Having a mental disorder can be tough and scary, which is why it’s important to have the support of people around you. As someone who is struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder (also known as Emotional Dysregulation disorder), there are certain things I want you to know.
1. It’s not what it looks like
You wouldn’t even know that I carry a burden this heavy if you saw me at the mall, wandering about my favorite store. But there is a big chance that I’m there because I had a gazillion thoughts going through my head and I thought maybe buying a new dress would fix all of it. I was probably crying before I got there and might get another tension headache soon.
2. I won’t always show it, but I live in a constant fear that everybody around me is going to abandon me
Every person close to me is going to leave me one day and never look back. Why? I don’t know. They’re just going to. This is the one fear that never leaves me. It’s always there and not a lot of things can change it. It’s a horrible feeling that makes me feel like I’m going to choke on my own emotions and it sucks.
3. I need you to validate both me and my emotions
I need validation consistently. I need someone to keep telling me that everything that I’m going through, everything that’s happening around me and my reactions toward all of it, is perfectly fine. When I don’t hear these things, I start questioning my worth, which can sometimes lead me to a spiral. Maybe that’s okay too, but I won’t know unless you tell me.
4. Don’t say you understand if you don’t
This is one of things that bothers me the most. You either get what I’m going through or you don’t. I’m fine either way, because I don’t expect everyone to understand something so complex. But don’t say that you’re going to be there and then back out. That’s the worst thing you could do to anybody who’s in need.
5. I’m not looking for attention
Everything that I do is valid in my head—my panic attacks, my breakdowns, my extreme lows. Attention is the last thing I would want in either of these situations. If anything, attention makes me more anxious, and I would rather be left alone when something like this happens. To call this attention-seeking is being disrespectful of the other person.
6. I’m more than just my diagnosis
It’s not what it looks like in your mind. I have a full-time job, friends who love me to death, and a family who’d do anything for me. I like going out and grabbing a couple of drinks before calling it a night, and I love binge-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
I’m just another regular 23-year-old trying to find her place in the world. I hope reading this helps you or someone you know. Together, let’s make this world a better place for people who struggle with similar things and need our support.