Navigating the Complexities of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Rediscovering Purpose in the Games IndustryPosted: 2 Aug 2023
Since my earliest years, I’ve always sensed a profound difference within myself, as if I didn’t quite fit into the mold of “normal” childhood. It took me a long while to truly understand what was going on during this time.
Content Warning: mentions of suicide attempt, drug overdose, abuse, depression
Growing up was a bewildering experience. I couldn’t help but notice how other kids’ parents eagerly engaged with them, taking them on exciting outings and speaking to them with warmth and affection. It was a stark contrast to what I knew at home, where resentment and pain seemed to seep into even the smallest interactions. Sadly, those around me didn’t grasp the impact their behavior would have on my life in the long run, lacking the knowledge and understanding to navigate the challenges I faced.
School was far from easy; there’s no sugarcoating that. I felt like a misunderstood child, carrying deep-rooted issues from my home life. It led me to act out in school, trying to make sense of my own emotions and seeking the connection and support that eluded me. Unfortunately, this pattern continued throughout my formal education, resulting in suspensions and, eventually, my exclusion from secondary school.
At the age of 18, my world was turned upside down when I received a diagnosis that carried a heavy weight and a sense of impending doom. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a complex and often misunderstood mental health condition, became an unexpected hurdle that defined much of my adolescent and young adult years. The journey that unfolded was riddled with challenges stemming from the lack of understanding and support I encountered, both from society at large and from those closest to me. These barriers, coupled with a tumultuous childhood marked by various forms of abuse and the premature confrontations with death, left me grappling with profound mental and emotional damage. The struggles I faced throughout school, compounded by the stigma surrounding BPD, often left me questioning my potential for success in life, although back then, the notion of success itself was distorted and elusive.
Enduring Trauma and Breaking the Silence:
Throughout my formative years, I endured a relentless series of traumatic events that tested the limits of my resilience and pushed me to the brink of self-destruction. The chains of addiction, the unbearable weight of grief from losing loved ones, and the enduring scars of mental and physical abuse became the harrowing backdrop against which I lived. Growing up in an area with limited support systems only magnified the difficulties I faced. As someone with borderline personality disorder, I found myself imprisoned by the weight of societal stigma, leading to a cycle of silence and isolation. The world remained oblivious to the battles raging within, and I, too, struggled to find the words to articulate my internal turmoil. This self-imposed silence perpetuated a negative feedback loop, suffocating any hope of understanding and connection.
A Glimpse of Hope Amidst Desperation:
In a particularly bleak moment of desperation, I found myself in the grip of an overdose attempt, convinced that the concoction of pills would bring an end to my suffering. However, fate had other plans, and I survived the excruciating ordeal, enduring 48 hours of mental and physical agony. Anyone who has faced such a situation can attest to the indescribable anguish it entails. But it was during my hospitalization, connected to various tubes and fluids, that a profound realization dawned upon me—I needed to change and invest significant effort into understanding and improving my mental health. Thus began a journey that spanned years, characterized by unwavering dedication and a determination to unravel the intricacies of my symptoms and confront the deep-seated pain accumulated over a lifetime. Countless nights were spent meticulously documenting my trauma and its impact on me, tears flowing as I ventured down the path of healing. This process of understanding became instrumental in fostering growth. However, it is important to note that unearthing buried anguish can also give rise to dormant inner demons, which posed their own challenges along the way.
The Struggle for Survival:
Startling statistics indicate that approximately 1 in 10 individuals with BPD will attempt suicide at least once in their lifetime, with a tragic success rate. In my case, this marked the third time I found myself standing on the precipice of life and death—an experience further complicated by my towering physical stature, which presented unique disadvantages.
The Path to Recovery:
Navigating the treacherous path to well-being was far from straightforward. It required months of dedicated research into BPD, exploring not only its symptoms but also the comorbid disorders that intensify its challenges. Simultaneously, I focused on rebuilding my physical health through exercise and diet, being a chef came in handy!
A valuable resource in my journey of recovery was Dr. Daniel Fox’s borderline personality disorder workbooks, which offered comprehensive insights into the traits, symptoms, causes, and coping mechanisms associated with the disorder. Taking the initiative, I sought out weekly therapy sessions, a pivotal step in my journey towards rebuilding a sense of self and establishing healthy boundaries. These therapy sessions have played an instrumental role in my healing process, empowering me to develop a deeper understanding of positive beliefs and cultivate healthier perspectives.
Additionally, therapy has provided a safe space to explore the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that I experience, equipping me with valuable strategies to effectively combat and manage them. Through this ongoing therapeutic journey, I am gradually reclaiming control over my life and forging a path towards lasting emotional well-being.
Rebuilding and Rediscovering Purpose:
Having regained a more positive mental state, I embarked on a profound journey of rebuilding my life and rediscovering my sense of purpose. The shifting landscape of work brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic provided a unique opportunity for growth and self-discovery.
Determined to learn as much as possible from talented individuals, I initially delved into the realm of web3 recruitment, a learning curve that tested my abilities and expanded my horizons. Guiding and assisting others in finding their new career paths became a source of deep fulfillment and passion for me, particularly within the exciting domain of gaming. It was during this phase that I had the privilege of crossing paths with Liam Brennan, the CEO of Companion Group. My success in placing candidates effectively and empathetically led to an invitation to join Companion Group, a company that aligns with my passion for an industry I have long admired.
At the time of joining Companion Group, I found myself in a slightly diminished mental state, with my borderline personality disorder relentlessly battering my self-worth. The familiar inner voice telling me that I didn’t deserve this opportunity echoed repeatedly. However, I quickly realized that openness and honesty were key components of my recovery. I mustered the courage to have candid conversations with our CEO and other senior members of the team, sharing my struggles and vulnerabilities.
To my immense relief, I discovered a culture of compassion and empathy within Companion Group. Though they may not fully comprehend the depths of my internal battles, they approached my challenges with understanding and respect. This support system significantly reduced the time required for my recovery whenever borderline personality disorder symptoms surfaced. Whether triggered by external events resulting in PTSD episodes or a cascade of self-imposed shame and guilt, open conversations with my colleagues facilitated the necessary space for healing and rejuvenation. In instances where burnout weighed heavily on me, the understanding environment at Companion allowed me to take the time I needed for recovery, ensuring that I could return with a revitalized spirit in the afternoon.
While my journey is not without its hardships, such as waking up with a heavy heart and a pervasive sense of burden, I am grateful for the daily opportunity to engage with work that aligns with my passions. The industry leaders I collaborate with and the diverse responsibilities I have undertaken in HR, IT, and marketing at Companion Group provide me with invaluable opportunities for personal and professional growth. Acknowledging the complexity of my inner battles, I have learned that open and honest communication, coupled with empathy and understanding, not only aids my recovery but also cultivates respect and motivation to contribute wholeheartedly to the company’s mission.
In conclusion, my journey of rebuilding and rediscovering purpose has been arduous but transformative. Through unwavering determination, a commitment to self-improvement, and the support of a compassionate workplace, I have not only surpassed the limitations imposed by BPD but also found fulfillment in helping others while pursuing my passion.
I remain dedicated to my ongoing healing process, with the belief that open dialogue, empathy, and a supportive environment will continue to shape my personal and professional growth as I strive to make a positive impact in the world.
Written by Charlie Mullins, Companion Group