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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

11
  • 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

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    • 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