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Borderline Personality Disorder: Julian Mauricio Shares His Story

Borderline Personality Disorder: Julian Mauricio Shares His Story

Borderline personality disorder is a condition that not a lot of people might be familiar with. Here, we interview Julian Mauricio to share his experiences as someone diagnosed with borderline personality. Learn more as he sheds some light on what effects it can have on a person’s mental health.

Can you introduce yourself?

Hi, I’m Julian, and I’m an alcoholic. Kidding! My full name is Juan Leonardo Bonifacio Mauricio. Growing up, I used to tell everyone I was named after Leonardo, the katana-wielding leader of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But I was actually named after Apong Juan Mauricio (my paternal great-grandfather) and Leonardo Bonifacio, (my maternal great-grandfather).

I’m 35 years old, and I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Fun fact: I sometimes have trouble introducing myself to others because of it. One of BPD’s symptoms is a very profound lack of sense of self. People who have BPD struggle with feeling like they have no idea who they are or what they believe in. This makes introducing themselves to others a bit hard. If you don’t know who you are, how can you describe yourself when called upon to do so?

How did you feel when you got your diagnosis? How did you know it was time to seek help or what events led you to seek help?

I was diagnosed with BPD in May 2015, after I tried to jump off the 13th floor of my office building. After that, I was subsequently placed on “medical leave” and told that I would only be able to go back to work after a licensed mental health professional deemed me fit to do so.

I later learned that that the company I worked for at the time does the same with employees who come down with physical ailments. I took it as a sign that the company was taking what happened to me seriously. Back then, the stigma surrounding mental health conditions was more intense. Many people—even some members of my own family—were dismissive of what I was going through. Knowing the company wasn’t like that made me feel a bit better about my situation, even though being on medical leave meant I couldn’t attend my acting class, see any of my friends from the office, or work.

Seeking help made a difference

About a week or so after my suicide attempt, I began seeing Dr. Randy Dellosa, a psychiatrist who works with the Pinoy Big Brother team. Doc Randy diagnosed me with BPD. I agreed to see him because I wanted to get cleared to work as soon as possible.

When I started treatment almost six years ago, I was in such terrible shape mentally that I had to see Doc Randy once a week. As I got better, my visits to his office became less frequent. These days, I only see him when I need to. For instance, if I’m having a major meltdown, I’ll book an appointment with him through his secretary. But that hasn’t happened in a while, thank goodness.

Honestly, getting diagnosed was a relief. Knowing that I have BPD helped me figure out how to get back on track. After I was diagnosed with BPD, I spent the next few years building a life that would make it easier for me to stay stable. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I didn’t know exactly what I was dealing with.

Teenage Mental Health Crisis: Red Flags to Watch Out For

What does it mean to be diagnosed with BPD?

BPD has nine symptoms. One only needs to show signs of at least five to receive the diagnosis. I exhibited all nine. Aside from the very profound lack of sense of self, I’ve struggled with impulsive behavior (binge eating, reckless spending, risky and unsafe sex), self-harming behavior (I used to cut myself), and suicidal actions and threats. I’ve attempted suicide four times.

BPD has made me an intense person. Every emotion I feel is amplified a thousandfold. I’m never just happy, I’m euphoric. I’m never just sad, I’m melancholic. You get the idea. Furthermore, people learn very quickly not to piss me off because one of this illness’s symptoms is explosive, intense bursts of uncontrollable anger. Madali akong mapuno kaya I break down over what most people would consider small things, which is exhausting, to say the least.

Dealing with BPD isn’t easy

Stress and BPD don’t mix well at all. When I’m stressed, I exhibit what Doc Randy has described as “dissociative symptoms marked by extreme paranoia, suspicion, and a disconnection from reality.” For example, my mind can trick me into believing that everyone hates me and wants to see me fail. When that happens, it’s almost impossible for me to snap out of it.

Since the pandemic began, many people have said that being in lockdown or quarantine has left them anxious and depressed. On that note, let me tell you that the average person’s worst mental health day in the time of COVID-19 is a normal day for someone with BPD. That’s how difficult it is to live with this disorder. But you know what? I honestly believe having BPD prepared me to deal with our current situation. Nasanay na kasi ako mag-function even if I feel like everything is falling apart. Now that it actually is, keri ko pa rin kumilos.

