Living with Mental Health Conditions I have been diagnosed with a long list of mental illnesses. I live with severe depression and anxiety, PTSD, ADHD and borderline personality disorder. Out of all of them, BPD affects my life the most. I have had BPD my whole life. From pre-school to elementary, I would cry the night before, the morning of and during school because I wanted to be with my mother. One of the symptoms of BPD is fear of abandonment/paranoia of being abandoned. I did not want to be separated from my mother because I was afraid of being left behind. BPD also affects the way one thinks. They see things only as black or white—there is no gray area. In addition, people with BPD put someone they just met on a pedestal, then immediately drops them if the person says/does something they do not like/approve of. It can be the smallest thing and most times, the person has no idea that they did anything offensive. Having BPD distorts the mind, leaving the person unable to think clearly and logically. I have burned so many bridges because of my fits of rage, my inability to handle stressful situations, and my attachment issues. I have been in and out of the psychiatric ward at the hospital because of BPD. Every time I am released from the psychiatric ward I am hopeful and optimistic, praying that this will be the last time I will be in the psychiatric ward. Except, I always end up going back. I feel so frustrated because I am taking ten steps backwards from recovery. BPD is a life-long illness. There is a specific type of therapy for people with BPD called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT teaches mindfulness, acceptance, boundaries, and to be aware of what is happening in their surroundings. It also teaches skills on how to communicate, handle basic everyday tasks, to control intense feelings, and decrease self-destruction behavior. DBT also teaches coping mechanisms and how to handle situations without feeling overwhelmed. DBT is an intense form of therapy. It involves individual and group therapy and it takes about a year or longer to go through all the steps of DBT. Where I live, mental health resources are limited, therefore, it is very hard to receive DBT. BPD has made my life incredibly challenging. I cannot keep a job for more than four months. When I am stressed my symptoms increase, I still act impulsively and I have fits of rage, which usually involves me trashing my room. BPD does not define who I am. None of my mental health conditions do. I am a human being with feelings, just like everyone else. I went to a university and graduated with my Bachelors. I am compassionate, generous, humble, thankful, loving, fun and give great advice. I am a survivor. Having mental health conditions has only made me stronger. I am not ashamed of my mental health conditions. I am me. For those of you out there who are suffering from a mental illness, please get help. There is nothing wrong with receiving help. It’s okay to not be okay and to say so. You are not alone. Mental illness is real and everyone’s story is different. There is hope and a light at the end of the tunnel. Do not give up. It will be hard—in fact, probably the hardest thing you ever experience in your life—but it’s worth it. Share your story, message, poem, quote, photo or video of hope, struggle or recovery. By sharing your experience, you can let others know that they are not alone.