Late last year I was diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder ~ a personality disorder also known as borderline personality disorder. To be honest I don’t like the name of the illness, even if the description fits. It makes me sound scary, like I could snap at the click of a finger and become ‘unstable’. I don’t think that’s true (I certainly hope I don’t come across that way), but that’s my opinion. Though ever since my diagnosis I have been trying to find out exactly what is borderline personality disorder?
I spent some time on elefriends talking with other people with the same diagnosis and had a look around on the web for other people’s experiences. None felt quite like mine but I guess everyone is different, so I decided to see what different organisations had to say.
According to mind.org it is,
A mental health problem where your attitudes, beliefs and behaviours cause you longstanding problems in your life
However I prefer the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) explanation,
A serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of instability in moods, behaviour, self-image and functioning
Don’t get me wrong neither of these paint a pretty picture, then again living with the disorder isn’t always pretty either. People with BPD often have intense bouts of anger, depression and anxiety (amongst other feelings) that last a few hours to a few days. Essentially it’s a constant emotional rollercoaster that you can’t get off. You can find out more about symptoms here.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I have struggled with mental health issues from the age of 13. Looking back I think it should have always been a BPD diagnosis, but unfortunately it’s a disorder that is regularly misdiagnosed. For me, I have spent 13 years growing up and trying to manage and understand this illness without professional help due to a misdiagnosis, but I have still managed to develop tools and techniques to help me cope. If you’re in the same boat or know someone who you think might be then don’t despair you can get the help you need if you’re willing to be persistent.
Help & Therapy
Since my rediagnosis I have been offered help. I am currently undergoing assessment for dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) and it is looking positive for the first time in a while. I will still have to wait for a few months (NHS cuts) but I think I will finally be able to regulate and manage my mental health. Yay for me! There are other options available as well such as psychotherapy and medication but for me they just weren’t the right fit. I tried medication but only managed 3 days before the side effects got too much for me.
I’m actually really nervous about posting this. I know that BPD has a strong stigma and I’m not 100% sure how people will react to this. I hope that the people I know won’t act differently around me but I know that to some extent it’s inevitable. I have yet to experience openly hostile stigma (and hope I never will) but I have certainly felt like an outsider and know just how demoralising it can be. I often push down and ignore my emotions in order to feel more acceptable and stop the constant replaying of each and every interaction in my mind. I just hope by sharing my story people see that those with serious mental illnesses aren’t all scary murderers but people that are trying to find their place in society as well.