May is BPD Awareness Month so throughout the month of May I shared facts and information about the illness on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. But I thought I would share them all on the blog as a round up.
This was my introductory post to announce that I would be sharing information about Borderline Personality Disorder.
I thought it was important to share what BPD is and this seemed like a good explanation.
Many people mix up BPD and Bipolar disorder. They are have similarities (mood switching, intensity of moods) but are two separate illnesses. For more info check out Mind’s website.
BPD can be diagnosed when at least 5 of 9 criteria are met (see image for the 9). There are many different combinations and each criteria is on a spectrum.
This was just to give people an overview of some yes’s and no’s.
A lot of people say BPD isn’t a real mental illness but it is. There are a lot of theories about what causes BPD, but this doesn’t make it less real.
A lot of people think that people with BPD are manipulative. We are not and this image explains why. All the people I know with BPD are awesome.
BPD is exhausting. Unstable moods are a major part of this illness and don’t just change daily but even from 1 minute to the next.
This further explains the extreme moods that we go through.
Just a letter many people with BPD would like to write.
A lot of people think that people with BPD are sensitive. In some ways we are but there are reasons for it. We notice every little thing and if something is wrong we blame ourselves and wait to be abandoned. This makes any kind of relationship hard.
Many people with BPD have their feelings invalidated because people can’t understand the extreme nature of our emotions. We know to you it may not be a big deal but saying we shouldn’t feel that way makes us feel worse.
We shouldn’t lie to people in general but lying to someone with BPD can be catastrophic. It can fuel all sorts of thoughts, generally against ourselves. We start doubting everything. Everyone feels unsafe.
Little things can cause a big reaction for people with BPD but we also know that people will not understand why we have reacted as we have so we tend to hide our feelings. This can result in using negative coping strategies such as self harm or eventually exploding at someone.
Self harm is one of the criteria for a BPD diagnosis. There are misconceptions about why people with BPD self harm but it is not to be manipulative or for attention generally.
Some people doubt the seriousness of BPD but it has a suicide rate of 10%. 70% of people with BPD attempt suicide.
This is my medication that I take in a month. Most of it is for my mental illness. There is no medication that is made for treatment of BPD but it can help us deal with some of the symptoms. Each day I take two antidepressants, one mood stabiliser and an antipsychotic. I also have a medication I can take when my anxiety is overwhelming.
This statement may sound a little reactive but it has some truth. People with BPD don’t only feel negative emotions strongly, we feel positive ones just as intensely. This means we may come across as quite intense in relationships. But we genuinely love you lots.
Anger can be a problem for those of us with #BPD. With the intensity of emotions, our anger can be an explosion of rage. It can burn for a long time even after the other person/situation is over it. It will play on our mind. We may do or say things we regret. Sometimes we will turn it inwards.
I hate this about myself. People with BPD do get jealous of friends hanging out with other friends but we do not do this because we feel you should only hang out with us. We actually feel we are not good enough for you and are scared you will leave us.
People with BPD are very aware that they are responsible for their actions. Maybe too aware as they are constantly judging their words and actions. But sometimes, and we are not using it as excuse more an explanation, our illness causes us to act in certain ways that are difficult to deal with for others and ourselves.
Quite often people with BPD have trouble naming their emotions, which when you feel them so intensely and act out on them can be a problem in getting others to understand you. It is also frustrating as we wish we had the words for what we’re experiencing so we can get support.
This is something that is currently hitting me quite hard as I turn 30 in just over a week. This isn’t exclusive to BPD as many people who have a mental illness but I just wanted to share what kind of impact BPD can have. It is a serious illness.
People with BPD struggle with their sense of self. Part of that is taking on things from other people and our sense of worth often comes from other people too. This means we do our best to be liked so we feel worth. We also put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect and is part of why when we make a mistake we take it so hard.
People with BPD may struggle with a se se of self. In response to this they take on bits of other people depending on who they’re with. Therefore when they are without someone it can be a struggle to know who they are so they cling to people and may appear needy.
Living with BPD for me makes me feel like I don’t belong. I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere. The world feels like something I can’t navigate while others seem to just get through. Little things are big. Relationships feel like a huge effort. Even simple socialising is a huge minefield waiting to explode in our faces so everything gets analysed.
It is a myth that people with BPD are all abusive. In fact we are quite likely to be the victims of abuse and get stuck in abusive situations as even when someone is toxic we are scared of being left by them.
I’ve talked about the struggles of BPD a lot because they are a huge part of the illness but these same traits can have some positivity. We are passionate and empathetic among other things.
Apparently BPD gets easier to deal with, with age. And in some ways I’ve seen this myself. My mood swings when I was younger were much stronger and I was more reactive. I think things have got easier in some ways because I’ve learnt about myself and ways to cope. I’m not saying it’s easy, and there are times when it really catches me by surprise but it can be manageable.
The main treatment for BPD is Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT). The full course involves group and individual therapy. It focuses on dealing with the symptoms of BPD to make life easier. It is hard work.
I’ve shared a lot about BPD and the difficulties and differences it can make, but people with BPD are more than a mental illness although it can be hard to distinguish the lines. Please remember that the person who tells you about their diagnosis is the same person they were before they told you.
I hope this has been useful. For more information on BPD check out Mind website. You can keep up with me via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.