and sometimes manic moods can give us energy, motivation, and ideas. The overload of emotions means we are always feeling something very strongly, and when we find the right way to channel our voice, we can shine bright.
Intense emotions are difficult when those emotions are sadness, anger, or fear. At the same time, when the emotions are more positive, such as happiness or excitement, they are experienced to an extreme as well. So, even though we go through very dark episodes of depression, we can also experience unbelievable joy and excitement. Because with BPD, everything is extreme.
Impulsivity can also translate into bravery or boldness. When we feel good, we often want to speak our mind and be unapologetically ourselves. We may be more willing to try new things and our impulsive actions can sometimes have beneficial results. Like cutting off a toxic relationship or quitting an unhealthy job, we can rip off the bandaid. Yes, we will frequently self-destruct and most impulsive actions hurt us, but we may also push ourselves further on impulse alone.
Even though it doesn’t feel like it 90% of the time, we are so resilient. Looking at the trauma we are working through, how we experience the world, the pain we feel each day, the stigma of our invisible illness, the jobs and/or relationships we’ve lost, and the fact that we’re still alive and breathing despite the statistics of our illness shows just how resilient we are. Our lives are anything but easy, but we continue on. That is incredible in itself.
Living with BPD is awful at times, but it can also be good. When we create a life that is healthy and fulfilling, we can not only survive but also thrive. We are resilient, capable, emotional, creative, intuitive, strong, empathic people. We did not choose this path, but we can make the most of it.