Whitewashed walls, dark brown floors, and a little window with barbed wires overlooking the hospital courtyard were my scenery for a week in August 2013. The previous year I moved to California to deal with my diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD).
BPD is a disorder capable of having a ravaging effect on yourself and those around you.
We can err on the side of being loving one minute, then hateful the next. Fearing rejection, we could go to any lengths to avoid it, but our efforts usually leave us more alone than before. We use words like weapons, going for the jugular, then apologising profusely knowing the harm we just caused.
Simultaneously, we destroy our own lives through self-harming tendencies, questioning our sense of self every step of the way.
That summer I stopped sleeping. My mind was racing with anxious, paranoid thoughts of the future. The unknown looked bleak for me and I wanted solidified answers. I took a handful of pills to help me sleep. I went to my counsellor and told him what I had done. Within two hours, I was being wheeled off into the psychiatric ward.
I don’t remember much during my stay. But, I vaguely recollect rooming with a fellow Christian who would write encouraging verses on my bed. Her delirious actions gave me peace during a time where the world felt chaotic.
Pain begets pain, and during those dark hours, I found solace in knowing I was not alone.
That hospital floor was designated for people like myself.
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The heaviest drugs they provided me with wouldn’t sedate me to a place of restfulness. Within a week I was discharged with a heavy prescription of taking 11 pills a day. That was my final psychiatric visit.
After three stints in the psychiatric ward, I made an oath to never enter one again.
I said to myself, “This will not be my story.”
I went back to a place overlooking the pristine ocean in Malibu. Sometimes the prettiest places hold the most destructive souls; beauty can’t save us.
This time I had a little trepidation and a lot more determination. I was going to recover.
It’s been four years and I’m still in the recovery process.
I’ve been through two outpatient programs specializing with BPD, read multiple self-help books, attended countless support groups, and most importantly, connected to my spirituality.
But, I no longer struggle with a tenacious eating disorder that left me jobless or abuse my own flesh with objects. There is a lot more growth in my interpersonal relationships and I’ve become better at committing and following through with things.
I have yet to have another stay at a psychiatric ward.
There are times where I slip back into my destructive states, but I continue to persevere and get back up after I’ve fallen. I believe with any mental health diagnosis the scariest place you can be is where you feel there is a lack of hope.
I refuse to let my hope for freedom dimmer.
Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder has been a journey. There are times where my emotions and fears are still so intense that I have to hold onto the chair I’m sitting on. I hold onto the chair and hysterically cry instead of clinging onto the razor, instead of grasping the bottle, and instead of destroying my soul.
Progress, not perfection, right?
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