This is a personal piece detailing my thoughts regarding my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and how it has made me feel. Please be trigger aware.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) to give it, its new name, is one of my diagnoses. It is also the one that I have had the hardest time coming to terms with.
BPD is a personality disorder that is thought to affect less than 1% of the population. It is apparently more common in women, with about three quarters of people diagnosed being female. The causes are unclear although it has been linked to trauma in childhood. It is more common for those with BPD diagnoses to have suicidal thoughts than any other psychiatric disorder.
So why has this diagnosis been harder for me to deal with than others? I think part of it is the stigma surrounding the diagnosis of a personality disorder. The word ‘personality’ conjures in my head a thought of all that makes me who I am. To then be told that I have a personality disorder makes me feel like there is something wrong with the person I am and try to be.
That thought hurts me more than many of the things I have experienced in my life. I do my best to be a ‘good’ person. I use the word good for want of a better word. I try to be loving and helpful to those I know. I try to think of others before myself and act kindly to others without judging them. I believe these are parts of my personality. Is there something wrong with this?
When told I have a personality disorder I feel that I am being told that there is something deeper wrong with me as a person. I also feel that this is the view of other people when they hear of someone with a personality disorder. The fact is this simply isn’t true. How can a person be ‘wrong’? Yes, they can do wrong things but that surely doesn’t mean that they are flawed so deeply that there personality is all wrong.
This is how I felt when told that I had a personality disorder. That I was flawed as a person. I was taught growing up that your personality is what makes you, you. I was taught that there was no such thing as a wrong personality.Then came this diagnosis that seemed to tip all I had been taught on its head. Suddenly someone was saying there was bits of me, as a person, that were so wrong that they could be labelled as disordered and needed to be ‘fixed’. How was I meant to deal with that?
That question is one I still can’t answer. I still find myself struggling with a diagnosis that, to me, makes me feel like a bad human being. For this reason I have opened up to very few people about my diagnosis. Only a few close friends know. My family does not. I feel ashamed of it and who I am. I think that is wrong. I shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed of the person I am. I already had very low self esteem before the diagnosis and this diagnosis has actually erased it a bit further. I know I shouldn’t be ashamed of the person I am but this diagnosis has coerced me into feeling this way. It has had me longing for something I never thought I’d hope to be, normal. I feel that the term personality disorder needs to be challenged along with the stigma surrounding them so that other people don’t have to feel this way also.
So lastly some words for you if you have been diagnosed with this condition. You are perfect the way you are and you do not need to change. The person you are has many strengths. Don’t be ashamed of being you. I know its hard to believe, blimey I struggle with it all the time, but please know that it is true.
For more information regarding Borderline Personality Disorder, I’d advise you to go and look on Mind’s website (Thanks to them for the statistics and info above) at www.mind.org.uk for a wealth of information and for contacts for support.