THE BEAST By Shehrina Rooney

To the outside world, those of us with BPD are often perceived in a negative light; we are troublemakers, manipulators and abusers. We are the sort of people that your Mom warned you about when you were young, we are the black sheep of the family, the person that just seems to attract trouble wherever we go.

So how much, if any, truth is there in these perceptions? I have BPD (although I am in recovery) and I feel confident in answering this question. My answer may in fact surprise you; everything written above is true.

The troublemaking, the attracting drama, the manipulation, all of it is true. With this in mind, it is perfectly understandable why people would view us in a negative light. It also makes sense why this disorder is so stigmatized and those of us with it often feel ashamed and wish to hide our diagnosis from those closest to us.

With all that said, I want to be clear on something; we are not bad people. Whilst our behaviors are extremely unpleasant and we hurt those around us, I still stand my ground and say that we truly are not bad people.

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder is painful. We are consumed daily with the most intense and unstable emotions, self-loathing and distorted thinking. Our thoughts and our feelings are completely invisible to the outside world, thus making it difficult for outsiders to understand that our behaviors are simply a manifestation of what is going on internally.

A typical day in the life of someone with BPD often starts with not wanting to wake up and face the day, for we fear what lies ahead. The ups and downs can be compared to that of a rollercoaster, fast and unexpected. With a ride on a rollercoaster however, we have the option to get off, with BPD we don’t.

I lived my life feeling as if a beast lived inside of me. I had no control over this monster and as much as I hated it, it was part of me. When the beast decided to show itself there was nothing I could do other than go along for the ride, completely unaware of the chaos and destruction I was about to cause. When the beast was in control, I would hurt all those that I loved the most.

Eventually the beast would hide away ‘til next time, leaving me emotionally and physically drained. I would be filled with guilt and remorse, angry and disgusted at myself. Self-harm, induced vomiting or drugs and alcohol would follow in my desperation to numb the pain. Of course these behaviors would only cause a whole host of new problems, especially when drink and drugs were involved. Although the mind altering substances would initially take me out of my own mind, allowing me a few moments peace, they were also a catalyst for the beast.

Looking back at myself is like looking back at a stranger. Who the hell was that girl? I am one of the lucky ones however. I had a Mother that never turned her back on me, an amazing mental health team and people that fought for me to get into rehab when I needed it. Whilst my recovery was down to the work that I put in, I have no doubt that without my support network behind me, I would still to this day be that girl that I no longer recognize; going through life hurting those around and being slowly destroyed by the beast within.