On Sunday a friend of mine wrote about how she was buying into the stigma of Borderline Personality Disorder by telling others that she wasn’t *that* kind of Borderline. This is something that I have struggled with as well and wrote about a few weeks ago myself.
My friend decided to face the stigma head on and instead of continuing to say that she wasn’t *that* Borderline, she wrote about her BPD. There is 9 diagnostic criteria for BPD and so hundreds of ways that a person can present with BPD. Each person then manifests these symptoms in different ways too. This is my BPD:
- My BPD is self destructive, sometimes without realising that I am doing it. It is cutting and burning. It is restriction and indulgence. It is using the dangers of the world to my advantage.
- My BPD is explosive, teeth aching anger. I have taken to whispering under my breath, clenching my jaw and digging my fingernails into my palm to stop the explosion.
- My BPD is self sabotage so I can leave you before you leave me. It is the belief that everyone leaves eventually and that everyone is just being nice in the meantime. It is being outrageous, pushing the boundaries and seeing how far I can go.
- My BPD is impulsive. It spends too much money, makes decisions on a whim and causes harm to myself and those around me. It reacts before I have a chance to think, to see what is the best way to move forward.
- My BPD is many faces. It is exhausting as I find myself switching faces to fit in with the people around me. I put people in firm boxes and get anxious when relationships move out of those boxes. I get confused about which face to use. Which is the real face?
- My BPD is projection and personalistion. Sometimes I am like an emotional sponge, mirroring the people around me and watching for the appropriate response. It means that I am sometimes slow to respond. I worry that my presence is causing those feelings, that I am a burden and I take their emotions personally. It’s not that I have done something to feel guilty about, but that my mind has convinced me that I have.
- My BPD is an intense fear of being left. If someone is late my immediate thought is that they have left, no longer wanting anything to do with me. If a loved one isn’t answering their phone I immediately think that something has happened to them. If someone cancels plans it is because I am horrible, bad and they have realised the *real* person I am.
- My BPD is emotional overwhelm. It means that I need to take down time to just be. This overwhelm point is reached quickly. It is a whole body experience and a feeling that those emotions are wrong and bad. It is doing anything to avoid that crushing feeling.
- My BPD is self inflection. It has not always been this way though. I lived in a bubble, not seeing how my actions impacted those around me. I do think that becoming a parent has helped to make this shift.
The way that BPD manifests itself in me has changed a lot over the course of the last 14 years. However it still weaves itself around my interactions and the way I feel about myself. It doesn’t always play nice and the pain of regret for words spoken in haste still burns deeply. I do know however that I’m also putting more tools into my mental health toolbox so that my BPD doesn’t have the same negative impact on my life.
What is your BPD?
Have you found yourself buying into the stigma of an illness you have been diagnosed with? How does it impact your life?
Linking up with Jess for IBOT!
Oh wow. It’s so complex!
You are amazing. The more I read the more amazing you become. The fact that you are so self aware within this diagnosis. Thanks so much for sharing. I know it must be hard to share at times, but your ability to share this has got to help so many people – not matter what their diagnosis.
In answer to your question – Back when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I bought into the stigma. I allowed myself to be defined by it. It became my “excuse” for so many things. That was almost 10 years ago now. I feel as though I am more self aware within the diagnosis and I know it is just my version of normal. It’s simply a part of who I am, not the sum total.
Have a great day Tegan! Look after you …
As always, a great post! Thank you for sharing….
We mock stigmas about the diseases in my house. It works for us.
Great Post, very informative.
That is a lot to think about. I think the stigma around all mental health sucks! It makes it so much harder to reach out and ask for help that fear of being judged through stigma. Snaps for you on being so open.
Thank you for sharing, Tegan. As far as I am aware, I’ve never met anyone with BPD so it’s something I don’t know anything about to be honest, so this was very helpful to read.
I learn so much from your work here!
I haven’t heard the details of BPD before, thank you for sharing what can’t have been easy to write. #TeamIBOT
Thank you for sharing this – the more we collectively know, the more we can lessen the stigma you speak of. I also imagine your level of self awareness is a useful tool in managing it.
Wow, I didn’t realise BPD could be so complex. I hope you know that you’ve helped others understand about BPD just from writing this post. Well done Teagan and keep striving to raise awareness.