What’s the usual treatment for this type of disorder?

No. There’s no cure for BPD. The only thing you can do is learn to manage the symptoms. In the beginning, that was really hard for me. I struggled to control my emotions and express them in a healthy way. But thanks to medication, talk therapy, and the support of my relatives (most of whom weren’t supportive at first, but they came around eventually), I’m better at managing my symptoms now.

borderline personality disorder

How has it affected your personal relationships?

People with borderline personality disorder have severe abandonment issues. We’re always afraid of being abandoned by everyone we care about, so we do everything in our power to prevent that. Unfortunately, our efforts sometimes cause our worst fear to come true. That’s how I lost one of my closest friends.

He was a Filipino-British guy who came to the Philippines in 2015 to study acting. We clicked right away, not just because of our shared dream to become working actors, but also because I was one of the few Filipinos who got his unique sense of humor. When I attempted suicide for the fourth time, he was among those who came to my rescue. We became like brothers. Because he had no family in Manila (his Filipino relatives are based in Cebu), my mother cared for him like he was her own. We even traveled together, something I rarely get to do with friends.

Our friendship ended in 2017, after I accused him of not caring about me or my mental health. In my defense, I was having a really bad episode at the time, and I called him because I needed him to talk me down like he always used to do. Unfortunately, when I called him, he was hanging out with a common friend of ours who was flying out to Los Angeles for work in a few days.

He tried to explain to me that he just wanted to spend some time with this guy before he left, but I wasn’t having it. I was furious that he was putting someone else before me and I told him so. He took offense at that and cut me off. We haven’t spoken since.

Hindsight is 20/20

Now, that I’m more stable emotionally and mentally, I understand where he was coming from and I sincerely regret lashing out at him. I’ve tried to apologize but he doesn’t want to have anything to do with me anymore. I can’t say that I blame him.

Difficult, intense, and unstable relationships are a hallmark of BPD. My relationships with my new besties are as intense as what I had with him. I obsess about how long they take to reply to a Facebook PM, or if they don’t use emojis when they text me, because I’m so afraid of losing them. Thankfully, the three of us always manage to patch things up whenever we fight. I like to think that’s because I’ve learned how to be a better friend since.

How has BPD affected your work?

I struggle with chronic feelings of emptiness, meaninglessness, and low motivation. On some days, I breeze through my to-do list with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. On others, I don’t even have the energy to climb out of bed in the morning. That made it difficult for me to hold down a job.

Eventually, I realized that I’m not a nine-to-five kind of guy, so I decided to start a business of my own instead. Right now I do PR for celebrities. Being my own boss suits me because I can set my own hours, which prevents me from getting too stressed.

Honestly, one of the reasons it took me so long to answer these questions is because I find it hard to tune out the noise in my head long enough to concentrate on the things I have to do. When I’m stressed, it gets even harder. Breaking a huge undertaking down into several small steps helps.

Have you experienced any prejudice because of your condition? How do you explain your condition to others?

Yes. When I got a job at a digital media solutions company in 2018, I told HR and my bosses about my condition. I also asked them if I could come in after lunch because I usually spent my mornings with my mother, who’s recovering from a stroke. Luckily, they agreed.

Unfortunately, even after he learned that I have borderline personality disorder, one of my coworkers didn’t understand why our bosses were willing to make allowances for me. He often made fun of me, to the point where I’d have panic attacks every time I had to come into the office. As a result, I lost interest in my job and my output suffered greatly. I felt relieved when I was let go at the end of October, because that meant I’d no longer have to deal with my bully of a coworker.

BPD is a very complicated disorder. So much so, in fact, that even those who are considered smart have a tough time understanding it. Still, I try my best to educate those around me by telling them what it means to be borderline in the simplest possible way. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Warning Signs of Mental Health Illness in Older Adults

What have you done to cope with BPD? Have you accepted it?

