Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.
For many, Facebook can be a great way to connect with loved ones and keep up with people you don’t get to see all the time. In a lot of ways, it can be a supportive place to share what’s going on in your life.
But sometimes, you want to post something online you don’t want everyone on your Facebook friends list to see. Sometimes, you want people to know you are struggling, but don’t want to invite judgment in when you’re feeling at your most vulnerable.
This is a feeling many people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) have experienced. It can be hard to open up online when you fear being called “dramatic” or “attention seeking.”
We wanted to know what people with borderline personality disorder want to post on Facebook, but feel like they can’t, so we asked our Mighty community to share one photo they wish they could post about their BPD. It’s important to remember BPD looks different for each person who experiences it. Whatever way your BPD manifests, you deserve to talk about it. We hope these photos let you know you are not alone in your struggle.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. “This is a picture I saved of a side by side. These pictures were taken roughly seven hours apart. The left is in the evening after sobbing for an hour about just the heavy feelings all the time and the right is earlier that day right after a great job interview. I felt so good about myself, and then I felt so unbelievably awful.” — Allegra H.
2. “This is the photo I wish I could share on Facebook but can’t. This is just a fraction of what trying to find the right medication combination looks like. It’s a long, frustrating game of trial and error. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) may be the gold standard for treating BPD, but medication can also be used to treat it along with comorbid disorders. I also have major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and potentially depersonalization/derealization disorder. Needless to say, I’m on a lot of medications — five at present. I wish I could share this to let people know that while I may not be making much progress, I’m fighting for my life here and these are some of my best weapons.” — Vanessa L.
3. “Impulse control is a major issue with borderline personality disorder, and so it shouldn’t be surprising that one of the ways it has exhibited itself throughout my life is with trichotillomania, which is an impulse control disorder that often coincides with anxiety and personality disorders. I have dealt with it most of my life, and though it has most often affected my facial hair, it has also required me to wear new and interesting hair styles over the years in order to hide the bald spots.” — A.S. Minor
4. “My friends and I are all in a group chat on Whatsapp. Constantly posting selfies of fun things we are up to… At a music concert, out for dinner, getting takeaways… All those everyday things. I was at a follow up meeting at a psychiatry ward after being admitted for attempted suicide a few weeks previously and was feeling quite bitter that day (none of my friends at that time knew what I was going through) I felt like just posting the photo in the chat and letting them all know… but I never did.” — Jane B.
5. “I created this picture when I was feeling really down and depressed, with no sense of direction and sense of being. I wanted a visual representation of how some of the BPD symptoms can make me feel. Empty. Distorted. Alone. Unrecognizable. Depressed. I want to people to understand the reality of this disorder, but I’m too afraid to share it sometimes. I don’t want to seem attention seeking, exaggerating or negative. But this is truly the reality of the disorder, and I should be able to speak of it without stigma.” — Kellyann N.
6. “This is a comparison of two separate parts of my life — one where I’m high and happy and jolly the other where I’m low, very tearful and very suicidal. Why won’t I put this on social media? Foremost the stigma, people thinking I’m looking for attention, I look ugly and I wouldn’t want to be friends with someone that is that low on a regular basis. So that’s where photo two comes in. I’m trying to secretly hide exactly what I’m feeling in photo one.” — Patrice O.
7. “This is the day I was fighting the hardest. I had suicidal thoughts, and I hadn’t slept for two days… I was desperate to die. I had taken this picture, and I remember looking at it and thinking, I don’t like look like I am fighting for my own life. And that thought was very haunting. Most people only see the cheerful person I am. Because battles like these were always hidden. This was a meltdown in place. This picture came after hours of crying. Which is why this picture is so haunting… It’s because none of that is seen here.” — Maha D.
8. “The picture kinda speaks for itself… I’d somehow misplaced my medication for about a couple weeks. My BPD is comorbid with depression and ADHD, and without my meds, I quickly started feeling as though I was ‘losing it.’ I had too much nervous energy, I couldn’t think straight.” — Sissi C.
