Editor’s note: If you or a loved one are living with eating disorder(s), borderline personality disorder, or have experience with self harm the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Syanne Centeno is an advocate for ending the stigma associated with mental illness and a former Miss Maryland who is living with Borderline Personality disorder. She has appeared in radio, magazine and television interviews speaking about mental illness and is currently an Ambassador for One In Four. We asked Syanne to share her story with our app.
Here’s what she shared with us:
Diagnosis and Stigma
“My name is Syanne Centeno and I have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder for about a year. I am most passionate about fighting the stigma associated with mental illness. I have personally experienced this stigma when being vocal about my own condition. I have appeared in radio, magazine, and television interviews talking about my mental illness. I once received an anonymous note from a parent at my old job saying that they did not think I was fit to be a teacher because I had mental Illness. This first-hand experience with stigma against mental illness is why I am so passionate about it.”
The Signs and Symptoms Leading up to Diagnosis
“I believe I’ve had borderline personality disorder all of my life, but it’s very rare for someone who is under 18 to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I think that I’ve had this disorder my entire life because I developed anorexia nervosa at 8 years old, and borderline personality disorder sometimes goes hand-in-hand with eating disorders. I also participated in self-injury; between the ages of 10-11, I would cut myself.
I️ struggled with Anorexia Nervosa for most of my childhood, and relapsed one time in adulthood. I️ am so grateful for how far I️ have gotten in my recovery, with a total of 20 lbs gained in the last year alone…I️ reached the goal weight that was set for me by doctors nearly 10 years ago! I️ feel great, and believe that I️ look healthy. In the last 6 years, I️ put on a total of 38 lbs since my lowest weight (I️ won’t mention the number because I️ don’t want to trigger anyone). I️ never thought I️ would reach this weight, but after many years I️ have finally gotten there. Anorexia is difficult to recover from, but you can do it if you fight. I️ did it!
As I got older, I started to experience severe mood swings that would last for hours. I would be happy, sad, and angry all in the same hour, depending on what triggered me. I had an intense fear of abandonment; I felt like everybody was going to leave me. I had these delusions that everyone was against me and it was absolutely overwhelming. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I knew something was going on. That’s when I decided to see a psychiatrist.”
Where Syanne Finds Support and Healing
“I believe the greatest support system in my life has been my fiancé. My parents have also been amazing throughout my hospitalizations and everything I’ve been going through. My advice to anyone who might be fighting borderline personality disorder and was just diagnosed is to remember that your diagnosis is not your identity; you are not your illness, and you can get better from this.
I also advise that you treat yourself! If you’re feeling sad or angry, or experiencing mood swings, take some time to relax—read a book, journal, spend time with friends– it will help you feel better. I’m a former Miss Maryland for the Miss World organization. I want to be able to use my story to inspire others to come forward about what they’re struggling with. If we all speak up, even just a little bit, we can make a huge difference in ending the stigma associated with mental illness, and others won’t feel so alone in their struggles.”
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