The Diagnosis that explained and destroyed.
In fact, everything I have ever done hasn't actually been me. It has been a symptom of my mental disease.
At 15 years old, you're supposed to think you're some brand of perfection. Some amazing creature that, while going through all these awkward changes and teenage nonsense, will emerge this beautiful, wonderful person.
Not me. At 15 years old, having gone through a child-hood and my first few years of teen-dom in chaos, I was sat down by my therapist, with my anxious parents next to me to hear the words that explained everything, and destroyed my hopes and dreams in one fell swoop.
Borderline Personality Disorder.
Everything else fades into the background as that one diagnosis is explained. And suddenly my life shifts. It's filled with a search for a new therapist, books my mother frantically reads in order to gain some understanding of her permanently damaged child. The face of my world is forever changed. I will never be 'normal'.
This is a horrific fate to someone who has always wanted to be universally accepted, wanted to be embraced for her unique ideals and thoughts, and wanted to be encouraged in her whimsical plans and habits. All of these, I found out in those first few months, are a common part of Borderline. In fact, everything I have ever done hasn't actually been me. It has been a symptom of my mental disease.
Talk about a blow to your already fragile sense of identity, not to mention originality. I wasn't a unique human being anymore. I was part of a collective. I was part of a terminal disease. Mine just happened to be in the way my mind worked.
Those first few months, which turned in to years, of therapy were the worst. Homework. Books. Hours spent reading and writing and looking into the reasons for my behavior.
Everything about me that seemed different was suddenly, and harshly explained in medical terms. Those formative years are by far the worst time to learn of something so world-shattering, because by the end of it, I was sure whoever I was, surely no longer exsisted, and in fact had never been real at all. I was a badly written character in a horrible story.
My ritual of release, the act of taking emotional pain and turning it physical had a new name. "Self-mutilation", one of the cornerstone symptoms of Borderline. My behavior towards my parents, my family in general, broken down into "splitting", or "I-Hate-You-Don't-Leave-Me." And strangest of all to my teenage mind, "unstable interpersonal realtionships". Three words that took all of my pain and turned it into what felt like a science project.
Living with Borderline, no matter your age, is harrowing and painful and frustrating. Finding out that most people don't get diagnosed with it until they're at least 18, is a little unsettling. Hearing from someone that it's not like depression, it doesn't ever go away...is heart breaking.
"Here, let me put it in a way you'll understand better. Most depression is like a cold. It comes and goes, but you get better from it with the right treatments. And when it comes back, its different than before. Never exactly the same thing. Borderline, or any personality disorder, is more like cancer. Very rarely, and only some few personality disorders, have a 'cure', most only have treatments. It will never go away, it doesn't get fixed, in fact you should expect to have relaspes, and that hospital visits are likely. You will most likely be Borderline for the rest of your life."
In less than five minutes, my world went from a series of infinate possibilies to a narrow path that I'll be fighting with for the rest of my life. What does that even mean to a 15 year old? At 21, I'm still not even sure what the rest of my life means.
It's been six years since I found out that my life will be filled with irrational mood swings, uncontrollable fits of anger, crushing depression, whimsical flitting from one thing to the next, self-injury, lack of a sense of identity, unstable relationships, and an emptiness that will never, ever go away.
So far, their predictions are dead on. I've spent those six years struggling to find myself, to link myself with my own past. I've fought to make and maintain relationship with friends, family, and even romantically.
Six years of finding a path to tread, and changing my mind abruptly when I fall out of love with whichever ideas I'd just had.
Six years of having to be ashamed of my own weakness as I admit to another bout of self-harm. Six years of violent anger, and depression so crushing I can't get out of bed, I can't make myself shower, and some days I can't even make myself eat.
A quarter of my life with an emptiness so deep, so dark, so huge that I cannot escape it. Because I don't even know who I am.
Does that seem odd, to read? That someone who is 21 years old has absolutly no idea who she is...
I've found some great comfort in certain things. The British show "Doctor Who" is one of them. In the second season of 'New Who' the Doctor regenerates, and he goes on this rant of how he doesn't know who he is. He literally doesn't know who he is. That is a feeling I know all too well.
Music helps, because when I don't know what I'm supposed to be feeling, I can sometimes find an answer in the music around me, or I can take cues from shows, or behavior of others around me.
My boyfriend of three years prides himself of his acting skills, but there is a part of me that kind of pities him. After all, Borderliners are the greatest actors of all. So often do I not know how I should be feeling, that I simply take a cue from someone around me and I can mimic relationships, friendships, desireable traits and behaviors to perfection.
The one thing I always wish people could understand is that no matter how hard I fight with it, no matter how long of a break I seem to have, I don't know when it's going to change. I don't have any idea that it is changing. Afterall, to me, Borderline is normal. It is how I am naturally.
I've learned, through difficult years of therapy and coping, what it means to 'fit in' to the best of my ability. I've managed to make it this far by creating a routine for myself. Even now that I'm out of school. I have things I do every day, and they put a semblence of structure into my life. If every day I spend an hour reading, if every day I watch 2 movies, if every day I text my boyfriend, call my mom, wash the dishes, do the laundry, find in each and every day something that links it to the yesterdays gone by then I have something to link me to a history that half the time I can't even remember if I try to.
I live each day in a free fall. When I feel depressed, I can't remember what it feels like to be happy. When I'm angry, I can't imagine ever being calm again. When I'm hurt, or betrayed, I swear I will never trust again because time will neve heal these wounds.
I cannot recall my past on a whim. I remember my life through a series of snap shots and triggers that will release the memory long enough for me to figure out that it is me, that I am real, before its locked away again and that memory is a faint impression of light in the darkness of my mind.
I am a series of snapshot, sound bytes and freeze frames from my past. I am a compilation of emotions that make utterly no sense. I am a creation of every emotion I've projected onto other people, every feeling I have ever seen, every attempt I've ever failed at.
I am the mold of every hand that has ever touched me, I am the collage that everyone has added to, I am every name I have ever been called, every persona that has ever been given to me. I am every shade of personality that people have offered up to me. I am like a shadow. I do not exist without the combination of 2 entities.
I am a piece of everyone's story, a minor character that is there for a moment, but leaves no serious impression, no taste in your mouth, no fleeting moment of surprise.
I am a 21 year old who was given the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder 6 years about when I was 15.
I am a daughter and a sister, a surrogate aunt, a girlfriend, a best friend, an enemy and rival. I'm a friend when you need and I'm a host to a multiplicity.
But I couldn't tell you, for the life of me, who I am.