MENTAL HEALTH | May 19

Parenting with Borderline Personality Disorder

AMY STEVENS

Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental condition, and can be extremely challenging to manage while parenting.

Some days are a huge struggle. I struggle with mood swings, exhaustion, anxiety and so much more – but being a mom is the most amazing thing I have ever been able to experience. I am getting better, and my little boy has been the driving force behind my recovery.

Here are few things that I’d like you to know about parenting with borderline personality disorder:

1. Yes, I do sometimes have anger issues. However, I must stress that I have never, ever harmed my son. My anger – as with a lot of people with BPD – is internalized or taken out on myself. People with borderline personality disorder are often thought of as crazy and out of control, but I can honestly say that the majority of us work damn hard every day to keep the anger at bay. We are not all aggressive and angry people, and I am proof of this.

2. I love my son! I love my little boy unconditionally. With BPD, you tend to think in a very black or white way. All or nothing. The love for my son is an example of this. I do and always have loved him 100%. Even in the darkest of times when I was considering the very worst, he was always the most important thing. He is quite simply the reason I am alive.

3. Parenting is tough, whether you struggle with mental health issues or not. But I feel it is so much harder with a diagnosis of BPD – or any mental health issue. Daily struggles with anxiety, black and white thinking, worry and panic, mood swings and impulsive behaviors make parenting a hell of a lot tougher. However, having said this, I would never walk around thinking everyone else has it easier. I know that most people are silently fighting battles many of us will never know about.

4. I am a good mom. The majority of people and professionals I have been in contact with have the assumption that BPD means you're a bad parent. I have first-hand experience being forced to believe that I was destined to be a bad, damaged mother. But you know what, I am not! I might have to work a bit harder at some or most things, but I work to be a good mom – so I am.

5. Everything is going to be okay. I am going to be okay. My son is going to be okay. Some days might be a struggle, and some weeks I might have to work harder, but it will be okay in the end. I have an amazing husband who is such a support to both of us. BPD doesn’t have to mean you are a bad mom – or dad!

6. Unfortunately, the stigma is still around borderline personality disorder, especially parenting with BPD, but it doesn’t mean the negative stereotypes are true! As a mom with BPD, this doesn't scare me from sharing my stories about parenting with borderline personality disorder. I refuse to keep quiet about the subject.

Even though it's hard, I am a fighter and I don’t give up easily. I will continue to work hard every single day to ensure my little boy has a happy, safe, and loving life.