Guest Blogger - Alice Duff - Mothering with Mental Illness

Do you know what is an even more maddening mental disorder than OCD, depression and bipolar disorder?

Borderline personality disorder.

For the past 17 months, I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery. After carting myself around to more spiritual healers, psychics, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists than I care to admit, I was diagnosed with this disorder.

Put simply, borderline personality disorder is extreme emotional instability. Some of the symptoms of BPD are a lack of impulse control, not feeling comfortable within yourself and difficulty relating to other people.

This disorder has made my life a living hell. I’ve always struggled to create and maintain relationships with others, but BPD has made things only worse. Just one wrong word from someone is enough to elevate my stress level to a point where my day is completely ruined. It’s turned all the bad memories I have into anchors that drag me down deep into my traumatic past, leaving me fighting to take a sanity-restoring breath.

There have been times when thoughts of suicide were never far from my mind. But I have never surrendered to them because I knew that it would mean hurting others and making them resent me for hurting them.

When I was given the diagnosis, I felt relieved. Having seen just about every kind of medical specialist and taken just about every kind of prescription medication in an effort to heal my chi and feel whole again, I finally knew what was wrong with me and could figure out how to deal with it.

BPD makes me see the world through a prism that turns everything black and white. So in my mind, a clear and simple solution had to be available to cure me of the disorder. My doctor, however, was quick to dispel this false notion, informing me that it would take years of hard work to beat it. Although the road ahead won’t be easy, I know that continuing along it is my only option.

So many lives end too soon. For most of my life, I thought I would die young. But because of this sweet, cheeky boy I get to call my son, I know that I have to fight all the dark thoughts with everything I have so I will always be there for him and can be the kind of mother he needs me to be. My son will not end up on a therapist’s couch, talking about the mother who committed suicide and left him to cope with life without her love.

On the one hand, I’m a part of a club no one wants to be a part of. But on the other, it’s an opportunity to take control of my world and start living the kind of life I was meant to live.

My name is Alice and I have borderline personality disorder. While being diagnosed with this disorder has helped me make sense of my past, I’m not sure what it says about my future. But I’m trying my best to learn all I can about it in order to become a better mother, a better wife and a better person.

This blog was meant to be a fun look at how I got the Born by One project off the ground, but it has instead turned into a journey of self-discovery and understanding. I started the project so my son would have a reliable support network since his mother’s mental problems had made her anything but reliable. I hope that Born by One will be a beacon of light for other mums struggling to find a way out of the darkness.

I started Born by One so my son would have a reliable support network since his mother’s mental problems had made her anything but reliable. I hope to be a beacon of light for other mums struggling to find a way out of the darkness.

Corrine Tan Comment