Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) makes the inside of my head a loud, and oftentimes confusing place. Beginning in early adolescence, my life was marked by a pattern of impulsivity, unstable relationships, and a real lack of identity. As a young teenager and adult, I held on to the belief that my feelings and behaviours were normal, but had I had professional care back then, I believe I could have avoided a great deal of pain and hardship in my life.
For me, living with BPD was like living with 100 different voices in my mind and the masks to go along with them. The voices were constantly telling me that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough and that people were constantly judging me. I truly believed that everyone had an opinion about me, and almost 100% of the time, it wasn’t a positive one. And I would tell myself this over and over until it became a fact in my mind. The voices led me to believe that people couldn’t like me and that I wasn’t worthy of their friendship or their admiration.
So I began to wear masks. I became what I felt people wanted me to become, instead of who I wanted to be. I had no sense of my own likes or dislikes, instead adopting what those around me preferred, just so I would fit in. If they wanted the fun and happy Wendy, that’s who I would become. Even if inside, I was feeling sad or withdrawn, I would force myself to be otherwise because I feared that people wouldn’t like me if I was “real”. People often say that people with BPD are like chameleons – and I certainly felt like that for most of my life. I had no real sense of who I was other than who I was for other people – mom, daughter, wife, employee. They all felt false.
In 2006 my carefully crafted world of false masks and a thousand voices came crashing down, culminating in a psychotic break that landed me in the hospital and began my journey down the path of mental illness. That is when I first gained an awareness of BPD and realized that I had a disorder that was causing me to behave the way I was. I like to refer to this time as “The Enlightenment”, for that is truly when I began to heal and make positive and life-altering changes for the better.
The journey has not been an easy one. Nobody in life has an easy trek. We are all given a burden to bear and how we choose to carry that load speaks to our strength and character. I also believe that in sharing our stories, we give hope to others as they walk their own paths.
My name is Wendy Enberg and I live openly with mental illness. I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I reside near Edmonton, AB. I began sharing my story with others as a way to remove stigma and raise awareness and compassion for people living with mental illness. I started with a Facebook page where I posted inspirational messages. This grew into a blog about living with BPD at where I openly share my struggles and my successes. This wasn't enough. In July of 2014, I co-founded a peer support group in my community for people living with mental illness that provides online and weekly support meetings. Our membership continues to grow each day and we are gaining a presence in the mental health community.