"I’m now having more good days than bad" - Rosie's story
In this blog, Rosie explores her experience with borderline personality disorder in relation to a big life-changing event that took place for her recently: the end of her marriage. Despite going through waves of intense emotion, Rosie is rebuilding her life back up, with this year’s Good Friday marking her inspiring recovery.
Content warning: suicidal ideation and self-harm
In 2010, aged 19, I was diagnosed with depression. In 2012, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (Type 2). In 2017, I was told that I don’t actually have bipolar disorder and “it’s just depression”. And finally, in January 2021, aged 30, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). I’ve been on antidepressants for about five years now, and have no mental health team.
We met online in 2010. We started dating in 2016. We got married in August 2021 and separated on 28th December 2022 (16 months to the day that we got married). Having my marriage end is one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had. In addition to the standard amount of awfulness that comes with a breakup, people with borderline personality disorder tend to experience the pain far worse. We go through a breakup whilst also trying to manage our daily symptoms and traits.
I didn’t know how I was going to be able to let my life grow around this grief.
This breakup occurred during the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (as crooned by Andy Williams), whilst starting a new job and with my grandad sadly passing away. Three major life events taking place within a three-week timeframe would rock anyone’s boat. For me, someone with BPD, the boat was rocked, capsized and sinking at an increasingly rapid rate.
The abandonment issues that come with BPD mean that being alone is incredibly difficult. Not ideal during a breakup. You start thinking and thinking leads to long, painful, sleepless nights. If you do fall asleep, it’s alone next to the cold side of the bed, and then you wake up alone with the cold side of the bed even colder. More often than not, you dream of what once was, and everything in that dream is golden and glimmering. Then you wake up and remember that everything is dull and grey instead. You’ll want to do anything to fill that empty space next to you. You’ll want to fill it with those unsafe impulsive behaviours we all know about. Anything to help you feel like how you were — regardless of how pained you’ll feel after the temporary relief.
The heartbreak from the breakup was so much bigger than “feeling sad”. I was grieving for the life I had and the love that I had. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to let my life grow around this grief. I felt like the only reprieve from the pain was to stop it permanently. So I overdosed on my meds. Not enough to do anything but enough to flag a cause for concern. I was discharged into my parent's care with no follow-up from a mental health team.
The boat was rocked, capsized and sinking at an increasingly rapid rate.
I took it upon myself to fill the empty space and the temptation of those unsafe behaviours with distractions. I've picked up my ukulele and properly played it for the first time in around five years. I’ve met up regularly with friends who have been the most amazing support network. I’ve started bullet journalling to keep track of my sleeping habits and moods, accompanied by overpriced-but-nice-to-look-at washi tape. I’ve dyed my hair a new colour and got some new tattoos and can feel The Old Rosie coming back.
I’ve also started DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) at £65 a pop, as I don’t qualify for it through the NHS. I’ve also just forked out £350 for a six week wait list for a psychiatric assessment to get me on the right mood-stabilising medication. If I didn’t spend the £350 on this, it would be a two year wait to get this through the NHS. And, let’s be honest, the likelihood of me still being here in two years' time without this assessment is about 12%, so I might as well have that rather than an Easter mini-break!
I can feel The Old Rosie coming back.
Good Friday marked 100 days since everything ended and changed. In those 100 days, I’ve felt the lowest I think I’ll ever feel. Where I couldn’t eat or sleep or do anything other than barely exist. But I’ve also had good days. And I’m now having more good days than bad. Even when I don’t have plans or distractions, those good days are still happening.
I used to get so irritated when I’d be given the well-meaning “it gets better” spiel by friends and family because I honestly didn’t think it would. It’s not better yet, but it’s getting better.
I’m getting better.
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