- Before I start, I would like to say, please do not self-diagnose or diagnose others, as it is extremely insensitive to those who are clinically diagnosed and struggle daily. There are certain criteria that need to be met for a clinical diagnosis. If you suspect you may have a mental illness, please seek help and guidance from a licensed mental health practitioner. -
I am not scared. I am not scared to reveal my mental illnesses. They are very real and very present in my life. Even though they are not me, they are still a large part of me and who I am.
My name is Kasidy Bidelspacher and I have a mental illness called borderline personality disorder, otherwise known as BPD. I am not scared to say that I have this mental illness, but I am terrified of what it does to me. I am not going to sugar coat this illness, because in no way should any illness ever be sugar-coated, especially one as serious as this. It affects my mood, my relationships, my emotions, my impulsivity levels, my actions, and how I feel about myself.
I was diagnosed with BPD when I turned 18. I had been in therapy for five years at this time, and I was given this diagnosis from the agreement between my therapist and psychiatrist. Rarely are individuals ever diagnosed with this earlier than age 18 or adulthood.
I remember receiving this diagnosis and not knowing what it meant. I had been clinically diagnosed with major depressive disorder since I was 13, and was not prepared to receive another one years later, let alone two more. Along with being diagnosed with BPD during this visit, I was also diagnosed with PTSD, or posttraumatic-stress disorder. I remember feeling as if I was in a haze, and I did not really understand what this meant for me. I left the appointment and immediately started researching both diagnoses. The one that stood out to me was BPD. I had already heard about PTSD before, and had background knowledge on it, but knew very little about BPD.
I researched so much about it because I wanted to better understand myself and my behavior. At first, I thought the diagnosis was a mistake; I wished for it to be a mistake, but after reading a lot about it, I realized that it explained much of my thoughts and my behavior. Individuals with BPD struggle with instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and emotional regulation. Many individuals with BPD struggle with suicidal thoughts and tendencies, a severe fear of abandonment, and suffer from self-harm. I recognized now why I was given the diagnosis, and I was ashamed. I kept the diagnosis a secret from friends and family, afraid they would view me differently if they knew.
For a long time, I kept the diagnosis to myself, but it was eating me alive. I started questioning every motive, action, thought, emotion, and I even started to question my relationship. I saw what I was doing to my relationship and it was not fair to my boyfriend and it was not fair to me. I was so terrified of being abandoned that I would do and say terrible things that really affected my relationship and myself. I said and did things I did not mean, and I did not understand why I could not help myself from doing these things. Being in a romantic relationship is one of the most difficult things for someone with BPD, as the person with the diagnosis is constantly overthinking, sabotaging, and/or self-loathing. It is extremely hard for me to see things for how they are. Instead, I sometimes do something called 'splitting.' This means that I see someone or a situation in all black or all white. There is no middle area. I can either think that a person is the best person in the world and that he or she can never even think of hurting me, or I do not and will not give a person an ounce of trust. Also, if a person does something that I see as threatening, my view of that person can change instantly. This is a defense mechanism so that I cannot be hurt. It feels like a constant battle in my head. I know that what I am feeling or thinking is incorrect and not likely, but I cannot bring myself to stop.
After so much time of self-loathing, crying, hating, loving, anger, sadness, emptiness and hopelessness...I was exhausted. It was absolutely exhausting always being terrified and always being on guard or defensive. After some personal development and growth, I have been able to manage myself bit by bit. I am able to recognize when my thoughts are because of my BPD, and I can figure out how to filter them. I still have moments of loss of control, but they are fewer and fewer. Receiving that diagnosis helped me to better understand what I was going through and how to help myself.
Growing up, I have had many people tell me that it would be best if I kept my history of mental illness to myself, but I refuse to pretend that this is not something I have to deal with every single day of my life. I will not pretend that I do not go through what I go through. I am not keeping this a secret because it does not need to be. So many people are affected by mental illnesses and so many are confused and do not know how to manage it. I have gone through way too much to be quiet about my constant battle, and I am here to support others through theirs.
I am Kasidy Bidelspacher and I have borderline personality disorder, it does not have me.