This month is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Awareness Month and in the interests of being completely honest, I must confess that I was hesitant about revealing that I have been diagnosed with this mental illness. In fact up until recently I had I ‘unspecified mental illness’ on my About page. I was worried about the possible stigma that I would encounter.
BPD doesn’t get the best rap in the media, professional field or even on the internet I have found. I committed to sharing an article or blog post on my Facebook Page about BPD every day for the month of May..it’s only the 5th day and I am already struggling to find articles that don’t demonise the illness.
In revealing that I had BPD I was worried that people would see these articles and see me in the words. That people would begin to shy away, worried about the consequences of getting too close. I was worried that they had seen movies like Fatal Attraction, and assume that, that is what all of the people with BPD were like.
I fell for my own stigma. In trying to destigmatise, I was holding back one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. How am I supposed to offer safe place for mental illness if I wasn’t being completely honest with myself. It was a fear that felt very real to me.
I know that the reality is that I am more than my symptoms, I am more than a bunch of words written in a diagnostic manual. I am more than the bad experience someone with the BPD in their life, because I am not that person. BPD is not a one size fits all diagnosis, every single has a different combination of symptoms. A person may even change the symptoms which fit them, as they go through therapy and life changes.
I also know that if no one talks about BPD in a more supportive light, then the stigma won’t change. If there is no new conversation then old image will continue to gain momentum. If people like me, people on the front line of living with this disorder don’t challenge the perceptions then there will continue to be the scary bunny boiler stereotypes.
It was this post I shared with Mindset Effect that was the catalyst for outing myself properly. I had touched on BPD in the past, but this was my story, how BPD affected me, the reality of living with it everyday. The post started something within myself, a desire to share the person beneath the illness.
I’m in a position to share my struggles, my triumphs and I owe it to myself to take advantage of that. I owe it to the people who feel alone, the people have been misunderstood and the people who thought that they were the only person in the world who felt like this. Most of all, I owe it to the people who know that there is something going on but don’t know where to turn.
Linking up with Kirsty for I must confess!
If you feel that you are struggling, I urge you to ask for help. Tell someone, a friend, your doctor, or a trusted family member.