Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Broken Wire

     This April, I had a lot going on...

     Early in the month I found out that I have borderline personality disorder. This came as somewhat of a shock, honestly. I mean in reality, when I first found out, I didn't even know what borderline was. I've struggled emotionally, socially, and mentally in certain ways most of my life, but I've only ever been officially diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and so all of the other issues I had I just assumed were a result of me being a "bad" person. Finding out I have borderline was a mixed bag of emotions...

      It was great to finally have answers. I could finally pinpoint behavioral and emotional issues and where they come from, and I could even make sense of issues in my past. I have answers now that I never had before. But on the same coin, I now have lots of new questions... Where do I go now? Now that I know the source, what can I do to fix it, to cope, or at least regulate my borderline episodes?

     Needless to say, this discovery of borderline has been a big source of stress...

     About a week after finding out that I have borderline, through talking to my friends and family about things I thought were just normal, I was recommended to go to a cardiologist. See, I was born with a pectus excavatum which is a condition where the ribs and sternum sink in, making a crater-like dent in the middle of the chest. Since I've only ever lived in my body, I thought it was totally normal to occasionally get piercing chest pains, shortness of breath, dizziness, and vomiting while working out or even in other less intense situations. I thought that at least it was because I wasn't in the best of shape (and that may be part of it). But I found out more recently that maybe that's not so normal... at least, not for other people. So, with concern from family and friends, and doing my own research, I decided it best to meet with a cardiologist.

     Upon going in, the cardiologist (well technically he's a cardiothoracic surgeon) said my pectus definitely looked deep enough to cause functional limitations, and ordered some tests to be done to measure how much of an effect it is having to confirm whether or not I should get/need to get surgery. The first test was an EKG, and the results of said test were that I have a "normal irregular" heartbeat (literally, that's what they told me), and also, my heart is not in the normal location within the chest. Instead, my heart is to the left, and close to the surface. The other two tests I did, which included a breath test and ultrasound on my heart both came back pretty normal, at least according to the technicians, and I still have a few more tests to do. So, I don't have an answer yet, but that's been happening.

     So yes, this was most definitely stressful. Especially considering that in the beginning, my main concern was that my aorta could potentially be dilated, and therefore at risk for bursting, but the tests so far have at least somewhat eased that fear. But, if you add on top of this the fact that about a week earlier I learned that I have borderline, then, yeah.... April was.... stressful....

     So almost all of April I was stressing about my borderline and my pectus excavatum and the potential health problems it may be causing, plus on top of that the normal stress of work, school, callings, etc.

     To top it all off, just a few days ago, my car broke down. Now, car breakdowns are traumatic and stressful experiences for me (as I'm sure they are for many people), especially because I work 40 minutes from home. So late on Thursday night I call my insurance company to tow my car to the repair shop, and call my dad to pick me up. On top of everything I've been stressing about, I now have car issues to worry about that could be expensive, and if it took a long time to fix, would also make it difficult to get to work.

     Well, Friday afternoon I get a call from the repair shop. They told me they found the problem, and it was just a little wire that connected to the ignition, and that was why the car died. The repair shop very generously fixed the small wire without cost, and once my father got home from work, he took me to pick up my car.

     Driving home, I had an interesting thought. What if all of the things I'm dealing with in this life are just little broken wires? What if my experiences seem so traumatic at the time, but once the problem is fixed, I can look back with a smile, a laugh, and a sigh of relief and realize it was something so small compared to the grand scheme of things? What's funny is I realized this is my "normal". Borderline personality disorder may seem alien to other people, in fact, most people don't even know what it is. I didn't know what it was until a month ago, yet I've been living it for years. But you know what? It's my "normal". My pectus excavatum and the issues that come with it are my "normal". I am my "normal". Now, that's not to say I don't need to change or fix things in my life, but that is to say that I can laugh, smile, and see the humor in being me as I seek to become a better person.

     Knowing my issues, my struggles, my quirks, helps me to figure out who I am, and who I can become. It's not an accident that I'm same-sex attracted, or that I'm an addict, or borderline, or deal with health issues relating to a pectus. No, it's no coincidence or accident. God knew that I needed all of these things to grow. And rather than wallow in fear and pain, I can look up to Heaven and smile while my heart beats to its "normal irregular" heartbeat. Life is so amazing. Of course, being borderline, I mean that now, but in a few minutes I might hate life. But that doesn't make my first statement untrue, because eventually I'll laugh again and realize life it amazing.

     This experience also taught me that Christ is the ultimate healer and mechanic. He has already paid the ultimate price, and all He asks is that I come with a broken heart and contrite spirit, and willingly accept His assistance. He can fix my broken wires, and He can make me whole. Of course, because Christ knows what is best for me, He may not fix everything right away. In fact, some things I may have to wait a lifetime to repair, but in the end I know that Christ will fix me and make me whole. And one day, I will look back on my broken wires, and I will smile and laugh and cry with gratitude for the experiences I had that shaped me and helped me grow, and I will have my loving Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ to thank for all of it. For without them, there would be no broken, and there would be no fixed, and there would be no me. And, despite all of the broken parts, it really is amazing to be me.

     My testimony tonight is one of God's love for me. I know He loves me. I know He has given me these circumstances that I may grow and progress. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the one true gospel, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is where I belong, and what I need to progress to be with my Father in Heaven again. Struggles come, but it's okay. It's just me, and I want to live my "normal irregular" life to the fullest, and become the best 'me' that I can be.


  1. As always......I just love you. I love your heart that is a little to the left and close to the surface. I love your smile and your shy personality. I love your honesty. I love how you fight for what you believe in. And I love how you are so accepting to those (like me) who don't believe in what you believe in. You are an always will be so special to me Mitchell.

  2. Great insight Mitchell. I especially liked the second to last paragraph. Love you brother! - Jake

  3. When I was in BAM! bookstore at the mall a while back I came across a book on this very subject of BPD and thought of you. I'm not going to debate the accuracy of the diagnosis, but I encourage you Mitchell to learn what you can about BPD without having to sacrifice your studies. Sorry for sounding like a mother hen.