Borderline Personality Disorder: "Behind my smile lies a terrible pain."
Published 1 Jul 2020 • By Candice Salomé
Shiva14122019, member of the Carenity France platform, wanted to share his story. He lives with borderline personality disorder*. His illness goes back to his childhood, about which he shares with us at length. He also tells us about his daily struggle with his disorder.
*Borderline personality disorder is characterised by a pervasive pattern of instability in relationships, self-image, moods, behaviour and hypersensitivity to the possibility of rejection and abandonment.
Hello @shiva14122019, you have borderline personality disorder and wanted to share your experience. First of all, could you tell us more about yourself?
Hello, my name is Damien, I am 38 years old, I am married since December 2019, and I have two beautiful children (a 25 year old daughter and a 15 year old son, who are my wife's children). I practiced martial arts for a long time. Unfortunately, I had to stop many times due to my hospitalisations, and I have stopped completely for the last 2 years due to my personal situation. My ambition is to resume the sport in September. I love reading, listening to music (especially music from the 70s and 80s) and driving.
I had to stop working in March 2020 following a big burn-out linked to severe depression. Currently, I am taking distance learning law courses in order to be able to practice as a corporate lawyer.
Is borderline personality disorder difficult to manage? How does it manifest itself in your daily life?
Because of my illness, even though I love my wife and my son-in-law (who lives with us) and we have everything we need, I am often sad but I don't show it.
I have a lot of insomnia. When I have it, I stare at the ceiling and my brain goes in circles (it's the only thing it does) or I watch all kinds of documentaries.
There are wounds that will never heal, questions that I will never have answers to. It's clear that we all have our pasts with their ups and downs. So complaining or saying that we are unhappy does nothing but make us feel disgusted with ourselves. This has happened to me many times in the past.
Sometimes I am so unhappy that I choke, scream and withdraw into myself.
My family life suffers, but the love and patience of my loved ones and their support and my wife's willingness to listen to me soothes and help me.
Are you being treated for your borderline personality disorder? Are you seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist?
Currently, I am on DEPAKOTE 500, LARGACTIL and XANAX. It is a new treatment that I started at the beginning of March with a change of medication and adaptation of the doses in regular follow-up with my psychiatrist, who I speak to by phone weekly. My treatment is not having much impact right now, but we will increase the Depakote in the coming weeks. I have already upped my dose of Largactil (following my psychiatrist's advice).
At the moment, I am not managing my emotions well and I am somewhat unstable because I am not feeling well internally. My psychiatrist told me that the situation would get better, but that it would take some time. Despite this, I know that my therapy is doing me good.
I am not under the care of a psychologist simply because I have a busy family life. I agree to talk with my psychiatrist about how I feel and what is going on in my head. But I'm not someone who really likes to talk. It's painful enough for me and makes me imagine things in my head even more.
Recently, my wife made me realise that I have some obsessive compulsions. If I don't act on my compulsions, I get frustrated and even angry. I have become aware of it but never talk about it because it's something I don't accept.
Do you know where the disorder comes from? What is the origin of it?
I was completely deaf as a child. I made it through primary school by reading lips because no one, neither my parents nor my brothers, noticed that I was deaf. It was my teacher who identified the problem. When my little sister was born, 9 months after I told my parents that I was deaf, I was placed in foster care more than 250 km from home and did not see my family for more than a month.
I moved from foster home to foster home from the age of 8 to 18 and was beaten all my youth by my parents and brothers. When I turned 18, I found out that my parents had signed a release behind my back saying that I was to stay in the foster home until I turned 21, but I tore it up.
I then went home to my parents. At that time, my father throttled me and threw me onto some iron bars. I called my social worker who found me a studio flat in a fortnight. Admittedly, it was dilapidated but I was finally at home.
I have a daughter who must be 19 today, but I don't know her. Her mother, when she was pregnant, left me. She just called me and told me that "I will never know my daughter". I was young with a very painful past.
That's the reason for my first suicide attempt. I woke up 3 weeks later in hospital, in intensive care, with my ankles and wrists tied and plugged in everywhere!!
The doctors told me that my mother had only been in to see me for 15 minutes and my father told them it would be better if I didn't wake up.
Since then, I've been in a coma twice more for a week. I've been in and out of hospital a lot, had many treatments and made many new suicide attempts.
I have also lost everything and I have been on the street many times (cumulatively, I spent 3 years on the street). I became addicted to alcohol and drugs (especially cannabis, I smoked 25 joints a day).
When was your borderline personality disorder diagnosed?
My borderline personality disorder was actually diagnosed in 2012 when I was last hospitalised after yet another suicide attempt. This diagnosis came as a shock to me. The doctors told me that it was due to childhood traumas. They also told me that I would be borderline all my life, which made me very angry.
Do you have any other conditions besides your borderline personality disorder?
I have many other conditions in addition to my borderline personality disorder: compressed vertebrae, arthritis in the knee, dolichocolon (an overly long colon, which leads to intestinal obstructions). I had a bowel infarction over the age of 26 and acute pancreatitis. I have advanced deafness and a tumour in my right ear. But I am alive, breathing and surrounded by my loved ones, and that is the main thing.
I still don't accept my illness and I don't know if I will ever accept it. But I know that I have to fight for my loved ones.
Are you supported by your family and friends?
My wife is very present and attentive. She supports me a lot. But despite all her love, she doesn't understand my illness, and that frightens me and makes me feel very guilty. I rarely talk about my disorder and my feelings because I make sure I take care of my loved ones, that I am there for them, that I listen to them, support them and help them live. Behind my smile and my "joie de vivre" lies a terrible suffering.
What advice would you give to members who also have borderline personality disorder?
What I can advise to borderliners, and even to all those who will read my words, is to never feel guilty about your illness or your past, even if you have made mistakes. It's behind you and now you can only move forward. Have courage, life is beautiful, even if it is sometimes very hard! Above all, be yourself! I often say that you can't change but evolve!
If someone wants to change you, it's because they don't see you for the beautiful person you are. Whatever the illness we have, we are human with our strengths and weaknesses, and we also have the right to happiness!
Stay strong all of you, and thank you for taking the time to read this!
A big thank you to Shiva14122019 for agreeing to share his story on Carenity.
What do you think caused your borderline personality disorder?
What are the signs of the illness in your daily life?
Don't hesitate to share in the comments, we're here to support one another!