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

The authors of Beyond Borderline describe how they are making their way, respectively, along dark, twisted roads, coping with life’s hurdles, through the complex, messy process. No matter how long it takes.

Don’t get me wrong–I still have my moments of despair. Sometimes I still put my headphones in on the Metro ride without actually playing music so that no one will talk to me. I do not look in the mirror in the morning chanting loving mantras at myself. But I can look in the mirror without seeing the sum of all my flaws. I can look in the mirror and see beyond all the psychiatric and other sorts of labels that people have ascribed to me. Yes, I may be a borderline, raging alcoholic, depressive, former anorexic patient. But I am also a friend. A daughter. A sister. A niece. A cousin. A soon-to-be teacher. A lifelong student. I am becoming dependable. I am ambitious. I am intelligent. I am a woman.

My life and path to recovery has followed a dark, twisted road. But each wrong turn has made me stronger. At the end of the day, I am who I am today because of what I have been through. Author 3 (p. 29)

Life has not been without struggles, but as my health has developed, I am able to meet the challenges head-on with a knowledge that I am a valued member of society who family, friends, employers, and colleagues believe is able to cope with life’s hurdles and provide support to those I come in contact with. My journey continues… Author 5 (p. 45)

I have a bevy of DBT skills to rely upon, not to mention skills coaching from some pretty awesome therapists. I just applied to almost twenty jobs. I am hopeful that I will one day return to research, have a healthy relationship, and find my own apartment again. I am a dedicated person, so no matter how long it takes, I will achieve these goals. Despite my feelings. Author 15 (p. 113)

I’ve come to find that my recovery is going to take time, and that while it may seem to be simple, it will never be easy. Those who stick around through the complex and messy process are those I truly consider to be friends. Often this disorder can be isolating, but never will I let it defeat me. The breakup at first was devastating for me, but I was able to turn it into something beautiful, for it showed me that relationships are meant to bring out the best in others and not to be built on dependence. From now on, I want to enter them out of interest and passion–not out of need and desperation.

This disorder is a living hell, but I know it’s not impossible, which is what keeps me going, day by day. Author 13 (p. 98)

The next entry of this series on Pearls from Beyond Borderline will focus on the messages of advice to those with BPD and their treatment providers from the authors with BPD.

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