My best friend Christin and I have shared many things over the years. Fun and laughter, gum and icebreakers, and let’s not forget 12 minute run tests in gym class. You name it, we did it together. I just never expected that we would share the same mental illness.
Christin and I were both diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in our 20’s. It’s also getting well known as Emotional Intensity Disorder. There is a lot to this illness but overall it just means people with BPD experience emotions more intensely than others.
Although it’s been a long road for both of us, having each other to talk to has been a great support. She is the Cristina to my Meredith, “she is my person”. Or what I like to call my Borderline PERSON(ality) companion.
She totally understands what I go through, and I her, but even though we have the same illness, we function and cope very differently and have had different journeys.
Christin was born in Nova Scotia but grew up in British Columbia. When she was 12, her parents, along with her two younger brothers, moved back to the east coast to be closer to family. Growing up, her parents always kept photos of Nova Scotia in their home, but now that they have moved back to N.S, their whole house is filled with photos of B.C. I hope to visit her neck of the woods some day!
Christin and I became friends in the 8th grade. We were both so similar and clicked right away. We spent so much time together that we became those friends who could read each other’s minds! She always knows what I’m about to say. It’s totally weird.
We always would talk for hours whenever we had a sleepover. Gushing about our latest crushes and things that happened that week (but it mostly we talked about boys).
Christin had a wonderful upbringing with a very loving family but from a very young age she experienced horrible anxiety. It initially started with sleep anxiety but then she was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, all before she was a teenager.
She would often stress about her grades as she was a perfectionist, but she always got A’s! There was no reason for it, but yet there it was.
People with BPD often feel emotions more intensely than most people, because of this Christin and I were both often pegged as “sensitive.” Christin especially felt upset about that label because she thought her feelings didn’t count, and I could tell it made her feel uncomfortable in her own skin. This happens a lot to people with BPD because the key to our recovery is when we feel validated. It doesn’t mean we are always right when someone validates us, it just means our feelings count and are understood.
Christin struggled with up and down moods for many years. We both did, and because of our struggles we lost touch for some time. We both thought we were alone.
I ended up transferring to the same university as Christin when we were 20 years old. I had luckily taken 10 months off to recover, but Christin struggled in silence. She ended up withdrawing from university to take time to figure out what she wanted and needed.
She enrolled in an Occupational/Physio Therapy Assistant program and graduated in a year with flying colors. She even got a job in her field working in a senior care home, and her clients absolutely love her! She even got certified so she can administer medications.
She persevered through all odds and became a success, all on her own. She also had love and support but everything she has accomplished, that’s on her.
You would never know that Christin had mental illness as she is the bubbliest, funniest and most loving person I have ever met. She has a very contagious laugh and always has outrageous stories. She is definitely the entertainer of our group (she should have been on broadway).
Christin’s life has not been perfect, but whose life is?
We all face struggles whether it’s mental illness or not, but the only way to find happiness is to persevere and find what works for us and determine what we want from life.
Christin and I probably won’t have it all figured out, but at least we have each other and close friends and family to help us through.
Keep your friends close, you never know who may need you the most.
Thank you to Christin for letting me share her story.