I think people really underestimate the incredible strength it takes for someone with BPD to maintain close relationships and to show the whole of themselves to someone they have that close connection with. Because BPD is so stigmatised, a lot of people experiencing it tend to present themselves in social settings as someone who 'has it together'. A lot of things people will miss is the long sleeved shirts hiding their scars from self harm the night before, the fact that two nights ago they were admitted to emergency with high Suicide risk and ideation, and how majority of their days they go through it feeling chronically empty. It is really hard, especially when first being diagnosed, to maintain those close and interpersonal relationships with people. You spend majority of your adolescent years trying to get people to like and accept you, that is how over bearing this illness truly is. It feels impossible some of the time to accept your own illness, so how are others around you suppose to take that all on board too?
I tend to write things down now when people around me have done kind gestures to ensure I am feeling safe when I do expose my agony and battle with my illness to them. I experienced dissociation at training last night at my football training. Through out the training session I felt quite on top pf my emotions, but unfortunately when the training died down and ended, the despair and emptiness started to surface. Something was coming up and I didn't want to enter any form of psychosis so I stepped away from the cool down as I was having a panic attack. A friend saw I was struggling, sat with me and calmed me down. This small act of kindness then settled me enough in the moment to gather my thoughts and remind myself that I was present, as I was starting to feel distant and 'not there'. Another friend saw I was struggling and comforted me, as well as another team mate messaging me when I arrived home on Facebook. All three people were crucial in a time where my illness could of escalated and I could of ended up hospitalised. Not everyone seems to be aware thats how fragile someone can be in those moments of despair.
Today I spent a lot of time reflecting on my relationships and friendships I have had over the 11 years of battling BPD and PTSD. I had to leave some 'friends' in the past, but I dont think I would have it any other way now. This has opened the gateway for me to cherish and be grateful for the friends who do love me despite my diagnosis and 'behaviours' I may show when I am in crisis. The people that can differ between the two, and still love me unconditionally. Two way friendships were we can both support each other and look out for each other.
So if I have any advice for someone who is newly diagnosed is not everyone is going to accept you and your illness. Not everyone is going to like you or be gentle or even validate you when you need it. And as soon as you notice someone repeating those behaviours of invalidation and neglect, you leave them behind. Concentrate on the small acts of kindness around you as they can save you in moments of despair. Those people are the ones who show that they care, not say they do with no actions to follow suit.