I’ve always known I needed help, but I never really got around to asking for it until after my fourth suicide attempt. When Doc Randy diagnosed me with BPD, I was relieved to finally be able to put a name to everything I was feeling. After I left his clinic that day, I read up on BPD. If I had a peso for every time I said “this is so me” while doing so, I’d be richer than Elon Musk. So yeah, I accepted it pretty quickly.

In the beginning, I relied heavily on Doc Randy to maintain my stability. Now that I don’t need to see him as often, I cope in other ways, some of which he introduced to me.

For starters, I depend on medication to fight my anxiety and depression. I used to be scared of antidepressants and their possible side effects, but I warmed up to the idea of taking them after Doc Randy explained certain things to me. He said the right medication for me would have minimal side effects, which turned out to be true.

It’s not easy to make others understand

Although the medication and talk therapy helped, things were still hard for me because my relatives didn’t take my condition seriously, at least at first. One of my aunts even suggested to my mother (who was my only champion at the time) that I was faking it so I could use BPD as an excuse for bad behavior. That upset me, but I never stopped trying to educate them. Thankfully, they came around after a while.

My family situation improved even more when my Uncle (one of my mother’s brothers) married his wife. She happens to be a counselor, and for the last year or so I’ve been going to her for advice and support. She taught me some coping mechanisms that turned out to be really effective and helpful, like the Wise Mind technique. I use it to curb my anxiety and panic attacks. Thanks to her, I’m now able to react to things in a more logical way.

I also surround myself with the things that I love—books, movies, music, and TV shows. Cleaning the house and cooking for myself and my mother also help me stay stable. I’m definitely no Jamie Oliver, but cooking is one of my favorite coping mechanisms. I started cooking a few weeks after my first visit to Doc Randy’s clinic. It gave me a sense of control at a time when I felt like my life was tail spinning into chaos.

What can you say to other people who are living with BPD? Do you have any advice?

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have BPD, seek help. I can’t stress that enough. BPD is not something you can fight on your own. The only reason I’m writing this today is because Doc Randy, my mother Tinna Bonifacio, and many others supported me when I was at my worst.

But as the saying goes, you can’t help someone who won’t help himself, so you need to be an active and willing participant in your own recovery. If you commit to treatment, things will get better for you, I promise. That’s what happened to me.

What are some of the misconceptions people have about BPD?

Having BPD is exhausting emotionally, mentally, and physically. It’s tough to be fully present in your own life while you’re fighting a war inside your head 24/7. Those who don’t understand that call me inconsiderate, lazy, et cetera. But I’m not. I’m just sick, and honestly, I’m doing the best I can with what I have.

People with BPD are often portrayed as dangerous and manipulative. I’ve read that many therapists actually refuse to treat borderlines, because we’re known for being difficult. But to tell you the truth, there are some upsides to having this condition.

If you have BPD, you’re a survivor and a warrior. Being able to weather your own stormy moods is nothing to sneeze at. People with BPD are also creative, intuitive, outspoken, passionate, and protective of those they hold dear. Many people with BPD—myself included—find that channeling their intense emotions into some form of art helps them stay stable. In my case, it’s acting, singing, and writing.

What’s the most challenging thing about having this condition?

When you have BPD, everything—even things others consider simple, like brushing your teeth or tying your shoelaces—can be challenging, because the sheer intensity of your emotions can paralyze you.

I had to step up and become the breadwinner of our family because my mother had a hemorrhagic stroke. You can probably imagine how tough it was for me to adjust to my new role. Suddenly I had to care for my mother, hold down a job, run the house, and manage my symptoms at the same time. It was hell for the first couple of years, but now things have settled down for the most part despite the ongoing pandemic.

Being the head of the household is still challenging, but it’s a little easier now that my family understands the full extent of my BPD. They’re more equipped to help me and my mother out now. I also found a good caregiver for my mother. Not only does she take point on caring for her, but she also does most of the household chores. I just pitch in when I’m not too busy or tired.

I’ve found that the key to making BPD less of a burden is to communicate with those around you. Let them know what you’re dealing with and how they can support you, because like I said, this isn’t a battle you can fight alone.

Learn more about Mental Health Issues here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Apr 19
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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