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At age 19, after a long drawn out process of testing, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder a.k.a. BPD. My healthcare professionals had dragged their feet, unwilling to diagnose me with a disorder many consider untreatable. They feared the stigma that marks borderline patients as “undesirable.” We are often categorized as “difficult” and are rarely professionals’ first choice. Unfortunately I needed that diagnosis to enter the prescribed therapy. The reality is that while BPD is incurable, it is manageable through Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

Like all stigma, the stigma against BPD only focuses on the negatives of the disorder. It’s a mental illness, so of course there are many symptoms that create problems in our lives, but these symptoms don’t make us bad people.

One of the hallmarks of borderline personality disorder is that we experience intense emotions. Many of us seem to feel everything more strongly than those around us. This means we are “sensitive” to rejection and other negative reactions. Sadness often dissolves into depression. But this also means that happiness quickly escalates to joy. We are able to feel intense love. Many of us are capable of extreme empathy, so much so that we actually hurt for others. The trait that causes severe mood swings can actually be a positive. Because of this we can be caretakers, fun friends, and loving partners.

I like to think of it as being superhuman. In this case, super means “of an extreme or excessive degree.” The human part comes from the fact that emotions are often considered to be what makes us human. Hence the phrase ‘superhuman.’ We’re not better than anyone else, we just have an excess of everything that makes humans human.

It was a difficult decision to be open about this diagnosis. I’ve been open about my depression, anxiety, and eating disorder, but those are easier for me (and others) to talk about. Personality disorders are forever and carry a stigma heavier than most. To be honest, I’m nervous about the doors that may close for me because I am open about being borderline. But I have decided to do it because maybe by putting myself out here I can chip away at the stigma. I want people to see that most of us are not the borderlines you see on TV shows. We are regular, caring people, just trying to survive.

If you have questions about BPD or would like to talk with someone who has it, please email me at [email protected]


Comments

20
  • Kristie Townsend

    Thank you

    Posted on

  • Kimberle

    Amazing Kat!

    Posted on

  • Amber Taylor

    What you said really took the words out of my mouth!! It really helped me reading what you wrote. Thank you Kat!

    Posted on

    • Georgia

      Georgia Georgia

      Reply Author

      Hi Amber, just wondering do you have any tips on how to deal with BPD? I haven’t been diagnosed yet but Im pretty sure I have it…it’s kind of confusing and don’t feel like I can talk to friends about it 🙁

      Posted on

      • Vibrant Communications

        Georgia, thank you for making this inquiry. If you need someone to talk to about mental health matters, remember that the Lifeline is here for you any time day or night, every day of the year at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They may be able to connect you with local resources to address this need.

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  • Daniel

    Daniel Daniel

    Reply Author

    I empathize I was DID for over 8 years and am now fully integrated I also know of a book on someone with DID who is healed as well. When I had it I thought about suicide a lot but even with broken minds we are still worth a lot more than all the gold in the world. I had to go thru a broken marriage and a mind that one moment was good and the next moment I do not know what happens etc… My source is an expert on pain and humiliation. He underwent a lot of it himself. Now he is definitely an overcomer.
    The link to the book is on the website

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      Thank you for sharing your story. If you want to talk, Lifeline is here 24/7 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

      Posted on

  • Em

    Em Em

    Reply Author

    How is this a positive story that is supposed to help me feel like there’s hope?

    “Personality disorders are forever and carry a stigma heavier than most. To be honest, I’m nervous about the doors that may close for me because I am open about being borderline”

    All I got from this is that I will continue to suffer until I’m dead.

    Posted on

    • Vibrant Communications

      Em, We’re sorry that you are struggling and that those comments made you feel hopeless. But, there is hope and you do not have to struggle alone. Please consider calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @800-273-8255. There will be a counselor available to talk to you 24/7. Your life matters to us.

      Posted on

  • RAE

    RAE RAE

    Reply Author

    This is so reassuring. I found this article while I was looking at other articles on Lifeline after a vicious mood swing and I feel so much better. Does anyone else find that after or even a mood swing/breakdown that they feel so guilty that sometimes they swing even more? And get even more sad or angry? Sometimes while I’m in it I start bashing myself for overreacting in the first place, and what it does to my friends and family, that I start screaming and crying even more

    Posted on

    • Vibrant Communications

      RAE,
      I’m glad you reached out and found encouragement through that article. I’m also sorry to hear you are feeling distressed from this mood swing/breakdown pattern. Don’t hesitate to call the Lifeline for support at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). We are here for you 24/7/365.

      Posted on

  • beaten man

    I’m about to kill myself after having it thrown back at me by the people who were meant to help

    Posted on

    • Vibrant Communications

      Hello we are here to provide support to you in your time of need. Please reach out to the lifeline by calling 1800-273-8255 for more support and additional resources

      Posted on

    • Vibrant Communications

      PLEASE REaCH OUT AND TALK TO SOMEONE. YOUR LIFE MATTERS! 800-273-TALK (8255). Taking your life is never the answer. please call now!

      Posted on

  • Jax D.

    Jax D. Jax D.

    Reply Author

    I was diagnosed with BPD when I just turned 14. I was really exited to see that someone found such descriptive words and phrases that are relatable to explain what it’s like to have BPD. I’m 14 turning 15 and I’m so pleased with this text.

    Posted on

    • Vibrant Communications

      Hello Jax, If you need someone to talk to, remember that the Lifeline is here for you any time day or night, every day of the year at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your life matters!

      Posted on

  • Marvin

    Marvin Marvin

    Reply Author

    I am so grateful that this site exists. I was diagnosed BPD with 17 and I feel so alone. Texts like this help me so much. Thanks for that!

    Posted on

    • Vibrant Communications

      Hello Marvin, We’re glad you connected with this site! You matter. If you ever feel like you don’t, please call us at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline crisis counselors are here for you, any time, day or night.

      Posted on

  • Jacque elder

    I am a retired therapist and university professor. I was acutely depressed and suicidal for several years and it was difficult to find help. I ended up in a residential site and when staff told me that my insurance company wanted me to go for assessment for BPD, I cried. As a therapist, I was fully aware what a garbage can diagnosis is, especially with woman.

    Sure enough, BPD was my diagnosis even though the diagnosis requires one year abstinence from substance and another compulsive behaviors. I had only been sober 3 months at that point. Yet I could not deny my fear of abandonment and rejection. Those had been driving me all my life. We learned DBT in treatment and that helped a great deal. I decided to embrace my BPD and become the most motivated wanting to Get Better BPD woman I could be.

    I have lost friends, colleagues, family and jobs because of my commitment to disclosure hoping to reduce stigma. Wish I could say that this sharing of my mental illness might even allow therapists to come forward with their suicidality. Every woman with an attempt history will get dumped into the BPD box.

    I embrace my glaring assets of myself, rather than my imperfections. I am perfectly imperfect.

    Thank you for reading my story.

    We still need you here.

    Jacque Elder

    Posted on

    • Vibrant Communications

      Thank you for sharing your encouraging words and promoting Suicide Prevention,Please reach out to the lifeline by calling 1800-273-8255 for more support and additional resources we are here to provide support to you 24/7.

      Posted on