Melanie | North York, ON
Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
“Ten years ago, I didn't even know what BPD was. But it knew me. Even as a child, I had always been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of my emotions. There were times I couldn't get out of bed for a month straight.
Diagnosis was my saviour. I spent so much of my life not understanding, and so it was everything just to have an answer. I mean, BPD isn’t the greatest answer. If you google ‘borderline personality disorder,’ the things you find don’t paint a very nice picture. But it’s a starting point. I look at my diagnosis as a roadmap. It has allowed me to figure out where I am, and that’s the first step to being somewhere else. In that way, having a diagnosis is very empowering.
“I’m not hiding.”
No one knows what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. We’re all in our own private mazes, fighting on the lonely battlefields of our minds. But there are ways that our experiences can rhyme with one another, and we can use these similarities to build connections and make each other stronger. As I pass through the different seasons of my life, I find myself always wanting to reach back and reach out, to find the people who are struggling as I’ve struggled, so that I can help them. I think that, when you’ve hurt so badly and felt so alone, in the way that BPD can hurt you and isolate you, you naturally want to protect others from that in any way you can.
My dream has always been to open up my own mental health centre. I’ll name it the Rae of Light Centre, in honour of my grandmother Rae. But I knew the first step to realizing that dream was an education. I had always been afraid to go to school because I thought I was too dumb, or too fragile. But I eventually realized that those thoughts were precisely the darkness that makes the light meaningful. And when I find myself in the dark, I know it’s time to put on my shoes of righteousness and keep moving.
I’m doing my master’s degree now to become a credentialed therapist. Every time we do introductions in a new class, I stand up and say loudly and clearly: ‘Hi, I'm Melanie Goldman. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.’
Because I’m not hiding.”