I’ve been struggling with my self-confidence recently. I know it is a symptom of my depression, a period that I am currently going through. Even though I understand the source, I still feel the effects. So I will recognize each feeling of self-doubt, but I refuse to accept and internalize these doubts and fears

I fear my time is not as valuable as others.

I worry my writing is a waste of time.

I fear I am not enough.

I worry I won’t be able to handle future challenges.

I fear others won’t accept me if I put myself out there.

All these negative thoughts and self-doubts have been damaging my confidence. It leads me to a dark place I’ve been to before. A year or two ago this would have made me stuck. Now, I know the pattern, and I recognize what can get me through it.

While depression lingers, I’m still experiencing self-doubt. I’m hearing the thoughts and then pushing them awaybecause these unhelpful beliefs are not going to control me. I am filling my time with things that do increase my confidence: reading, writing, yoga, running, being around kids, talking with someone who understands me, and organizing my space. The thoughts may continue, but I’m going to keep living and fighting.


It all begins with acceptance.

Accepting your diagnosis, symptoms, and daily reality.

When I accept my diagnosis, instead of fighting it, I am accepting myself and validating my feelings.

I may not feel appreciative or healthy every day, but when I accept my symptoms and reality for what it is, I am removing expectations and pressure. A good day for me might look a lot different than a good day for you, and I’m okay with that.

I can accept a bad day, moment, or even week, because I know tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities.

Without acceptance, I am fighting against myself. Allowing my illness and emotions to control my life. When things are good, I’m waiting for everything to fall apart, and when things are bad, It’s validating my belief. Which is why acceptance is crucial.

I will continue to accept myself, illness and all, not only because I have no other choice, but because it allows me to let go and enjoy my life.

It’s all about learning how to work with yourself instead of against.

My Life May Not Look Like Yours

When I work a typical 9-5 job, I can function, but I cannot thrive. Slowly, I lose who I am and become what I am doing. I spend all my energy at work, and I’m barely left with enough to care for myself. Any social life is out of the question. I float, become who I need to, and slowly disappear.

My days begin to blend. I forget what I do day to day and only remember the powerful emotions that were triggered.

I’m beginning to discover how to adapt to my new lifestyle. Interacting with people exhausts me, so I share my story online. I can stay focused without feeling drained, and I can write from the comfort of my home.

I nanny to provide a small income. Children are wonderful because they have gentle hearts and respond to the care you provide. I can teach children kindness and love. I can help them understand their emotions. I grow each day because of what I put into my work.

I require flexibility in what I do. I need boundaries and safety.

From an outside perspective, I may look lazy. A bunch of free time used to do what? What can’t be seen is the emotional pain I’m in. I’ve learned to hide the instability. I discovered others withdraw when I share all the therapy and treatment I require. But I’m not going to hide in the background anymore. I want to live my life, a life that likely doesn’t resemble yours.

Self Harm

Self-harm once consumed my life. It shattered my self-image, hope for recovery, and relationships. I thought I was taking back control, but in reality, I was surrendering to my depression.

When I was searching for help, I was shocked when doctors told me my self-harm was ‘superficial.’ I would not be allowed in specific skills groups, and I was questioned if I needed inpatient treatment. I understood what they meant, but what they didn’t see was the pain behind the cutting. My wounds were surface level, but that did not indicate my pain was lesser than those who cut deeper.

Before my Borderline diagnosis, I was told that I was not sick enough to receive the treatment I was seeking. I had just been released from an inpatient care unit and was searching for a place in a DBT skills group. I had attempted suicide once, my self-harm was superficial, and I was working as a Mental Health Practitioner, so I was denied.

That experience put the belief into my head that for others to believe me, I needed to prove my pain. I increased my self-harm and continued spiraling downward.

The comparisons don’t stop in treatment; they exist in the recovery community as well. I have read comments comparing scars – you do not even have that many scars, mine are so much worse, you have it easy; clearly, I am in more pain. Why are we doing this to each other?

I hope that one day we will stop comparing people based on what we can see, and instead listen to what they say.

It honestly does not matter the severity of your wounds. I can understand how it can be helpful for clinicians to differentiate between the level of need, but I believe we are looking at this from the wrong angle. It should not matter, because what matters is what that person is feeling inside. Thoughts, emotions, impulses, that’s what matters, and that’s what we should be listening to.

All I want is for those struggling to be heard and validated. Your pain does matter. You matter. I want everyone to receive the support they need, because of what they are experiencing internally, and not due to their apparent need externally.

Relationships Confuse Me

I want people close, then push them away. I feel lonely, yet search for opportunities to be alone. I get mad at others for not reaching out, so I don’t reach out to them. I’m clingy, but I often cancel plans.

How I act in relationships seems childish, and I should probably just stop acting this way, right? But I can’t stop how I feel inside. It’s a disorder, not a decision.

For most of my life, I felt powerless. I didn’t believe I could help myself. I looked for others to fix me.

I once perceived my self-worth by how others treated me. Over time this developed into a core belief: I was lesser than others. That is not true.

I likely don’t look crazy, unhealthy, or unstable. My relationships may look solid, but the thoughts and emotions they trigger are incredibly challenging to manage.

Relationships are a significant factor of Borderline Personality Disorder. For me, it isn’t the pattern of unstable relationships; it’s the emotions associated with them.

There is a stigma attached to BPD. We are manipulative, controlling, and crazy. While I am not those things, my disorder can bring out those behaviors. I can present as controlling, but that doesn’t make me controlling. That is part of my disorder, not my self-worth.

I’m confusing in relationships, but that’s only because of how difficult they are for me to manage. I am often just as confused as you are.

