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Borderline Personality Disorder: The One Percent

By Alison, an individual with Borderline Personality Disorder

Sensitive content: Please note, this blog contains references that some readers might find upsetting, including references to suicidal ideation. Relevant support organisations are listed at the end.

This blog has been written as part of the #BPDAndMe campaign for Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month. The campaign was co-created with individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder, the Mental Health Improvement team at NHS GGC, the BPD Pathway Steering Group, and the Mental Health Network.

What is the one percent that gets me through?

It is a flicker of life force that fights alone against the darkness and the demons that reside in it. A spark that can’t give up on the idea that things might just get better. That there are still aspects of life that make it worthwhile clawing your way back out of the abyss even though your mind is one overwhelming, pounding surge of desperation.

That one percent keeps pulling you upwards. It forces your exhausted body to reach for the tiniest handholds despite the pain. It’s too fragile to help physically; this is one journey you must do alone. No one else can carry you out of that pit. They can call encouragement but sometimes their voices drift and waiver and sound very faint. Sometimes it seems like they’ve deserted you and there won’t be anyone waiting if you make it to the top.

When you’ve fallen and fought back so many times, you know what that perilous climb back entails and you just don’t know if you can face it all again. Because every time the climb seems longer and more difficult; it saps more of your strength. And each time the number and volume of the voices calling for you to climb seem to get weaker and more indistinct, while the demons trying to drag you down get stronger and stronger.

Then from somewhere in the darkness that one percent appears as the faintest glimmer. You hear a faint voice from above telling you that things could get better. To not listen to the howls and yammerings of the demons.

That tiny voice reminds you of the cat, how she wouldn’t understand why you left. And that makes you feel love burning inside while your heart breaks imagining her confusion. You’re her world; if you go she would never know why. It might seem stupid, but thinking of her unconditional love makes you tighten your grip again. And it tells you that – though you struggle to believe it – there are people who would be sad if you left. That you could miss out on something wonderful.

Despite everything you start to inch your way upwards. It feels like you’re carrying barrels of lead. You’re not sure why you’re still trying because the top seems so very, very far away and you’re so, so bone-shatteringly tired. You try shouting to see if there’s anyone who might help you. And right on the cusp of hearing, you catch other voices calling back to you.

Some of them are very thin and reedy. But a couple of them, or maybe only one, are stronger. They help you climb another short distance. Even though you know in the next hour, day, week you might lose hold and slip back, you’re moving in the right direction. The one percent is pulling you up, a little bit stronger than the demons trying to tear you down.

This is one fight you’ll win. There will be others. But in all of them, the one percent will be there, that little kernel of life that will not be silenced.

Support organisations

If you have been impacted by what you have read or if you need to speak to someone, please reach out for relevant support:

Samaritans - 116 123 (freephone)

Breathing Space - 0800 83 85 87 (freephone)

Last Updated: 14 May 2021