As some of you may know there is a criteria of 9 symptoms which are considered when diagnosing BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD)). To gain a diagnosis of BPD you need to meet at least 5 of the 9 criteria but each criteria can be met to different degrees. This means there are many different combinations of the criteria and therefore everyone who has the diagnosis is unique.
One of the lesser known criteria is hallucinations and psychosis in times of stress. This has been described below as mentioned on the NHS website.
“Brief episodes of strange experiences – such as hearing voices outside your head for minutes at a time. These may often feel like instructions to harm yourself or others. You may or may not be certain whether these are real.” (NHS website)
This lesser known symptom of BPD can be devastating but it is often overlooked by others. Most people focus on the difficulty with relationships and self harm. These of course are very serious symptoms of BPD but so is psychosis.
Often when you tell someone you hear a voice people will assume you have schizophrenia but it can be a part of many different illnesses, BPD being one of them. It means that an already stigmatised diagnosis (BPD) is even more stigmatised. This can be from others with the same diagnosis as well as mental health professionals.
It took a long time for me to tell my mental health team about the voice I hear. I thought that they would write me off as crazy and didnt realise it was part of my BPD diagnosis. I wasn’t informed that it was a part of BPD until years later, as different mental health professionals didn’t inform me that it was.
In fact I came up against stigma from some. They didn’t seem to take my symptoms seriously and dismissed me to begin with because I knew that the voice was in my head. They made out that it wasn’t a big deal even though it was still distressing. It took some time to persuade them to give me treatment. In fact one professional told me that because the psychosis was part of BPD I would never be able to get help with it. This was untrue as my current psychiatrist believes it can be helped by medication and I just haven’t found the right one yet that doesn’t cause me side effects.
Of course not everyone who has a BPD diagnosis experiences psychosis but it is part of the criteria so many who have it will suffer. How many suffer in silence? I want to talk about this lesser known symptom and end the stigma.
Picture by me. ©Me And My Mental Health Matters