“It is important to appreciate that once in hell, it is possible to climb out of it. -Marsha Linehan”

Helping others, validating one’s own pain and fears, persevering, having a life worth living, work with the treatment team, express your needs are among the recommendations for those with BPD from the authors who are making the climb out of hell.

And in the darkest of my days–of which there have been many–I have always found solace in the small ways of making life better for other people. So if my story, if my pain, can help me save someone else for making the same mistakes and I have, then I guess it was worth it. Author 3 (p. 28)

Living with borderline personality disorder is one hell of a ride. It’s hard, it’s scary, it’s passionate, it’s angry, and it’s everything in between. But when you’re given the right coping tools and a safety plan and a structure, life becomes more doable. Don’t give up. And don’t let it win, because when you come through to the other side, you see the world in a different perspective. Author 7 (p. 55)

What Marsha Linehan states is that a borderline needs to create a life worth living. That life can be different for every person. It’s a life that is right for you, beyond the chaos. Author 24 (p. 169)

The best piece of advice I can give to a recently diagnosed borderline is to never give up; even when it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, things do get better even if you can’t see it. There will be storms and valleys, and you will have to climb out and stand strong, but it is worth it. Listen to your doctors and nurses; communicate your needs and feelings, even if you think they are off the wall or you think no one will understand.

Accepting and learning as much as you can about the diagnosis is key. Don’t become defensive and bitter and hopeless because of the diagnosis. You can recover from borderline personality disorder. Life can be worth living, and it can be filled with hope. It is a process, not about the final result; it is about the journey, not the destination. Author 24 (p. 171)

Author 4 speaks from her heart in describing what it was like to be in a mental health training program where she witnessed the stigma that the diagnosis of BPD still carries in parts of the professional community.

I did try to fight every comment and judgment (about BPD)…That fight took a big toll on me, not so much on my work ethic or dedication to the cause, but it stripped me of my confidence and pride in having the disorder. I questioned every move I made and analyzed every comment that came out of my mouth. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was one of those dreaded borderlines. I was walking on eggshells, everywhere, making sure my secret was safe with me. It was really hard, and it made me really depressed. Why did people have to feel this way? Why did future social workers have to feel this way? Why were they learning about the difficulty of borderlines? Why were they taught to stay away from borderlines? Why were they caught the hate them, to hate me?

Be careful. Watch your words, think before you speak, and think before you act. You never know who might be around you. Author 4 (p. 33-36)

The next entry of this series on Pearls from Beyond Borderline will focus on the messages of advice to the family and friends of those with BPD.

To further support NEABPD.org programs, order Borderline: True Stories of Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder