This post is part of our series of accounts by experts by experience. Roberta Payne wrote about schizophrenia and outsider art in December, and Ellen White about OCD in January. Today Aimee Wilson tells us about BPD.
So, to think of positives sounded like a good challenge.
When I was diagnosed with BPD, the diagnostic criteria were to have at least five of nine possible symptoms, and it was widely agreed by professionals that I had all nine. So, I will break this post up into each symptom and it’s positives:
Unstable mood: The depths of depression make me all the more grateful for my happiness and good moods. It means I make the most of the time when I feel good by taking all of the opportunities that come my way.
Stress-related hallucinations: Seeing rabbits and hearing voices, has given me empathy for those who have psychosis. I am also in a better position with my new job as an Independent Skills Developer for Blind Veterans UK because often those with limited sight, see things which are not there as their brain powers to fill in the gaps.
Self-damaging behaviour: My cuts and the subsequent scars, have allowed others to have a tiny glimpse into my pain.
Impulsivity: Doing positive things on impulse has led to some amazing experiences, and doing negative things, has taught me lessons.
Unstable relationships: Have meant that the friendships I make and the relationships I maintain, mean that much more to me and the effort I choose to put into them, makes them that bit more special.
Feelings of emptiness: Have taught me not to rely on others to feel ‘complete.’ It is hand-made by yourself.
Fear of abandonment: Have meant that I have protected myself against potentially devastating blows when a relationship has ended or the person has died.
Unstable sense of self: This, has resulted in me going on an incredibly powerful ‘journey’ to learn who I am and what my values are. Making me a stronger person when my morals or actions are questioned.
Intense anger: When used in a positive way, has given me incredible physical strength in times of need and a determination to no longer be my abuser’s ‘victim.’
P.S. I think it’s worth mentioning that I am perhaps able to see these positives because I am in recovery, and so, if you have BPD and are reading this; I’m not surprised if you’re sat there thinking ‘how the hell can this girl find anything good in this illness?’ Because, a while ago; I would’ve thought the same thing if confronted with this post! My point is, you’ll get there. Please keep going and come through the other side to see the positives.