This a feature I wrote on Courtney. You can find all feature interviews here.
Courtney’s Interview Feature: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a unique mental illness diagnosis. It comes with uncontrollable mood swings that can happen every minute of every other day. The unpredictability of Borderline Personality Disorder can make any day the worst ever.
“They range from anger to sadness to even happiness,” Courtney explains. “But the feelings I have are mostly negative.”
Courtney from Waterford, Michigan, is living every way with the realities of BPD. Two and half years ago Courtney found solace. It would come in the form of a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. But like many of us in the mental illness community, the journey to the right diagnosis was a rough one for Courtney.
“Before my diagnosis with BPD, I had different diagnosis’s ranging from depression alone to Bipolar. My life was a complete disaster. There was no such thing as a “normal” day.”
In her early years, Courtney would deal with constant mood swings. The mood swings made family life impossible at times. Verbal arguments were common, and it leads to instability in her family life. It was not uncommon for Courtney to try to commit suicide. On more than one occasion she had to live through the reality of suicide attempts that seemed to come out of nowhere.
“My moods would flip as easy as it was to toss a coin,” Courtney recalls. “There was no telling how my day would start, or how they would end. It was scary.”
Courtney will admit she doesn’t have the best memory. She often has a tough time reliving the past, or even remember it. “I wouldn’t wish what I endured those years before my diagnosis on anyone.”
It’s not all negative in Courtney’s life. Courtney surrounds herself with people that support who she is. This support system includes her husband, mother, and Courtney’s therapist. The positive part in her BPD comes from the right medications and a good psychiatrist.
“The medication prescribed to me that I take every day,” Courtney explains. “I believe it plays a big positive part in my BPD.”
There are daily struggles that Courtney must face. The emotional instability that comes with Courtney and her BPD can make life hard. It can be hard to maintain a relationship, even with the ones that Courtney loves. Anxiety and depression often make themselves companions next to her BPD. On any given day she will feel lazy and depressed.
It is not uncommon for Courtney to want to do her entire to-do-list for the year in one day. It can be exhausting, but she always finds a way. Support is her most prominent ally.
“My mental illness affects my life every day. Little things that shouldn’t bother me, bother the hell out of me,” she explains about how BPD affects her life. “I get irritable over the little things, and sometimes I have no control over my anger.”
Courtney by nature isn’t a violent person, but at times she is on the edge of exploding at any moment. Three things contribute to this feeling. One part Anxiety. One part Depression. One part Borderline Personality Disorder. It can be a disastrous combination.
“It affects my relationship with my husband, my kids, family, and even friends.”
We all have a goal when writing our blog, something we want to share with the mental illness community. For Courtney, her message is one of education.
“I want people to become educated and aware of mental illnesses,” she explains. “There is a stigma that surrounds people like us, and it needs to die. That’s why the title of my blog is “kill the stigma.” I want people to open up about their struggles, to not be afraid of backlash, or to receive support. I want people to be able to talk about mental illness as easy as they talk about a cold.”
For Courtney, writing a blog has done wonders for her life. It is her way to cope and at the same time receive affirmation. It’s not about the comments or the followers from Courtney’s perspective. It’s about people viewing and reading what she is presenting to the blogging world.
What Courtney is doing with her blog is educating and finding a way to make a difference. She writes to teach on topics like depression, anxiety, and Borderline Personality Disorder.
“I have already done that on a small scale. It also helps me to know I am not alone. I have had several people close to me and distant have reached out. What they are saying is how they have dealt with their own illnesses and wish they had a voice like me.”
My favorite question that I ask in these interview features is what in their life makes life worth living? Courtney’s answer is why I love to ask this question.
Courtney finds peace in the little things in life that make living worth it. She mentions her husband, mother, children, and her belief in God. “I remember how much they love me, and how much I love them. It helps to feel wanted and needed, and I’ve never felt either of those things as much as I do currently.”
There is also the personal things in her life that Courtney wants to work on. She recognizes that she is not the best person in the world. Courtney works each day to strive to be a better person despite BPD.
Courtney recognizes one crucial thing that makes life worth living. It is this knowledge that those of us in the mental illness community should live by.
“If I were to kill myself today, I wouldn’t be able to be a better person. I would go to hell, according to my beliefs. I don’t want either of those things, so the hope that I have now makes life worth living.”
The alternative to the negative thinking that Courtney displays is positive. Its roots are in her past experiences with suicide.
Within the confines of her journey, Courtney has often had suicidal idealizations. For a good part of her life and journey, this was a regular thing. Courtney believed that it was normal to think about all the ways that you wanted to die.
“As a teenager, I didn’t know any different,” she remembers. ” I have had suicidal thoughts ever since I can remember. I would think about cutting my slitting my wrists, about driving my car into a poll at 100 mph, or swallowing pills. I even thought about putting a gun to my head and pulling the trigger.”
In the present time, Courtney struggles with these thoughts less and less. It helps to have the right system in place. For Courtney, she relies on the right medication, therapy, support, and coping skills. It is within this system that helps her combat these thoughts.
It doesn’t mean that Courtney hasn’t gone down the road of trying to take her life. “I have attempted suicide three times, and the first time I flatlined. It took Narcan to revive me. I thought it would never make me want to commit suicide again.”
This thought was great for Courtney, but was temporary and only for a time. She would go on to attempt to take her life two more times. It was through these trials and getting the right support that keeps her steady. Its enough for Courtney to stay off the suicide path.
“It takes time. There is no instant cure and that’s what I wanted. I was expecting it for so long, I wasn’t patient enough.”
Courtney wants to share through this feature article many vital pieces of wisdom. The first is that mental illness can happen to anyone. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, and it can affect anyone.
“I am glad that I’m winning,” Courtney explains. “I am so glad I am winning. I finally feel like I have my mental illness under control after more than a decade. And you know what? It was so worth the wait and effort.
Courtney is at a level that we all hope to get to, a place where you are good with your diagnosis. Her words of wisdom speak truthfully. In my own experiences, all I have been through got me to a right place with my own diagnosis. It is the most fantastic feeling in the world, but the battles are what made us stronger. It has made Courtney stronger.
If you would like to know more about Courtney and her journey you can find her writings on her blog.
When I was looking through her blog, this post stood out the most. You can find so many great pieces on Courtney’s journey with Borderline Personality Disorder on her blog.
Author: James Edgar Skye