mental health · Parenthood

Parenting With A Personality Disorder

Okay technically two personality disorders.

Here’s a picture of me and my son JJ, looks pretty normal right?

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I might look like a normal mother but according to most of the articles available online people like me don’t make good parents. Articles like this create a massive stigma around parents, specifically mothers, with borderline personality disorder, saying we lack the ability to provide a loving nurturing environment for a child. I don’t believe it has to be that way.

Yes, I might have borderline personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder. Yes it might be an occasionally catastrophic cocktail of intense anxiety, intrusive thoughts, rapid cycling mania and rock bottom depression with occasional disassociative episodes, but that doesn’t mean I can’t love my child.

I will admit I spend a great deal of time imagining all the things that JJ could enjoy if I didn’t have mental health problems, if I could just walk into a baby group and let him play, or take him somewhere to meet some other babies without feeling terrified that everyone is watching me, judging and laughing as we sit awkwardly in a corner. I can have all these grand plans to do some amazing activity with him when the mania hits but when the time comes and I’m in “neutral” it’s a complete impossibility, sometimes just leaving the house is a daunting task.

It’s absolutely terrifying at times, even when I am seemingly stable the darkness will always remember my name, the madness is never far away. There is always going to be that shadow no matter what I do, so I can only learn to manage it.

I am working closely with several professionals to make sure my mental health won’t negatively impact JJ later in life, and I’m hopeful that continuing treatment will ensure a more lasting stability, or at least provide me with the tools to cope with the symptoms of my disorders. I refuse to believe that my diagnosis should be used as an assessment of my capabilities as a mother, I have nothing but fierce love for my son.

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