Although I was dating women a long time before, I didn’t come out to my family as bisexual (bi) until after I turned 30. Not until after my borderline personality disorder diagnosis. Coming to terms with being ‘out’ at the same time as being open about my mental health (another secret I had kept for many years) has been harder than I thought. And in the midst of it, I’ve also had to come to terms with how my personality disorder impacts my understanding of my relationships with womxn.
As a teenager, I knew more about mental health issues than I did about the LGBTQ+ community. I felt an attraction to girls at my school, but I didn’t know how to express or accept it then. I didn’t have friends or family to talk to about being bisexual, but I did have personal experience of mental health wards, diagnoses and the effects that disorders have on those exposed to them.
Finding Myself, Losing Myself!
As I got older, I became more versed in LGBT+ terminology and my feelings about the same sex. I also began to recognise that my mental health was declining and hiding it would be a detriment to more than just myself. It still took many years to open up to the people around me and by that point, I had already self-diagnosed. A psychiatrist just confirmed it for me.
Borderline personality disorder or EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder) is a controversial diagnosis, but, if you do have it, it’s likely the difficulties you experience relate to how you view yourself and others, and how they impact your daily life.
Fear of abandonment has always been something I have struggled with. While many can also feel this way, having borderline personality disorder means that the fear is so overwhelming that I constantly struggle to trust. It’s difficult for me to accept human complexities when it comes to how people make me feel and their intentions toward me.
A Beautiful Thing.
The strength of my emotions also overwhelms me. I can go from high on life to a deep sense of despair in moments and often I won’t understand why. When my emotions change due to the actions of others, they take hold and whether they’re good or bad, I can barely contain them. And so comes the tricky part. How do I know, for sure, when my feelings for the people in my life are purely platonic? Add to this my sexuality, and my relationships with womxn can become particularly complicated.
When womxn form friendships, it’s a beautiful thing. Though society and media often pit us against each other, when womxn really bond, those relationships can give them a strength they never knew possible. The connection I’ve had with my female friends, even as they ebb and flow, has helped me through the most difficult times in my life. Without them, I don’t know where I’d be today. And so when I’ve been hurt by them, I’ve felt a sense of loss that’s indescribable. The fear of them leaving me has sent me spiralling so out of control, it’s as if they were a great love breaking up with me.
A Living controversy
The rage I have felt towards the people I perceive to be hurting me has sometimes felt so intense, I’ve been afraid to speak for fear that my words might curse the entire world. All of a sudden, the feelings I have for the person I love so much turns to a fiery hatred. I no longer see this woman as a friend, but an enemy. Someone who’s ripped out my heart and fed it to me.
My thoughts race and I replay moments in my head that leave me wondering what my true feelings for this person were. Was the love I had for them more than just platonic? I can’t grasp why I would feel so betrayed by a person I didn’t care for romantically. Fearing that being bisexual, and how I feel about them, will make them abandon me doesn’t do well for my mental health and so in my lowest moments, I felt great shame for who I am.
Just like borderline personality disorder, bisexuality has always been controversial. Many believe those who identify as bisexual are ‘greedy’, or ‘confused’, and so the thought of my female friends believing I might feel more for them scares me. So much so that I find it hard to tell them how they’ve upset me and why it has hurt so much.
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I’ve yet to find a way to handle this conundrum. I still don’t fully understand how and why my diagnosis and being bisexual are so interlinked. But knowing that this is something that will impact my relationships and myself, possibly indefinitely, is a start.
Maybe therapy will help. Perhaps there’s a self-help book written by someone out there who’s been through the same thing as me. Or maybe, just maybe, my talking about it here will help someone else who’s struggling, and in turn, give me the capacity to articulate exactly why this consumes me so exponentially.
Have you ever felt confused about your feelings for a friend? Has your mental health impacted your relationships? If you’re comfortable, share your stories and tag @bestgaylife