Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? (Philippians 2:1)

 

While in hospital in 2015, my psychiatrist determined that I had features of borderline personality disorder (BPD). The diagnosis was made on the basis of the anger and fear of rejection I was displaying. Those who knew me well, even my counselors and my husband, believed this to be the case as well.

Yes, I had been feeling anger for years, especially because of the stigma of mental illness. That’s what resulted in my becoming an activist. Isn’t anger natural when a person sees injustice? It’s anger that motivates a person to change the status quo. Even Jesus became angry when he witnessed the wrongs he saw around him.

And the rejection? Yes, I feared rejection. But I did not only fear it. Rejection had, in fact, been a cruel reality for me in the year or two before coming into hospital.  It was the reason I had tried to take my life.

And I wondered. Are these experiences a valid cause for giving me a diagnosis of BPD? Especially when the condition is so heavily stigmatized? I wondered too. Do all activists have BPD? Did Jesus have BPD?

But I have come to believe that most personality disorders have more than one facet. My psychiatrist told me that I only had features of borderline. (although most who heard my diagnosis unfortunately assumed I had all) Many features of my personality are positive in nature. I’m generous, love to help others, and I love Jesus and want to follow him to the best of my ability.

When I think of other kinds of personality disorder, the same may very well be true. I don’t believe that personalities that carry negative connotations are necessarily wholly that way. I don’t think God created any of us to be all black or all white. All dirty or all pure. We were created by God and, as a friend always says, “God doesn’t make junk.”

Can we help the way we’ve turned out? I don’t think so.

It will be easier to forgive others and ourselves if we could take into account why we are the way we are. The causes of personality disorders can be a genetic  predisposition or environmental. Personality disorders  are usually formed during childhood. Often it’s because a child’s needs aren’t met. Although most parents do their best when raising their children, not every parent is equipped to know how to serve every need. And so, is anyone to blame?

The personalities we have can cause us to be good or bad. They can help or hinder, hurt or heal, build or destroy. Many – or most – of us have features in our personality that could benefit from improvement. Is there hope for behaviors we can’t help that have been drawn to our attention? If we want to work at it, I believe God can help us overcome a lot of our shortcomings.

Have a good look at our Creator God. Look at his power, his goodness, his love. Find a time to be quiet and come to him. No rushing! Focus on his characteristics. Think of all he is. Feel the love he has for his children, including you. Embrace his spirit, Let it become a part of who you are and invite him to come with you wherever you go.

marja