Part of me wants to isolate, push everyone out of my life, and leave myself with what I think I deserve, nothing. That is what my disorder wants. There is another part of me, sometimes it’s a tiny part, but this healthy aspect of me knows the importance of relationships. It knows that I thrive because of my support.

I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my relationships. I am so grateful for the continued support.

I guess all I’ve learned is that having people in your life, no matter how hard, is worth it. You’re worth the love and effort. You are.

How I Percieve Myself

Who am I? Where do I fit? How can I belong in a world that feels like it was made for someone else?

Self-image. What does that mean? It’s who you are, who you feel you are, and how you see yourself in the world.

I struggle with my self-image and sense of self. I can quickly lose sight of who I am. Most days, I feel real; other days, I float through my day, struggling to make sense of my presence in this world.

These days, my body moves and goes on with my day. I suddenly wake up at times, but the feeling never lasts, and I’m sucked back into my head. I will forget to eat, shower, change my clothes. I will go out in public to realize I forget to brush my teeth or fix my hair, but not be able to remember what I did instead. I don’t feel alive or human.

I shift between self-awareness and dissociation. Being fully aware of myself, my needs, and what I want in life to withdrawing into my head and not feeling like a person.

My mood is dependent on my environment. Interactions with others easily trigger me. This is due to my perception of both other people and me. Because I struggle with my self-image, I often lack the feeling of being grounded in who I am. Meaning, if I perceive judgment or criticism from others, it significantly affects me because of my unstable sense of self. I also can’t quickly bounce back from these perceived judgments or brush them off.

I’m suspicious of others, assuming everyone is against me.

I struggle accepting that others love and care about me. When my brain perceives someone who did me wrong or hurt me, it rejects them. My mind tells me that because they hurt me, they don’t care, and I’m worthless. It’s like my brain can’t accept both ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ It wants to see the world in black and white.

I hold others on a pedestal, while I diminish my self-worth. I do these things to myself, but not by choice.

My brain fights against me, and my happiness, so I have to fight back. This journey wasn’t my decision, but it is my reality.

Self Sabataging

“Impulsive behaviors that are harmful to yourself and others.”

I experience impulsive urges, in both self-harm and suicidal thoughts. I have not engaged in self-harm in over a year and a half. If you asked me that two years ago, I didn’t see the point in stopping, others told me not to hurt myself, but I was stuck on this dark path. Now I’m grateful that I can recognize why that isn’t the best option, but when you’re struggling, it’s tough to see clearly. I just wanted the internal pain to stop.

When I was engaging, I would act impulsively. I didn’t think about it often, but when I did, I would often act on that impulse. My body moved quickly and would stop when I met the impulse.

Due to depression, I frequently experienced suicidal thoughts. My depression is much more manageable now, and I’m able to work through these thoughts. During the darkest period of my life, I acted on these impulses. Planning wasn’t involved; I felt the urge, I responded and had to deal with the consequences. I think this is why BPD is so deadly, acting on impulses, kills.

Thoughts and urges are still present, but I feel capable and safe.

These symptoms don’t completely disappear once recovery is reached. There are days where I struggle with these impulses, but I’ve created a safety net for myself. If I am struggling, I have people I can reach, a safe for dangerous objects, and a plan on how to recover. I’ve adapted my lifestyle to remove stress. Created boundaries so I am aware of what I am consuming – both body and mind. I am opening up myself to recovery, accepting positive change.

Emotional Instability

I never knew how to describe how I felt inside or how I experienced emotions. I’m sensitive, but it is so much more than that. I could never just “take a joke” or “brush it off” because words left me in physical pain.

I’m writing to spread awareness of what living with a mental illness actually looks like. It’s not beautiful, dramatic, made up, or a trend. It’s an illness. However, because we are each unique, everyone diagnosed with a mental illness will experience it differently from the next person. My experience is not intended to be generalized to all those struggling, but instead to shine some light on an important and often neglected conversation.

I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Unfortunately, like many mental illnesses, there is a stigma or a set of assumptions about the disorder. I hope to decrease these assumptions by sharing my symptoms, and what BPD looks like for me. The symptoms will be described in four groups and four separate posts: the first group: excessive, unstable, and poorly regulated emotional responses.

I experience emotions to a high intensity. Anger becomes rage. Embarrassment is humiliation. Sadness becomes overwhelming despair. Shame, guilt, and fear are always present and can send me down a negative spiral. My emotions shift quickly. I automatically react to what is said to me. I view comments as personal attacks. Basically, I think everyone intends to show me my unimportance. I often struggle with keeping emotions in, but it can’t be seen. I’m not always visibly emotional because I’ve learned how to hide them. When I’m tired, hungry, or having an off day, my emotions spill out, and I’m left feeling raw and hurt.

I get angry over the most unimportant things. Honestly, the anger takes over, and I’m often unaware of where it is coming from. Sometimes there’s no source except for the symptom. I used to feel guilty for getting angry, but after being diagnosed, I’ve learned to accept my symptoms and understand why they’re there. I no longer have to blame myself.

“Chronic feeling of emptiness” is something that once consumed my life. I have huge gaps in my memory due to this and periods of my life I floated through. Dissociation, emptiness, it’s like I didn’t exist. I experience this feeling of emptiness today, but it’s very different. It used to last weeks or months even. Now it may be hours, a full day, or a period of days, but never how it was. Today I feel empty, but I know the feeling will pass, eventually.

BPD is extremely stigmatized, I’ve experienced it first hand, and because of that, I want to explain my experience as well as I can. Normalizing the conversation will lessen the stigma. This group of symptoms I covered is part 1/4.