DIARY: Waking up – again in a place I didn’t think I’d be. Why do I feel like a child, even now? But I’m at peace. Comforted. Secure. The quilt is warm and cozy. If only I could always stay here. But life tells me I must move on. I can’t remain a child forever.


Although borderline personality disorder can be caused by a number of things, a common one is childhood trauma due to neglect, abandonment, and not having basic physical and emotional needs met. This was my kind of childhood.

My upbringing included frequent separation from my parents. I was sick a lot and my mother was too. I suspect this was why I became overly sensitive and insecure, eventually receiving a diagnosis of BPD.

As we sat at dinner one evening, Mom announced that I would have to go away again. I was nine at the time and this would be my third year in a row at an institution where I would spend six weeks receiving care for malnutrition. When my mother told me I had to go, I was so upset that I screamed and hollered and shouted as loud as I could. I didn’t know how else to make her realize this shouldn’t happen.

The institution, though filled with children, was a lonely place for me. I was shy and did not make friends easily. It would be six weeks of virtual isolation and anxiety. Very little individual attention and not much love shown by the staff. This is where I spent what seemed like interminably long weeks at ages seven and eight.

When I responded with such extreme emotion about going yet another time, my parents feared I would make myself sick. Thankfully they were able to have the plans changed. I was sent to a private home in the country instead.

These trips to the institution were not the only occasions when I had to leave home. I had multiple admissions to hospital for a variety of reasons. And on those frequent occasions when my mother was sick, my sisters and I were sent to stay at the homes of family and friends.

As I think back, I realize that my extreme emotional reaction to being sent away was all I could do to let it be known this simply shouldn’t happen. I felt helpless.

Is that where it all started?

My childhood experience reminds me of an occasion not so long ago when something upset me in a similar way. Again I screamed and hollered and shouted as loud as I could. It was all I could do to let it be known that what was happening was wrong. I felt helpless.

This is how it continued.

How tragic that an illness like BPD brings such shame to sufferers! Yet it’s caused by circumstances far beyond their control, at a time when they were young children