Borderline Personality Disorder

Staying Strong!

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Hello Everyone!

I’m 36, divorced, I haven’t seen my kids in years, and I have a history of substance use, BPD, Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD. I have been in an out of therapy and hospitals since I was about 12 years old. I have early stages of fatty liver disease, and I have spent the last week in and out of hospitals dealing with cardiac events ;

My story begins in a the mid 80s where I grew up in a small town that was very “conservative”. Most of the children I went to school with were born and raised farmer-kids, or other labour intensive, and primary resources industries. As such I was bullied CONSTANTLY for being a “nerd” and a “gaylord”. I didn’t even know what gay meant at the time, but I got beat up for it regularly from about 1990 to about 1999. The school discounted it as “boys will be boys”, and I actually got in trouble several times for being too disruptive, for standing up for myself, and/or crying after getting beat up. My father was cold and sort of stoic about the whole thing. He used to call me a baby, and a pussy, and a girl, and told me to stand up for myself. He would often tell me to “stop crying, or he’d give me a reason to cry”. He very rarely actually hit me, but the messaging was very clear. I wasn’t accepted at home, or at school. I wasn’t safe anywhere, and my mom was in denial, and refused to believe me when I told her about school and about dad ;

Staring in about 1995 I became very depressed. from about the ages of 12-19 I was in and out of therapy. I started using drugs and alcohol during this time period as well. I became a huge rebel with(out) a cause. I withdrew from everything other than video games, which I used as a form of escapism. I became “goth” in my late teens, and would self harm in many ways. Anything just to feel something other than the unending numbness and sadness. I attempted to overdose for the first time when I was 19 or 20 ;

Also during this time period I was attempting to come to terms with who I am as a person. I knew my whole life that I “liked boys and girls” and that I related more to women than men. I didn’t know what it all meant, but I always felt like I was different and ostracized because of it. I learnt what bi was when I was around 12, and so I adopted that label for myself, despite not coming out. I also accepted that fact that I am deeply empathic, and that I’m a feminist, and that I just really like fashion, Boy/Girl Bands, pop music, dance music etc. I actually wanted to be a fashion designer for awhile, but people kept telling me that my drawings of women’s fashion were “gay”, so I closeted that ambition ;

My mental health spiraled out of control in the 2000s and 2010s. I spent my time drinking, using substances, smoking cigarettes’, and drinking coffee and energy drinks. I have four beautiful children now, partially due to unsafe sex practices relating to my mental health and addiction issues. I used to go to clubs, raves, and bars almost weekly, and I would get extremely intoxicated. My now-ex-wife threatened to leave me if I didn’t stop using drugs and going to parties all the time, so in about 2012 or 2013 I quit using, and drinking, for approximately 18 months, and my mental health deteriorated rapidly because I felt like I was isolated, and I felt like a captive. I had crazy victim mentality, and I had never properly addressed any of my mental health issues. I felt like I woke up from a 10+ year “dream” from all the drugs and alcohol, and I felt like a child trapped in a man’s body. And I had four kids and a wife to try and support and care for! My ex-wife tried to play the parent role for awhile, she wouldn’t let me see my friends, she wouldn’t let me drink, or smoke cigarettes etc. Any time I’d slip up she’d threaten to leave me and take my kids from me. She blamed me for everything that was wrong in our lives. She was a total gas-lighter. Eventually she got fed up with it. She started having an affair, which she denies, but it was unofficially confirmed by staff at the Carleton University health center when I had to go get tested for the Herpes that she suddenly acquired.  I didn’t have it though, so clearly it came from somewhere else. She then left me for the guy I thought she was having an affair with, and they now live together ;

With my ex-wife’s betrayal I had a severe mental health breakdown. I began using and drinking more than ever before. I often felt like my body was trying to “shut down” because of the amount of chemicals I was using. I was prepared to do anything to “feel better” and/or “stay numb”. I eventually stopped doing anything other than drinking and using. I wouldn’t leave the house, I had everything ordered in, and I stopped doing any sort of self-care, I was praying for death because I was “too weak” to actively attempt to self harm again. And this is when things got even worse ;

