It can be difficult to think positive when you have a mental illness, and it’s especially difficult to think positively about your mental illness. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) has affected me for as long as I can remember, and it seems like it’s all been in negative ways. My self-esteem, relationships and moods have all taken hits from my BPD, and sometimes that is all I can think about.
But, on my worst days with BPD, I try to remember the unexpected benefits of my illness, and the best parts of BPD. It’s true that having BPD makes it hard for me to regulate my emotions and control my actions in both positive and negative situations. When having an argument with my partner, I may overreact and threaten to end the relationship without even meaning to. On the flip side, when having a heartfelt conversation with my partner, I may express my intense love for that person. BPD allows me to love harder than most people, and I see that as a definite plus. And though it’s hard to regulate my emotions, I am grateful I am able to experience deeper emotions than most people. Yes, sometimes those emotions are bad. But I choose to accept the bad ones so that I can experience the good ones.
Along with experiencing my own emotions intensely, I am empathetic toward others and am able to feel what they are feeling, too. This allows me to form close bonds with others and offer genuine advice when I’m asked for it. BPD allows me to be passionate about the bonds I have with other people, instead of being a friend only when it is convenient for me. I am also compassionate when it comes to other people and animals, and go out of my way to help them and express my love for them, even when I don’t help or love myself.
Some people may see that as a flaw, but I see it as a benefit of having BPD.
Having BPD makes me overly sensitive to a lot of things. My surroundings and my emotions are intensified because of my BPD. This means I can see and appreciate the little things in life; the soft texture of a rose petal, the feelings behind a painting in a museum and the taste of something as small as a chocolate chip. I am sensitive, also, to people’s comments and opinions about me, which can sometimes put me in a bad place. But again, I accept the bad in order to experience the good. I am overly sensitive to criticism, yes, but I am also sensitive when it comes to someone saying they love me, or when someone compliments me, and to me, that is good.
In order to live happily with my BPD, I force myself to see and feel the best parts of it. In order to survive my BPD, I have to remain positive and encourage those close to see my BPD in a positive way, too. If I let every fight, every bad decision and every sensitive moment control my life, I will never be happy. I choose happiness, and I choose to pick out the best parts of BPD, and accept the bad ones for what they are.