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Mental Health

Borderline Personality Disorder: Living With a Mental Illness During a Global Pandemic

Emotions have always been an extremely difficult thing for me to control. One minute I’m happy, the next can be an unsettling sensation of pain. My emotions are uncontrollable, like I’m riding on a constant rollercoaster, completely unaware of the next drop. It can happen so suddenly that I shake uncontrollably, sending my body into a panic. And the worst part of living with borderline personality disorder is that calming down is something that my body rarely allows me to do.

The intensity that these mood swings bring have put a huge toll on almost every relationship in my life. How am I supposed to explain to someone that I have no control over my emotions or behavior? That I need constant reassurance of love. That I can be the happiest person in the world one minute, and the next feel absolutely empty. I’ve always viewed myself as a person who is incapable of being loved. My entire life has been controlled by fears that I thought I had no control over.

I allowed my mental health to dictate almost every decision in my life. 

When the global pandemic hit in March, I was forced to become isolated in my home as a way to help stop the spread of the virus. The mandatory quarantine that was placed in my town horrified me. I live with my grandparents and brother, three people who are very independent. I spent my time during quarantine isolated in my bedroom. I was left alone with nothing to do, except drown in my own self doubt. I allowed my emotions to take control and keep me isolated from the outside world. My four-year relationship with my high school sweetheart started to waste away. I stopped accepting his FaceTime calls, stopped replying to his texts and eventually cut off all communication with him. At one point, my grandma attempted to ask why I hadn't left my room, but of course I pushed her away as well. My days were an endless repetitive cycle of ignoring the outside world, watching Netflix, and sleeping.  [bf_image id="ttc3gq93h95mff26hhck"]

Unfortunately, that wasn’t even the worst part. It seemed as if all emotions I’ve ever had faded away. I lost any motivation I had to even keep in contact with my mom, my dad, and my friends. I stopped feeding my dogs, leaving that up to my older brother. I stopped eating, occasionally going downstairs for a glass of water. I struggled with maintaining healthy relationships previously, but the pandemic caused me to become the absolute worst version of myself. I had seen therapists as a child, struggling with my parent’s divorce, but the new feeling of worthlessness was something that I was unfamiliar with. Hence, my drastic downfall. 

I pushed away the one person I loved most in this world. 

Fast forward to mid April, I decided that enough is enough. I woke up on a Wednesday morning feeling determined. I knew I needed to mend all the relationships I let fade away, but first I needed to help myself. I went through my health care provider and began doing over-the-phone therapy sessions. Due to the pandemic, I figured this to be the best and safest way to get the help I so desperately needed. I had one hour Zoom sessions with my therapist twice a week, during half the month of April and the entire month of May. From then, I began seeing my therapist in her office once a week. My therapist diagnosed me with what I thought was depression, as Borderline Personality Disorder. According to Mayo Clinic, BPD is a disorder that affects your mental state by causing intense mood swings, unstable behavior, feelings of worthlessness, and causes a pattern of unstable relationships. My diagnosis was like a wave of guilt being lifted off my shoulders. A sense of self realisation came over me, since this was not my fault. [bf_image id="xnxbv9rp4vb7fc7ff3nzt8rg"]

I was no longer allowing my mental health to hold power over me.

The month is now October, and although I still experience sporadic mood swings and states of depressive thoughts, I’m being treated. My disorder no longer holds power over me. I’ve mended most relationships, including my relationship with my boyfriend. The two of us are actually stronger than before. My therapy sessions taught me to put myself and my emotions first, while making sure to let the people I love know that none of this is their fault. I’ve learned to communicate with those around me, rather than push them away in times of instability or insecurity. 

I am worthy enough to be loved and to accept love from others. 

What I hope for everyone to gain from my experience with mental health is that you are not alone and nothing is your fault. I am in no way an expert on dealing with mental health disorders, nor telling you how to cope with feelings of uneasiness. I am simply sharing my personal experience with Borderline Personality Disorder in hopes of spreading awareness to something that can be treated with the proper care and support. I encourage anyone feeling like this to seek professional help and avoid self diagnosing. Each and every one of you are loved and capable of overcoming your worst demons.

kenzie boney

UC Irvine '22

Kenzie is a third year Literary Journalism major with a passion for fashion and bringing light to mental health disorders. She enjoys writing poetry and playing with her two dogs, Penelope and Kingston. She hopes to pursue a career in journalism and write for a magazine!
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