My now-ex-wife started calling CAS on me any time she heard from anybody that I was drinking, regardless of whether I was with the kids or not. And eventually she was granted “temporary full custody” as I was a “risk” to my children due to my use, and my depression. Removing my children from me caused me to spiral even further, and I attempted suicide by vehicle. I got drunk and intentionally crashed into a highway underpass. I was ejected from the vehicle, the vehicle flipped on top of me, and caught fire. I don’t recall any of this, but it was described to me as such by the police when I came to. They had to use the jaws of life and a fire crew to save me. I spent the next month or so in the hospital recovering from my injuries, both mental and physical ;

My ex-wife used this information to continue to keep my children from me for awhile, which caused me a great deal of mental anguish, and made it next to impossible to focus on my recovery, or my sobriety, and as such I kept having episodes of depression, and binge drinking. Finally after what felt like years of fighting we got a Final Divorce Order which stated that I could see the kids every second weekend, and keep in touch with them over the phone/email/etc.  I was sooo excited to see the girls again that I “needed” to have a couple of beers before I picked them up “to calm my nerves”. I was then pulled over for a DUI. My ex-wife used this as evidence that I should not be allowed to see my kids, and was granted full custody, access at her discretion. She has used that to mean that I shouldn’t have any access to my children for the last 5 years. This sent me into yet an even deeper spiral ;

I spent from about 5 years ago to this year in and out of hospitals, on disability, in and out of rehabs, and homeless or couch surfing. I started going to AA, got back into churchy stuff, I addressed my mental health issues, such as my PTSD, and Borderline Personality Disorder. I was helped by The Ottawa Hospital, The Royal Ottawa Hospital, The Salvation Army, The Shepherd’s of Good Hope, and most importantly The Ottawa Mission. I had people from all of these places working with me to help me finally get better, and more importantly I WANTED to get better, I WANTED to be able to be there for my kids. In February of this year I had what I am hoping was my final major mental health crisis. I landed myself back in the hospital for about a month during COVID. I used all this time of isolation with only medical staff, my phone, and myself to comfort me, and it was here where I finally grasped that if I was going to get anywhere in life, I was going to have to start taking care of me ;

My work from home job fired me for “attendance issues” despite me providing them with constant updates from my attending physician, but instead of dragging me down that empowered me to advocate for myself. I started searching for the job I deserved instead of the job that would take me, and I managed to land an absolutely amazing gig at a local animal hospital! My years of therapy and self-reflection have made me well suited for helping people with their pets, and now that I’m clean and sober, and weened off the myriad of meds I was on my empathy can shine through. It is extremely challenging dealing with some of the sicker animals, I often cry when a pet passes away, but I wouldn’t trade my new career for anything ;

My work, and my family is also very accepting of LGBT+ folks. One of my sisters is trans and bi and several other people in my family identify as or are partnered with LGBT+ folks in one way or another. It is because of my little sister that I learnt about gender identity, and the “newer” LGBT+ letters, so I started to do some research on my own, and came to believe that pansexual suits me best. I love hearts, the parts are secondary. I also identify as sapiosexual, because other than hearts, I find intelligence extremely attractive. I’ve been trying to reach out to the LGBT+ community, and I volunteered at Pride the two years prior to COVID. My new colleagues also seem extremely accepting, and I finally feel comfortable with who I am ;

Most recently, I started having cardiac issues on August 12th, I spent Friday in the Civic Hospital where I was discriminated against for my mental health issues, even though they are completely managed. I advocated for myself and was seen and helped by my family doctor. He advised me to go back to the Hospital, I went to a different hospital, the QCH in Ottawa, and I was again incorrectly triaged due to my history of mental health, but I stayed, I waited about 5 hours to see a doctor. I insisted that I was having cardiac issues, and he AGREED! We couldn’t figure out the root cause though, so I am still in distress. I was referred to the heart specialists at the QCH, and I am awaiting there call from home ;

So this is my coming out story, my mental health story, my advocacy story, and my shout out to you all, “You are loved. I love you. Things can get better if you just keep on trying. Take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. Just remember to breath! Take deep breaths, focus on your heart, tell your heart to relax! Tell yourself that you’re OK! Even if you don’t believe it, just keep telling yourself! And if you need help, keep reaching out until you get it!! You are not alone. Every single person that suffers from mental health issues is in my thoughts and prayers. I’m sending good vibes out to the universe. I’m sending good vibes to you!” ;

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Thank Jasonion for sharing this story below.

A Story of Redemption

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