The Rollercoaster of Healing

July 03, 2024

Gabrielle is a second-year Psychology major at NYU, facing life with resilience and courage despite Borderline Personality Disorder. Embracing my identity as a lesbian, my journey involves a love for dancing, musical theater, and the joy of caring for my two adorable baby siblings. Encountering a mental health challenge in the summer of 2021 ignited my aspiration to become a psychologist, now volunteering at crisis hotlines and interning at a mental health clinic. Join me in ending the stigma surrounding mental health as we spread kindness and bravery together.

This story took place in United States

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Trigger Warning: This story contains the topic of self-harm. If you are struggling with self-harm, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

The weight of disappointment settled heavily on my shoulders, a burden I had become all too familiar with. Each relapse felt like a step backward, a betrayal of the progress I had fought every ounce of me to achieve. Sitting on my bathroom floor, holding my knife, I sobbed. I broke my 6-month streak. When will I finally keep my streak going?

As I traced the lines of scars on my wrists, each one a testament to battles fought within, I couldn’t help but wonder how I had arrived here again. The journey of recovery, with its peaks of progress and valleys of setbacks, seemed like an endless rollercoaster. This phase of my journey, defined by recurring relapses and the ever-looming specter of Borderline Personality Disorder, required a resilience I often doubted.

Each stumble along this journey feels like a revisitation of a familiar nightmare, demanding a courage I often doubt resides within me. Every time I have a bad day, it’s as if the clock turns back to those haunting years of 7th and 8th grade. I find myself seeking solace in the quiet of the bathroom stall, a small sanctuary amidst the chaos of the school day. There, alone with my thoughts and the echoes of whispered insecurities, I would unwrap the remnants of a hurried lunch from my backpack. The crumpled brown paper bag, the squished sandwich, the forgotten apple—all mundane items that should have offered sustenance. Yet, in those moments, they felt like heavy reminders of my struggles. The only relief I found was in the sting of the blade against my skin, a temporary escape from the overwhelming emotions threatening to consume me.

In the quiet solitude of my room, surrounded by sharp objects, self-help books, and a tear-stained journal, I realized that the road to recovery was not a straight line. It was a labyrinth, where every wrong turn could lead me right back to point A. The sound of relapse whispered promises of escape. All of my problems would disappear for the time being if I relapsed.

However, amidst this darkness, I found glimmers of hope and resilience. They came in the form of kind words from a friend, a compassionate therapist who never gave up on me, and moments of clarity where I saw the value in my struggle. It was in these moments that I learned the importance of self-compassion.

I started to see my scars not as marks of failure but as symbols of survival. Each one told a story of a battle fought and a battle won, no matter how temporary the victory. I began to understand that recovery was not about perfection but about persistence. It was about getting up one more time whenever I fell.

With this new perspective, I embraced new coping mechanisms, such as journaling, reading, and learning to sit with my emotions and acknowledge them, rather than run from them. Slowly, the urge to self-harm lessened as I built a toolkit of healthier ways to cope. Today, I am over 27 months clean. It gets better.

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