So you’ve seen Single White Female, Fatal Attraction and Girl, Interrupted and you think you’re totally clued in on what BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) is all about. WRONG. Of all the possible mental illnesses and particularly ones found more commonly in women, BPD is often the most stigmatised, dramatised and demonised.
I was officially diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2008 when I was 28 years old, after much reluctance and avoidance of obtaining psychiatric treatment for what I thought was just “the way I am”. I always had a feeling something wasn’t quite right. I didn’t have that same spark as the other kids and I felt an emptiness I couldn’t describe. I struggled with concurrent opposing emotions and feelings that to me seemed normal but I later discovered were far from it.
These signs will help you know if you should see a psychologist. Post continues after video.
Whilst most people with BPD start showing symptoms in late adolescence or early adulthood, mine became explosive and beyond unmanageable around age 19. Whilst there is still no definitive cause for BPD, family inherited biology and childhood traumatic experiences remain the key factors. For me, it was the latter.
Outward symptoms started to show more and more — emotional detachment, paranoia, anxiety about EVERYTHING (self-analysing everything is your soul mantra), self-harm and a constant fear of abandonment. I acted out in binge drinking, tantrums, anger, risky behaviour, promiscuity — all with very little care for those around me.
Then, I found a psychiatrist who got it, he got me and he damn near fixed me. He introduced me to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, hard truths and honest emotional realisations I had not ever thought honestly about, let alone spoken about. That was the beginning of what became ‘dealing with my illness.’ Because, YES, Borderline Personality Disorder is an illness.
Living with BPD sometimes feels like you have 10 voices in your head — all telling you “what’s wrong with this?”, “why this?”, “I care/I don’t care”, “why wasn’t I invited, he must hate me, why is that person staring at me?”. It can become so overwhelming and isolating that the simplest interactions and relations become a giant saga in your mind. Sometimes, I still struggle to understand the meaning or true intent of something someone has said to me as innocent as the comment may be. I want to trust and I want to let people in but that little mesh BPD net still keeps itself close by. It’s safety and it’s fear, all at the same time.
There are days I don’t want to leave my bed, days I want to spend more money than I can, days where one wrong outfit will mean cancelling my going out plans, days where I will be the most productive person on earth, days where I will be the most excitable happy person around. And then there are the days where I just don’t feel I belong anywhere. One of the biggest myths about BPD is that we are uncaring and apathetic. But my BPD friends and I have often talked about how sensitive and aware we are about everything around us to the point of constant scepticism and paranoia of other people’s emotions and/or intentions.