I’m pretty new to the world of blogging, but having written and published a book I am used to bearing my soul for the world to read. Regardless though, there is a topic I that is hard to talk about. That is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). My first personal knowledge (aside from the movies) was when BPD was being described to a group of patients by some nurses at a residential psychiatric facility where I was a patient for some months. They were making light of it and told us that another patient (who was not in the room at the time) had BPD and was a typical example because she was a “real drama queen” and “always out for attention”. What more could they say to put me off? It seemed to me that they were just writing my friend off, and that just didn’t seem fair.
Fast forward ten years and I am in my psychiatrist’s office being told that I have BPD. For years I have been diagnosed as having depression, but there was so much that just didn’t quite fit. I had stumped a few doctors by my inability to be what they expected. I had been discharged from the care of a mental health service here because I hadn’t responded to their treatment and they simply didn’t know what to do with me. Around the same time I had also been discharged from a specialist eating disorders service for the same reason. They couldn’t understand why I said and did the things I did, and had simply labelled me as defensive, troublesome and refusing to change.
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV), the ‘bible’ of psychiatric disorders there is a list of nine symptoms seen in BPD, and to be diagnosed it is necessary to have at least five of these. Briefly they are:
Extreme reactions including panic, depression or rage
A pattern of intense and stormy relationships
Distorted and unstable self-image
Impulsive and often dangerous behaviours
Recurring suicidal or self-harming behaviours
Highly changeable moods
Chronic feelings of emptiness
Problems controlling anger
Stress-related paranoid thoughts or dissociative symptoms
The reason that I find my BPD difficult to talk about is because I fit most of these symptoms in ways that I don’t feel good about. It’s hard to talk about the things that I am least proud of. I hate that I react to things in extreme ways. I hate that my relationships can be stormy and that I am impulsive in many things. My moods change so easily and sometimes it seems like it is just happening to me, out of my control. Sometimes the way I react to those around just seems totally unwarranted but at the time, again, it feels like it is out of my control. The only people I have talked to about these things is the therapists I have had.
Most of these things you might not see in me in a chance meeting. A lot of it is kept inside myself, you would only see if you spent time with me, and my issues with anger tend to be directed more at myself than anyone else. Perhaps that’s why it took so long to put a label on me, or more importantly for someone to say they understood why I say and do the things I do.
BPD is really hard to talk about because it doesn’t have a good reputation. It is well known in the mental health arena that those with BPD are apparently the most difficult to treat, and many health professionals even refuse to treat us for that reason. The labels of ‘drama queen’ and ‘attention seeker’ are also freely thrown at us, when actually it is so not true. BPD is a real condition that needs to have its stigma removed even more than other psychiatric illnesses. I need to be accepted as a real person who hurts. A real person who wants and needs help. I don’t think it’s too much to ask. I am not a drama queen and I don’t think I’m an attention seeker either. I don’t think my friend was either, but perhaps she acted in certain ways because she was in pain and needed help.
I recently came across this description what BPD is. I’ve listened to and watched many of the ones available and unfortunately many of them are created by people who see us as the drama queens and beyond help. It doesn’t help. So when I listened to this one I felt I needed to share it. Please watch it. It’s only a few minutes to gain some understanding about a real issue. And in return I will try to keep telling you about my battle with BPD. There is no cure but I am determined to find a way for me to live a good, healthy life in spite of BPD.
There are many different types of vegetarians in the world, and just the same there are many different experiences of BPD. This one fits me pretty well but it won’t fit everyone. That’s okay because at the end of the day we are all individuals and we are all different.
“I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.”
“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something,
perhaps when you are least expecting it. I never heard of anyone ever
stumbling on something sitting down.”
~Charles F. Kettering
- All or Nothing Kind of Girl (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- What is borderline personality disorder? (halfwaybetweenthegutter.wordpress.com)
- Sometimes I Act Crazy: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (untreatableonline.com)
- A Fatal Attraction – Borderline Personality Disorder in the Movies (showard76.wordpress.com)
- Abandonment : “Leave me …and …I’ll Die!” (authorjaenwirefly.wordpress.com)
- Psychotherapy and BPD (neumannpsychology.wordpress.com)
- Dissecting My BPD and Suicidal Urges (gypsy116.wordpress.com)