9. “This tattoo saved my life. ‘Jurassic Park’ is my favorite film because it was my escape as a child when bad things were happening to me. I want to post this photo but don’t out of fear for people’s reactions to my scars.” — Courtney F.
10. “I wish I could post this. I would be called overly dramatic. But I just want someone to catch a glimpse into how trapped I feel at times. How lonely BPD is and the affect it has [on me] to not have a support system.” — Julissa S.
11. “I took this selfie from bed one day. I like to remind myself of how I’m feeling and I was feeling pretty good that day, but I lack in the strength to do more than get up daily and do what needs to be done for others and I forget about myself usually. This picture kind of reminds me that I’m absent minded and my thoughts are everywhere. I haven’t had the strength mentally to remind myself to shower in days. My thoughts are everywhere. BPD keeps me bouncing everywhere and I don’t want to share my unkempt look on Facebook for the world to judge when I spend plenty of time judging myself.” — Traci S.
12. “Social anxiety killed me this week, but I still coached a soccer camp. BPD will not beat me.”
13. “This is a screenshot of a conversation between and old friend and I. I’ve wanted to share it on Facebook and haven’t. I want people to know how much I am hurting that another friend has decided to walk away from a friendship with me because they don’t understand the struggles that come along with multiple chronic illnesses (BPD, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome). Because they don’t believe how deeply these things affect me, because me sharing my struggles with it at times via Facebook brings them down, or they assume I’m attention seeking. Because its easier for them to walk away rather than take the time to understand.” — Sarah C.
14. “I want to share this picture on Facebook with people because I want people to understand just how intense my emotions get. This picture was taken right after I was told I was being overdramatic. I know it’s difficult for those who don’t have BPD to understand just how intense emotions can get for those [who are struggling], but just because you don’t understand how much pain I’m in doesn’t mean I’m being dramatic. It just means I feel more intensely than them.” — Katie C.
15. “I didn’t know it at the time of this picture, but this would be the night that would change my life, the night I would try to take my own life in a totally impulsive swing… Internally I was screaming to stop, but externally I just couldn’t get myself to. This was my stepping stone. This was when I decided to reach out for help with my BPD.” — James S.
16. “These are the pictures I would like to post, but don’t. It is what I look like when the dark thoughts take over… I am more than just smiling selfies. I am all these things. I am black and white and everything in between. Can you see me? How could I show you this side of me? Will you hate me? Pity me? Judge me? I am to scared to find out.” — Mijenou M.
17. “I dare not show this face and these pictures except only to one person because I’m so raw from people’s criticisms, invalidation and manipulation.” — Mariah G.
18. “My mood can change so fast and there are days [when] I just can’t. I can’t get out of bed, I can’t function and I feel like I can’t even be around people. This picture was taken in the hospital before I was officially diagnosed with BPD, but was taken when I was having a day that the symptoms were really bad. BPD makes you want to just give up some days.” — Justine M.
19. “[This is a screenshot] of a short five second video I want to post on social media, but can’t. My battle with borderline personality disorder has been no less than a train wreck recently. This video was sent to my closest [friends] through Snapchat while I was having yet another suicidal breakdown, almost fully ready to end it there and then. The next morning, I had no choice but to act like nothing bad had happened. The reason why I want to post this video is to clear a blatant misconception that many people have of a mental illness… But for most people with BPD like myself, confidence, leadership and other qualities come through easily and we end up projecting this idea of false ‘happiness’ into the surrounding world. I happen to be the most spontaneous, jolly, loud and comical person my friends could know and so when I break down like this, hardly anyone believes in my essentially, to-the-core-flawed brain.” — Fatima N.
20. “I am currently living with BPD and as an artist, sometimes photography is the only outlet that can truly soothe me. I will take self-portraits displaying my current emotions or feelings, but sometimes they are too emotional to post. I feel I may be judged or labeled as ‘attention seeking’ as they are generally not very happy portraits.” — Katherine V.