I want to start off by saying that this post might apply to any number of disorders but I just speak from someone who felt this way when being diagnosed with BPD. If you relate to this for any reason, that's really valid and I hope it can help.
So, you’ve just been diagnosed with BPD. You might be feeling any number of things.
On one hand, you might be feeling some relief at having an answer for what’s been going on with you and feeling validated by the news. On the other, you might be feeling scared. You might be feeling like everything is hopeless. You might be feeling like there’s no point in trying anymore, because having BPD means you’re doomed. Doomed to deal with the constant wave of emotions it brings you. Doomed because BPD isn’t temporary - it can’t be ‘cured’ and it won’t ‘go away’.
These are all very valid feelings. It’s not at all unreasonable to feel them all at once. Finding out that we have BPD can be life changing. For me, it didn’t come as much of a shock because I had some suspicions beforehand. But getting the diagnosis, the confirmation there was an actual disorder behind what I was feeling, was very validating.
At first, I did feel defeated sometimes by the knowledge - until I began to notice little things. For example, when I’d have a thought like “my partner clearly doesn’t love me”, I’d stop myself and be like “Oh, that’s a BPD thought.” It allowed me to understand where the thoughts were coming from. While it didn’t fix the emotions and fears, it took some of their power away. It allowed me to challenge them.
Over time, I learned to handle my thoughts in different ways. When I’d have a thought that, “my partner didn’t love me,” I’d stop and ask myself why I thought that. If the answer was something like, “he hasn’t texted me back today”, I’d stop and ask myself, “Okay, are there alternative explanations for why he hasn’t texted?” When I realised that there were, I’d work on some of my self soothing skills. I’d try and offer myself reassurance by looking at old screenshots I’d saved that confirmed he loved me. I would look at a list I kept of things he’d done that made me feel loved. If all else failed, I’d send him a text saying “Hey, it’s not your fault but my brain is being rude. Can I please have some reassurance?”
Learning about my BPD made it possible to work out healthier ways to deal with the thoughts and urges. It motivated me to find healthy ways to communicate and handle crises. As time went on, I began to look into the skills I was using to cope and realised that they were mostly DBT skills. Though I didn’t know about them formally, I had begun applying them in my life. To me, this was a sign that DBT itself was worth looking into and I began researching different skills. I took some time to try most of them out. While they didn’t all work for me, some did. I figured out that the best time to try crisis skills is when you’re not in crisis. This way, when you are in crisis, they are easier to apply and easier to recall because you have tried them before - and you have some idea of which might work for you.
Getting a diagnosis can feel crushing. It can feel like your world is over. I promise you that it isn’t. It’s valid to feel that way. It’s valid to grieve for what your diagnosis has taken from you. It’s valid if you need time to mourn. But I want to assure you that your life isn’t over, and it can still be very good. While my emotions are still extremely strong, and I sometimes still have irrational thoughts caused by BPD, I am so much better at dealing with them than I was before my BPD diagnosis. This has allowed me to foster healthier relationships. Before, I used to react to my thoughts in ways that compromised my relationships over time. This became one more factor in how terrible things I felt my life was. Now, I am able to handle the challenges that come and I enjoy my life. While the emotions haven't gone away, not reacting to them has stopped them from spiraling out of control and in turn making things worse for when it came to my relationships, and overall mental state.
I understand that my personal story might not help you. It might not make you feel better. And that’s super valid. Even so, I’m hoping that my story can show you a positive perspective or at least offer some hope that you can still have a fulfilling life. While there are negatives to such a diagnosis, and it’s so valid to have feelings about that, sometimes remembering it isn’t all bad can help us cope. It helps us remember that the bad times are temporary. Sometimes, I find that when I’m in a really dark place, due to my lack of emotional permanence, I can’t see anything beyond that. But I remind myself that every time this has happened before, it has passed and I have experienced good again. That reminds me that this too will pass. And while that doesn’t fix the bleak feelings, the reminder that they are temporary helps a bit to get myself through it.
I have learned to live a fulfilling and quality life with my BPD. While I wouldn't consider myself "cured" by any means, I've been told I no longer fit a lot of the criteria. While you may not be able to change some of the things that come with your BPD, you can learn to cope with them in healthy ways. This will likely lower their intensity and improve the quality of your life. It is not hopeless. And you can do this. You aren't alone in it.