“You are capable of loving and being loved” – Alexandra’s story

20/05/2024

A stock photo and alias has been used on this blog at the request of the author.

For BPD (borderline personality disorder) Awareness Day, Alexandra shares some key lessons she has learnt whilst in recovery. She encourages practicing self-compassion and acceptance to overcome stigma and live a more fulfilling life.

BPD (borderline personality disorder) has been a part of my life for 12 years and it has been a very turbulent relationship. However, after a few years, I came to realise that it wasn’t the diagnosis I despised, but the stigma that came with it. 

At first, I chose to stay oblivious to the diagnosis and didn’t want to read the brochures or listen to what the Doctors had to say. That denial stage would creep up from time to time and it wasn’t healthy. Then, when I chose to take notice, it turned into obsession and I stumbled upon the not-so-helpful online resources where the stigma lives. If you want to better understand BPD, please stick to reputable resources and support.

My biggest word of advice is: try not to analyse yourself through the lens of the diagnosis, instead try to understand yourself better with the support available. I remember writing down and analysing all my thoughts and feelings, then I’d write “BPD” – “Hormones” – “Me” and I would draw an arrow to try and understand where it came from. This was not healthy and the wrong way of looking at things.

I can say with confidence that I am recovering, but I didn’t used to believe it was possible. The reason I choose the word recovering instead of recovered is that I need to keep up the skills and tools but also accept that tough times will still happen.

  • It wasn’t the diagnosis I despised, but the stigma that came with it. 

Lessons learnt from living with BPD:

  1. Acceptance is a much bigger step than you may think. A huge portion of the last 12 years has been spent in denial, constantly chasing another diagnosis. I wasn’t always in denial, but the cycle always brought it back around. With each moment of denial came a huge delay to recovery.

  2. BPD is ever-changing and will adapt and grow with you. My symptoms present themselves differently over the years and it was most challenging in the earlier years. I didn’t know that at the time, so I let the BPD control me and I felt weak against its “power”, helpless because it was here forever… but that was not true.

  3. You are not broken or cursed, you are capable of loving and being loved and you can achieve anything you put your mind to. I have a husband, a home, a child and a full-time job which are all things I used to feel like I wasn’t worthy or capable of. It was achieved with tiny steps and there are still difficult days, but reflection is absolutely key. You need to try and be patient with yourself.

  4. DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy) and professional support saved my life. It took me a long time to understand that it was there to help me not hinder me, rebelling against it was a form of self-sabotage and I am not super-human so I do need support. DBT is another thing that I thought would be forever, but that also isn’t true. It is always there to support you when you need it, but it is designed to give you the tools to cope and manage.

  5. Recovery is a journey. It doesn’t happen over-night and BPD doesn’t just disappear, but keeping up recovery gives you access to the life you deserve and are worthy of. Nothing is harder than caving in and letting the BPD control you.

I am here for you BPD warriors. You are stronger than your thoughts and I can absolutely promise you that, because I can still get them from time to time, but I know and have witnessed what life can be like so I’ve seen that those voices aren’t truthful.

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