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On the Border of BPD (A reader shares a personal tryst with Borderline Personality Disorder)

When you’re 19 you think you’re invincible. Turns out, you’re not. And the best part, no one tells you this while you’re growing up and then when certain instances in your life change your entire worldview you’re left helpless and lost, unable to seek help.

One such life-altering instance also happened in the life of my friend. She had a difficult

childhood, always longing for a healthy and happy family but never was lucky enough to

receive such a space. Growing up she tried her best to be like others, to feel as normal as possible at school, at play because once she went home she would have to face her unpleasant reality. Growing up, when I met her in college she was a happy-go- lucky girl, a good orator and we got along very well. Gradually, we started having small arguments, I noticed frequent mood changes in her, she would get angry with me very easily and often because she felt that I am not fond of her anymore, or that our other friends don’t like her as much as she likes them. In the beginning I would heed to such doubts but there came a point where I had had enough. I was tired of being investigated and asked to prove my loyalty towards her, I was fed up of constant threats of harm she said she would inflict onto herself if I do not assure her of my affection for her and then there came a time when we, meaning mostly I ceased all contact.

Now the only contact left between us was through her social media posts. I would often come across posts of her with these new friends of hers, going out and having a good time almost every day. She even got a new tattoo which we decided I would come along with. I saw multiple shades of her personality change through my Instagram and just assumed she had moved on and probably our lives were better apart.

Later, at a common friend’s party I overheard a conversation wherein I got to know that she had been in and out of the hospital multiple times and I wonder what had happened this time, given her stormy childhood. I decided to visit her and found out that she had been seeking psychiatric help. I decided to speak with her after all these years. I felt like she could use a friend. Although, I ran a risk of having a repeated episode of her clinginess and unstable emotionality but I tread on. Upon conversation with her I learnt she had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. At first I was shocked, what do they mean by a personality disorder? Is it that she has a deficit personality or just a bad one? Did they mean she needs to entirely change herself to have a healthy life? When I googled it came up with all sorts of bizarre information which did not feel quite right. So I decided to have a chat with her therapist, after all she had been my closest friend in college and now she needed my help. Turns out, none of my doubts were true. She did have borderline personality disorder but the

therapist explained to me that it meant she struggled with her emotions and has a tendency to be impulsive. It just meant that she needed guidance managing her frequently changing emotions, her sudden anger outbursts and her fear of being left alone by people she held dear. She also explained to me that all her seemingly erratic behaviour was only so because it came out of certain problems she had been facing as a part of this disorder. But the therapist also reassured me that despite the struggles these individuals face, therapy is one way they can improve.

After listening to all of this, I learnt that my best friend has a personality disorder. I also

learnt that it does not mean she has a bad personality or she can’t handle herself. It just means she needs help with managing her emotions and her fears and I decided I want to be of help. I just recalled the numerous Instagram posts I’d see of her having a good time and I broke down thinking I’d read her wrong all along. I forgot how her posts are no guarantee of her happiness and vowed myself to be there for her from now on and help her and myself understand this disorder better.

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