On the Borderline

In May 2013, I rejected Christ and became an atheist.

I was bitter and angry back then. I thought that the world, and God, was against me. In March 2013 I'd been admitted to a psychiatric hospital in South London after being found by a flatmate on my bedroom floor with a number of pills in my hand. I'd been in my final term of nursing school, about to sit my final exams and go to my final placement, when my life was turned upside down by a moment of despair.

They diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder. I had to quit nursing school. I was self-harming every day, sometimes more than once a day. I'd struggled with self-harm since I was 16. I'm 25 now, and finally clean from self-harm. It was a long, difficult battle to quit. I was also abusing alcohol. I'd drink until I passed out, because I preferred being unconscious.

I was so unwell I had to have a home treatment team come to see me at home for a few months. They were meant to be a short term solution, but it was either them or hospital. A nurse would visit me twice a day, to make sure that I wasn't going to kill myself before their next visit. 

I thought things couldn't sink lower, but I ended up without anywhere to live in September 2013. Legally, I'd made myself homeless "intentionally", although my CPN was meant to find me supported accommodation before my tenancy ran out. I was barely coping with life, let alone being able to cope with finding somewhere new to live. I ended up back in hospital, and then was moved into a hostel in Brixton for adults with mental illness. I felt like I didn't belong there. I was a graduate who was meant to have a bright future. I had nothing left. I had no hope.

Fast forward to September 2014, and not much had changed. I was going to dialectical behaviour therapy - two hours of group therapy a week, and an hour of individual therapy. I was still self-harming, still making suicide attempts and taking overdoses. I wanted to quit DBT because I didn't think it was helping. 

After being discharged from the psychiatric hospital in September 2014 after a short, three day admission, I decided I was going to quit DBT. I was put on a therapy vacation by the DBT services, who hoped that I would decide to go back to therapy after a set time off. I did go back.

During that break, I started to read the Bible again. I turned back to God out of desperation. DBT wasn't giving me all the answers. DBT was supposed to be helping me build a 'life worth living', although it was clear to me that it wasn't. I needed something more than DBT could offer. DBT wasn't taking my pain away, it wasn't giving me any peace. I couldn't find joy in distress tolerance skills or mindfulness. I didn't feel like I had a reason to quit self-harming. 

I went to Holy Trinity Brompton in South Kensington a few times during that break. My church now is Holy Trinity Clapham, but HTB was important for me then because although I didn't really get involved in the community there it gave me a safe place to reconnect with God. I asked God for forgiveness and accepted Jesus as my saviour.

I went back to therapy in January 2015, the same time I started my WordPress blog Jesus, BPD and Me. Jesus had already started to change my life. As I grew closer to God and studied the Bible and prayed, therapy started to work. I do not think it is any coincidence that therapy worked after I repented and turned to Christ. My self-harm started to be reduced and I stopped overdosing. I stopped abusing alcohol. I stopped making suicide threats and attempts. Eventually, I moved out of the hostel and in December 2015 I graduated from DBT.

I still see my therapist every now and again, but not as often as I used to. I'm free from self-harm and all of those unhealthy behaviours I'd once relied on to cope. I still have borderline personality disorder and depression, but the fact that I can cope and manage these is amazing. I want to live - I don't want to die anymore. In fact, I hardly ever feel suicidal.

Jesus has changed me and transformed me. In Him, I have found the peace I was so longing for. In Him, I have joy. In Him, I have stability and hope and purpose. I don't need to look anywhere else for those things. Jesus is at the centre of my life now, rather than my BPD. 

I no longer want to die. I am no longer bitter. I have the Creator fighting for me. There is this love and joy in my heart that I can't quite explain or comprehend.

Darkness never endures forever. Jesus is alive today, and He is changing lives. He has changed mine. If you'd have told 2013 me that in 2016 I'd be full of love and joy from the love of Jesus, and that I'd be free from self-harm and peaceful, I'd have told you where to go. In 2013 I was determined to die and to kill myself. In 2016, I am glad none of those attempts ever worked and that I'm still here. I'm glad I've been able to see Jesus change my life, and now that I walk with Him I will never be afraid. 

Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. - Psalm 30:5 

Louise Davey, 31/01/2016