Introduction to Whitney Easton, Author of 'More Than Borderline'
I’m Whitney Easton and I am grateful to be the new co-author of the HealthyPlace blog More Than Borderline. I am living with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and as the name of the blog would suggest, I am much more than a label or a diagnosis. I am a young woman with dreams and aspirations and I’m also a woman with a story and a past. I believe there is freedom in coming out from the darkness about my diagnosis. I look forward to hearing your experiences, too, in struggling with, and healing from, borderline personality disorder (BPD).
How Whitney Easton Knew She Had Borderline Personality Disorder
I was angry for as long as I could remember. My anger constantly shifted towards others and myself. Starting in my teenage years, I began to struggle with what I understood then as anxiety. What started as an adolescent eating disorder quickly morphed into extreme impulsivity, substance abuse, prolonged bulimia, and reckless behavior when I moved across the country to attend college at a prestigious university in New York City. By 19 years old, I was forced to take a medical leave of absence in the wake of suicidal ideation and severe depression. A once valedictorian and competitive athlete, I was devastated, confused, and on my way to a near decade of chaos and emotional peaks and valleys. I always knew that something was different with me, I just didn’t know what it was or why.
Whitney Easton and the Diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder
I’ll never forget the therapist who uttered these words, kindly and compassionately to me: “Whitney, has anyone ever said the word ‘borderline’ to you?”
As we read the symptoms and characteristics together, I felt tears roll down my cheeks. I’d never heard the words, but they felt all too familiar.
My experience of the world was marked by a constant feeling of being “bad.” I thought I was the only one. To realize that countless other men and women had felt the feelings, experienced the pain, confusion, and chaos of BPD was one of the first times I felt the shame around my past behavior begin to lift. When I found out there was a name for my experience, I also began to learn that there were treatments, options, and solutions. People like me got better. We learned to cope.
Whitney Easton and Hope for Those with Borderline Personality Disorder
I don’t believe those of us with borderline personality disorder have to bang our heads against the wall for the rest of our lives, metaphorically or literally. Change has not come easily to me. It has taken time, patience, dedication, faith, and courage. Today, I live in a peaceful and mountainous neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. I hold a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, although I don’t work in the field anymore. My life is full of loving relationships with those who accept and love me just as I am, on the good days and the difficult ones. It’s my passion and hope to be an advocate for those still suffering from BPD and the stigma associated with it.
If you’re struggling, I want you to know that I have been there, too. You are not alone. My hope in writing this blog is to be the voice I wish I’d found when I first found out about my diagnosis years ago. May you find some sense of comfort in the words that are to come. We may have borderline but we are not defined by our diagnosis. We are more than borderline personality disorder and there is hope.
Easton, W. (2018, January 8). Introduction to Whitney Easton, Author of 'More Than Borderline', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, March 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2018/01/introduction-to-whitney-easton
Author: Whitney Easton
Hi Whitney, I was first diagnoised with BPD when I was 36 when I started being treated for severe depression. At first I didn't believe it because my therapist talked about black and white thinking. Thats all I heard and that was not me but after reading some of the other things other people had I thought that's me. I use to cut and I would cut really bad. I would cut for the endophine rush. When would cut I would feel no pain but my brain felt the pain and produce endorphines which made me feel great. The only thing bad about this is because I could only cut during the winter months because I wear sleeves so I can cover the fresh scars. I live in Minnesota and it gets cold during the winter. I also develop an eating disorder. When I got depressed I started to loose a lot of weight and I got off on that. I join the Y so I could get a free membership. I started swimming 4x a week. I lost more and more weight. I started adding weight training , running. I put my kids into classes at the Y. My therapist or doctor did not realize my weight loss. I had a very poor self image. I remember telling my therapist that I didn't feel like I was a person. I felt like I was a thing. My therapist taught DBT. I went through 3x but I think I was so severely depressed that I couldn't process it. I also wasn't having relationship or problems with anything. I also had PTSD. I'm doing a lot better. I don't have PTSD anymore, I worked through my eating disorder, I haven't cut since 2005, I'm no longer depressed. I was hospitalize 17x from 1996 till 2005. I was suicidal each of those times. I was also commited 3x but didn't have to go to the state hospital. I still wonder about the BPD I still have some of the symptoms. I worked hard though the worst of them. Thanks for sharing
Hi Denise, thank you so much for your comment here. I can hear you have been through so much with your experiences of PTSD, an eating disorder, feeling depressed, suicidal and self-harm. I am glad you're doing a lot better and I can see you have worked so hard to get to this place. Sending you all of my best wishes. Rosie Cappuccino - author of More Than Borderline
Whitney, if I can relate to my friend and have healthy boundaries with her, I will continue to be a supportive friend. I don't want to abandon someone who fears abandonment. That being said, i also choose not to spend too much time with toxic or emotionally harmful relationships. Sometimes there is a fine line! Wanting to avoid co-dependency, given there is alcoholism in addition to possible BPD.
