Time feels like it’s moving very quickly these days. With only two weeks left in my program, I’m especially aware of how I am using my time and energy. I am in my second week of school for counselling and I absolutely love the effect it’s had on my self-esteem. In group therapy this week, we focused on interpersonal effectiveness and skills related to relationship building in general, both with others and ourselves.

Historically, I’ve spent a lot of time lying to folks about what my boundaries are, what I’m comfortable with and what I need. I’ve never felt that my desires mattered or that I had the right to ask for more. Whenever I did get a burst of confidence and managed to verbalize what I wanted, I often did it in ineffective ways.

Part of having Borderline Personality Disorder is the persistent fear of abandonment, whether the threat is real or not. This fear I’ve held on to for so long has led to me staying in relationships I should have abandoned long before I did. I tolerated neglect and being told I “loved too much” because the thought of being alone was scarier than the thought of being with someone who didn’t want all the love I had to give. I’ve come to realize that my love is worth a lot and shouldn’t be given to folks who don’t see it as a gift.

When I think about what I want my relationships to look like, I picture an honest dynamic where both parties feel respected. Sometimes, for whatever reason, that is impossible. Love is definitely not all you need; in fact, I’ve found it sometimes makes things much harder. All we can really do is assert our needs and listen to others in return. However disappointing it may be to realize, sometimes certain relationships need to end or at least take a long break in order for your wellness to remain a priority.

Every time I’ve let someone treat me poorly because I was afraid of losing them, I reinforced the idea in my head that I am not good enough, that I am unlovable, and that my desirability is based on my appearance because my insides must be rotten.

My pieces on having BPD have carried themes relating to self-esteem and self-love, because a huge part of recovery is rebuilding the relationship you have with yourself. I’ve had to work at my ability to describe and express my emotions. Without the clarity of my wise mind, that place where the rational and emotional meet, I am unable to assert myself in effective ways.

A year ago today I was a different person. I used self-harm, substances and other problematic behaviours to cope with the extreme pain, anxiety and loneliness I had felt for as long as I could remember. These coping strategies were not effective for me and it’s frightening to think about how unwell I was back then.

When people read my words, I hope that they believe for at least a second that they are worth the work of getting better. I didn’t believe it for a long time. My next article will be my last and I’m feeling a lot of intensity around this milestone. As always, I am excited to see what comes next.