Cross with purple flowers for web

I’ve let a bunch of you know of my BPD, something most people with such an illness would not reveal. I do so because BPD, unlike what people think, is in itself not a shameful illness. And so, I’m not going to be ashamed to talk openly with you. Why should a person be ashamed of having an illness she cannot help? An illness caused by the actions of another person, sometimes during childhood, sometimes during other stages of life. Actions that hurt deeply.

What does cause me shame is the way I respond to the pain: unintentional inappropriate behavior, uncontrollable anger when I feel unjustly treated, over-sensitivity to rejection, problems with relationships.

After my recent diagnosis I looked back at my life and could see how some of these features have been with me for years. I can also see how more full-blown problems have appeared over the past two or three years. It seems to have started during a period of poor physical and mental health. I suffered many losses during this time.

My poor health and BPD were indirectly responsible for having to give up the  leadership of an important ministry that I had founded, the loss of a good friendship, and leaving a church I had loved and where I had received much support.

Starting around the time my health issues became a problem, I started being treated poorly by someone who I cared about and who had been important to me. I felt betrayed and deeply hurt by the person’s repeated insensitivity and disrespect through words and actions. The result? Almost daily flashbacks of things this person had said and done to me. Each flashback caused depression and difficulty functioning for hours after. At times the pain was so unbearable I looked for ways to escape it, considering suicide. I wondered why I was being treated like this. What had I done? What was wrong with me? The pain has not gone away and I doubt that it will ever go away completely.

And I wonder: To what extent has this been to blame for the increased effects of this illness on my life?

But there’s a good side to everything. Things aren’t all bad. I’m getting weekly counseling to help me overcome my problems with BPD and its fallout.  The counseling is helping me learn to live with it. I’m writing more than I ever have before. God is teaching me much through what I’ve experienced and what I continue to experience. I’m gathering wisdom about life that I might not have had if life were easy, understandings that I now share with others who struggle.

Yes, it’s an awful illness. It’s hard to live with and can cause damage. But there’s much hope too.

I invite you who understand what BPD is, to join with me in sharing what you have learned. Where have you found hope?