Thank you for being so positive. If I get to a place where my friend may be willing to listen and consider the possibility of having BPD, I'll refer her to your website and blog.
She is in therapy, which is good. I'm just wondering (since she's so darned intelligent), if she hasn't co-opted or compromised her therapist. The therapist has said some "tough love" things, which is good. But I understand it can also be very tricky for therapists because of the potential anger and abandonment issues.... That's not an indictment of people with BPD, but I'm sure you're aware we're not dealing with healthy boundaries here.... And yes, alcohol and any substance abuse makes attaining health, healing, becomes that much more difficult.
I'd like to know more about this disorder. Thank you for bringing humanity and dignity to this subject- and for giving people hope. What you do is important, and I'm sure you are touching many lives in a positive way! Seeing you healthy and well-balanced gives me hope that my friend can recover. I hope she makes that healthy choice for herself....
Be well, be blessed, a sante!
Hi Whitney, I recently realized a dear old friend of mine really does have BPD - and maybe another mental health issue such as PTSD. She is having another meltdown right now, blowing up her life. I want to support my friend, but I can no longer put up with the lack of personal responsibility she displays.
I really appreciate your blog and your openness in describing BPD. Thank you for your honesty - also for saying there is hope. I suspect my dear friend is having difficulty accepting she may have BPD - quite possibly because there is such a stigma associated with it, as you said.
We cannot help our friends if we don't understand what it is like in the world of a person with BPD.
She may not even have BPD, although she displays many characteristics which look like classic BPD to me.
I really hope and pray she gets help. This is a very briliant and talented woman. I so want her to be happy, but I know if I don't deal with this correctly, I am enabling her NOT to come to terms with her BPD and moving beyond to health, happiness, and joy.
Her children and I have seen glimmers of health and hope over the years. We hope she begins to get better, because now she is alcoholic in addition to having BPD. Her health is crumbling. We love her and of course don't want to see her crash and burn or die due to making such bad choices for herself. Thanks for listening.
Amazing work. Mental illness is very present in my family. My two grandmas - one BPD, the other probably BPD and bipolar, my mother, my brother, another brother OCD, me -> depressions + anxiety (until I actually learned to make friend with it :) etc...
I believe your work is sooooo essential Whitney. I will share it with as many people as I can. Thank you for your effort. Continue taking good care of yourself.
I'm happy to have read this, as the mother of a BPD adult daughter who is really struggling. We are both learning. Every day. Thank you!
Thank you for reading! I know this writing has given my mom hope, too. BPD affects all of us, not just the diagnosed. I hope you keep following along with my journey, I will write something for family members soon. -Whitney
BPD*, not BOD lol...
Hi Whitney, I’m excited to read your blog. I have BOD and my life’s goal is to write a book about it, I’ve really been struggling for the past 5 years after a trauma, and I am searching for BPD positivity online. Our stories sound quite similar - I had the world going for me, but knew something was “wrong”. Anyway, take care and nice to meet a fellow survivor! ?
Thanks so much for reading Calitlin! Nice to meet you, too & I hope you enjoy my words here. It can be hard to sift through the masses of BPD writings online, but I hope to be one voice of positivity ?
Welcome Whitney! What a great message of hope and strength ?
Thank you, Tia! ??