“You were the happiest kid,” my mom commented as we flipped through the pages of my fourth-grade diary. There was no doubt about that. Every entry was full of musings only a carefree child could have. But the cheerful anecdotes about playground politics, crushes and secret handshakes turned into emotional ramblings about the sudden betrayal by my friends. I wrote extensively about how they had started to ignore me, gossip behind my back and exclude me from our usual shenanigans. My stomach tightened when I saw the words “I WISH I WAS DEAD” sprawled across an entire page.
I remember writing that. It was the last day of school, and the most popular girl in the fourth grade – the girl I considered to be my best friend – sent a cohort from our so-called clique over to tell me none of them ever liked me. I remember staring across the room at my leopard-clad “bestie” as her messenger explained they pretended to be my friend for two years. She said I was a loser, and I just wasn’t cool enough to be their friend.
Losing a friend is heartbreaking, but to my 10-year-old self, it felt like the end of the world. I was consumed with overwhelming despair and anger. I began experiencing suicidal ideation and lost all of my confidence and sense of self. The extreme emotional response I had to my friends’ betrayal was unusual, but my parents assumed I overreacted so strongly because I was simply a very sensitive child. Unbeknownst to us, I was actually exhibiting early signs of borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Ever since that day, I have struggled with traits of BPD, including an intense fear of abandonment, attachment issues, highly changeable moods, black and white thinking, impulsive behavior and a lack of self-esteem. It wasn’t until this year, however, that I was actually diagnosed with BPD after it almost destroyed me in the fallout of my first breakup.
When I started dating my ex, I immediately became attached to him. Wayyy too attached. I shamelessly loved him with every fiber of my being because, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel alone. I didn’t feel empty. But throughout the relationship I lived in a chronic sense of fear he would leave me and I’d be alone once again.
And he did.