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A Letter to My Borderline Brain

bigstock-133988690Dear Borderline brain,

I know you want to go to the hospital. I know. But you are okay, you are not in crisis, and you do NOT need to be there. There will be times that you do. You remember the boy who cried wolf? This is important. Are you listening to me? It’s nice to have people take care of you, but please remember that people ARE taking care of you. Your therapist and your psychiatrist and your nutritionist and your outpatient program leader are always on your team. They are not going anywhere.

You remember what it felt like before. You remember when the air felt so heavy that you couldn’t stand under the weight of it. That is not what is happening now. You remember when innocent things in the world around you triggered elaborate suicide fantasies. That is not what is happening now.

You need to stop cutting yourself. I know you are in pain, and I know the cutting helps, but – and this is important — you are doing this because you want to show people. You want them to look at your cuts and see that you are in pain. You need to stop. There are better ways of communicating with people. You like to write. You should write more letters.

You need to stop starving yourself. You are doing so much better, but it’s not enough to obsessively maintain at 114. You need to learn to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. You need to let go of the numbers, both the weight and the calories. I know it’s hard.

I know you’re not sleeping well. I’m sorry. I want to be able to tell you that it’s going to get better, but the fact is I can’t. The nightmares are a part of you. It’s up to you to decide how much they bleed into your waking life. It IS up to you. You get to make that decision. I know it feels out of your control. It’s not.

You need to stop carrying pills around with you. I know it feels safe to have an exit plan. I know you don’t actually want to die, you just want to go to the hospital. You do not have to OD to go to the hospital. You can just go. When you need to. And you DON’T need to.

I know that every time you stop to breathe, all you can think is “God, I want to die.” But that’s all it is; it’s just a thought. It doesn’t have to become an action.

I know it hurts, I know it’s hard, and I know it’s scary. You are doing so many things right. I don’t want you to think that everything you do is wrong. It’s not. You are going to treatment, you are taking your meds, and you are staying out of the hospital. DBT says don’t use the hospital as a crutch. You are doing such a good job of that. Please keep going.

I hate to have to be the one to tell you this…but you are very different from other people. I know you didn’t see it before. The things you say can be upsetting to other people. Very dramatic. I’m not sure how to fix that. You are very broken. I want to tell you to be less upsetting, but the truth is…I know you won’t. Even if you meant to, the broken Borderline part inside would eventually take over.

You are needy, you are difficult, and you are so different from everyone around you. But that doesn’t make you a bad person, and that doesn’t mean you’re beyond hope. You can do this. I know you can. Look how long you’ve kept yourself out of the hospital. You can do another day…and another…and another. I am so proud of you. Just…keep it up. Please.


A Letter to My Borderline Brain

Liz Briggs

Liz Briggs: Writer and thinker…stark-raving Borderline in the throes of ECT, striving each day to accomplish ONE THING that makes me feel like a responsible and contributing member of society.

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APA Reference
Briggs, L. (2018). A Letter to My Borderline Brain. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 15 Nov 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.