I find it very difficult to explain to people how I experience BPD. With a huge stigma surrounding the sparsely-talked-about condition, finding the right explanation has proved very difficult, especially when trying to inform a person who doesn’t understand mental health problems. So here it is, presented in a tale-as-old-as-time.
In this story, there are are three characters. You may be very familiar with these characters:
- The villain or the monster. Usually misunderstood, and through a rough and tough environment ends up only knowing chaos as a form of survival. For the purposes of this story, she shall be referred to as Shadow.
- The damsel in distress who is usually in the wrong places at the wrong times. Most of the time has some sort of encounter with the villain, and in some circumstances, may need rescuing.
- The protagonist. The hero of the story. Helps the damsel escape the darkness of the villain.
The setting for this story is in the land of my mind, the town of my every day life and the home of my every breath.
It starts with the Shadow. In her life, she has known taunting, and harsh comments from others. Whispers of inadequacy and a laughter that stalked, waking her from nightmare after nightmare. She was trodden on, and made to feel like less than she was. The friends who she loved sometimes left her, no reason, just faded from her life with no warning. Shadow was also refrained from too much expression of emotion leaving her with little understanding on what she was feeling and how to adequately cope. Years of this led to lacking trust, expectation of the worst and a fear of loneliness. A fear that consumed her.
The damsel is often captured by the Shadow. The damsel is an easy target, especially when she’s alone. She is often held against her will, and terrified of the darkness cast by Shadow. With no light by which to escape, the damsel stays stuck, lost, and helpless. It takes the light of Strength and the trusty steed of Happiness to find her. On every rescue, the damsel can see them coming, the candle they carry to see in the dark is small, but it burns and flickers with hope.
Of course, there’s always a battle. Sometimes it’s big and sometimes it’s small but there’s always a fight. Shadow strives to keep the damsel, she fights Strength fiercely. Strength will always win. Sometimes Strength is a little too late. Sometimes the damsel has tried to escape without her Strength to provide her with light. But Strength always wins eventually. The damsel is brought to safety once more.
The twist in this story however, is that the damsel and Strength forgive Shadow. They know from an endless cycle of the damsel being captured, is that Shadow only wants to protect the damsel from the world she has encountered. From the harshness of people, and from the sharpest blades of words. To protect her from disappointment, loneliness and abandonment.
They understand that all Shadow ever wanted was to love and to be loved in return.