BPD and me

I want to preface this post with sending out some love to anyone who’s reading this who has a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) (also called Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder) diagnosis.

I know that many people (including mental health professionals) will treat you differently because of this diagnosis. I have witnessed people with BPD being called manipulative for how they cope/ask for help, abusive for lashing out while overwhelmed by emotions which often stem from abuse they suffered in childhood, being told that they can’t be treated – that they will just have to learn to live with their illness (which, by the way, is totally untrue!), and just generally being treated like crap, both online, and by professionals in real life.

This is unfair in the extreme. Your illness is not somehow ‘your fault’ because it was caused by how you developed from childhood. In fact, that just means that it definitely is not your fault.

As for the stereotypes, I have never found my friends with BPD to be manipulative, or abusive. In fact, they have been completely the opposite, picking me up when I’m down, because they can relate.

I have to say, it’s not all doom and gloom. Some people feel like BPD is a good diagnosis for them. They feel they meet the criteria, and are happy to have something to explain how they feel/behave. But even if the diagnosis has felt positive, I’m not sure I know of anyone who hasn’t had a bad experience due to how they’re perceived because they have BPD.

So, this is the part where I say that one of the reasons I know how badly people with BPD are treated (especially by professionals) is that this diagnosis has been following me around for a while.

Despite only meeting two of the criteria for a diagnosis (you have to meet five, and most people I know would meet at least one), and not meeting the criteria for BPD treatment (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)), I have had professionals tell me I have BPD repeatedly for the past couple of years.

This has changed their attitudes towards me. I have been treated with suspicion, I have had my crises minimised, and on one occasion, I was told that a member of the Crisis Team couldn’t do anything to help me, because I ‘just had unstable emotions and that was just how it was’.

The fact is, my emotions are very stable. Very stably low. That’s what depression is. I have flashbacks and nightmares which cause me distress, avoid things that might remind me of the trauma, and feel constantly on alert. That’s what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is.

Unfortunately, because of my need to avoid things that remind me of the trauma, it’s only recently that I’ve been able to start talking about it, giving professionals a fuller picture of what’s wrong.

Still though, because of my propensity for self harm/suicidal ideation (one of the two criteria I meet), the ’emotionally unstable’ label has stuck around, like chewing gum on my shoe. (As an aside, if you are a young woman who has issues with self harm, you are much more likely to be diagnosed with BPD than men with similar issues).

Not wanting to rock the boat, I haven’t really said much when people have said I have BPD. But it…just didn’t fit.

So, at my last appointment with my (new) consultant, I ‘put on my big girl pants’, and asked him about it. He said that it was on my records, but that he had it as ‘under review’. We had a chat about it, and in the end he said that he was very clear that I had a ‘complex mood disorder’. Mood disorder because of the depression, and complex because of the trauma. So not a personality disorder, after all.

I finally feel understood, and like we can make some progress.


9 thoughts on “BPD and me

  1. Reblogged this on the tao of jaklumen and commented:
    I’ve never received a #BPD diagnosis- just PTSD at best (and the psychiatrist that made it was a pill-dispensary machine- another story!). And not just PTSD, but I feel complex PTSD is the best fit. Yet a LOT of this fits me, and I’ve benefited a lot from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Please have a read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi there! I haven’t been given a BPD diagnosis– only PTSD, and I feel complex PTSD fits me the best. But I can relate to SO MUCH of this. After 30 years of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), I finally turned the corner when I was able to find a DBT therapist.

    Oh, and hello from #BPDChat- this is where I found your blog post. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This diagnosis has been floated around in relation to me too. Like you, this mainly has to do with the extent to which I SH and think about suicide. I recently experienced stigma when I raised it an an appt. with my GP, who dismissed it as outdated, insulting and not a label that he was a ‘fan of’. Despite this, for me, it’s an explanation for how I feel, a reason why I struggle so much with life and relationships. I don’t know if it’s an entirely accurate diagnosis for me, but I’m not as afraid of it as I once was; I know a few people with BPD and not one of them is manipulative or in any way unpleasant.

    Good luck with your ongoing treatment and recovery xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • your GP sounds like a delight – not! could you ask to be referred to CMHT and then assessed? a proper diagnosis could mean DBT or some other treatment options? not trying to tell you what to do, at all. just a wee suggestion. I hope you’re doing ok xx


  4. I can relate to this post. I have bpd diagnosis along with ptsd. Before that they said anxiety and depression. I’m on board with ptsd, there is no way I can deny it. Also match enough criteria for bpd. This is where I have found people react differently to me though. Very few people know, and those that do, treat me differently, with disdain, distrust and with no care or respect for my feelings. It’s as though everything can be blamed or pushed aside, not taken seriously because I have bpd. Thank you for writing so honestly.
    LucyLu xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry you relate to the post, because that means the way you’re being treated is very, very wrong. it’s not your fault you have either PTSD or BPD. that’s the fault of your past, and you should never ever be blamed. I’m so sorry this is your experience. This needs to change.
      Jen x


  5. Pingback: BPD… we aint all mnipulators | Bonnie and clyde

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