Monthly Archives: October 2013

My BPD diagnosis and me

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.

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Suicide and Self Harm: The label “attention seekers” needs to be challenged (Originally published by Time to Change)

The blog below was originally published by Time to Change, on their website. Please be aware that the content may be triggering. The original publication can be found at www.time-to-change.org.uk/blog/suicide-self-harm-label-attention-seekers-needs-to-be-challenged on September 18th 2013

Suicide and Self Harm: The label “attention seekers” needs to be challenged

Recently I have read a number of comments that have labelled people who have self harmed or have attempted suicide as attention seekers. I thought I needed to explain why this attitude needs to be changed.

A bit of background, I have in the past attempted suicide. I was taken to hospital by the police. I was told due to the nature of my attempt that I was not serious in my intentions. I have also self harmed. These experiences  have led to me being called an attention seeker and now I want to explain why that is not the case.

I myself have always hidden this behaviour and I think this will be the case of many people who have self harmed. The reason I have felt like I have had to hide this is because of the label of being an attention seeker and the judgement of others. I don’t self harm for other people. It is a coping mechanism, -and, yes, I know it is not a very good one. I don’t self harm to get people to talk to me and there are many other more effective ways I can think of to get people to look at me. Self harm is not a sign of an attention seeker; it is a sign that someone is distressed and needs help. It is a symptom of a mental health issue.

Suicide or attempted suicide is another area where I have heard people labelled as an attention seeker.  When I attempted  to take my life, in my mind was not the thought that I wanted someone to notice me or that I wanted people to know how I felt. My feelings were of hopelessness and of very little self worth. I felt that the world and my friends and families lives would be greatly enhanced without me. I wanted a way to escape the world and the pain that felt like it was tearing me apart.

I became scared about what I was doing and I told a friend what I had done not in an attempt to get attention but in order to ask for help. Maybe to some people that will be the same thing but to me it wasn’t.

This isn’t made easier when the fear of being labelled an attention seeker is added on top. In summary next time you hear or see someone who has self harmed or attempted suicide please don’t call them an attention seeker. It’s unfair as they are doing the best they can to live through a difficult time.