So, at age six, I spent my recesses looking for pieces of glass or tin cans to use to hurt myself. I went to the nurse every day until fourth grade because I knew that the nurse would take care of the cuts and bruises. I got in fights with the boys in my class. I spent a lot of time in detention. I was “happy” there. Still, no one suspected that anything was seriously wrong. I was just being a kid.
By sixth grade, I had developed an eating disorder. I’d starve, I’d binge, I’d purge, and I’d pop laxatives like they were candy. I tried killing myself a variety of highly creative but ineffective ways. No one knew. I became an expert at first aid. I suffered in silence, blinded by impulses. In high school, I was caught self-harming in class. The guidance counselor called my parents, and my father screamed at me, “Why are you doing this to us?! Don’t you know we love you?!”
After that, I sought out the free counseling my university offered and found a great psychiatrist. I wasn’t magically cured, but wanting and realizing that I needed help was a huge step. Still, the drive to get better had faded by the anniversary of the assault. I tried to drink the chemicals in the photography darkroom on campus. This time the cops came and escorted me to a psychiatric unit of a hospital. I was there for five days, until they kicked me out because I refused to take medicine.
I remained safe until the following year; that is, last fall. This time I went to my psychiatrist first and told her about my intent to die. I withdrew from school. I was sent to another hospital, but it only made things worse. Two other hospitals followed because I was a difficult patient. They diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder. At the second hospital, the psychiatrist told me I was hopeless, or at least I thought she did. She said people with BPD typically end up either in and out of hospitals their whole lives or succeed in killing themselves. I took it as a challenge.
I am currently in recovery, trying to change how doctors perceive the fate of BPD patients. I remind myself everyday that it is just a diagnosis. I am in charge of what happens next. It is hard to remember these things when depression hits, but I am determined to keep on living. I’ve decided that after I finish my photography degree, I am going to pursue a Masters in counseling. I want to bring people hope who have none. I want to hear others’ stories and help them find the light that is in life. I want to help them remember that their story is not over.