Not Being Anyone Has Shaped Who I Am Today

By Natalie Ulberg 

    The theme for this month’s issue is identity, but who’s to say that lack of identity can also define you? My name is Natalie, and I have borderline personality disorder, often shortened to BPD. I was diagnosed early June in 2015 (however, my psychiatrist has been suspecting it since 2014), and BPD has affected by identity, or lack of one. 

   Overall, borderline personality disorder is defined as a pattern of impulsivity/instability in relationships, behaviors, thought processes, self-image, etc. People with BPD have no clear sense of identity, meaning we have no accurate idea of what we enjoy, what we are like, what we care about, what we believe, and other topics of that nature. Whenever we meet a new person, we begin absorbing small things we pick up from them, making it part of ourselves, known as imprinting. Imprinting is the main reason most of us have abandonment issues; when someone leaves us, so does their part of our 'identity'. Many people with BPD imprint on the disorder itself, as it’s a constant part of their life, which leads to it becoming the biggest part of their identity. This leads us to fear change, even if it’s positive. No matter how bad, “the way things are” will always be the preferable way of life. Change means a whole new identity, and most of the time we have no idea what that entails. We don’t know what anything entails, matter of fact. Most people with borderline will do whatever they can to keep people in their lives, as being alone means having even less of a sense of identity. This leads to the stereotype that we’re naturally manipulative and emotionally abusive. I’ll be the first person to admit that I do have some manipulative tendencies that affect the people in my life, including myself. However, this doesn’t make me, or anyone else with BPD, any less deserving of love, whether it may come from other people or ourselves. Not having a sense of self is absolutely terrifying. Just like the things we’ve started perceiving as shadows, the true nature of both horrors are only clear and visible when we’re alone, at three hours past midnight. 

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