People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are often thought of as manipulative, self harming attention seekers. Their lives are a mess … they aren’t able to function like normal human beings. Nobody would ever give them a job …
But, in reality, we really aren’t like that.
I was diagnosed with BPD last year. On 4th July 2014 I received a copy of a letter sent to my GP.
“Amelia is a 20 year old university student who lives at home with her parents.
Diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder with mood instability, self harm, atypical eating disorder, low self esteem, dysfunctional interpersonal relationships, and feelings of emptiness. Her mood is dysthymic and varies frequently.”
A week later I received another letter discharging me from the care of the Mental Health Services. Apparently there was nothing they could do for me.
The bottom fell out of my world. How could a psychiatrist label my personality as disordered?! How could they ditch me a week later? I have spent the last year trying to understand this big, scary, stigmatised disorder.
BPD is completely different for everyone. There are nine symptoms, and to be diagnosed you must fit at least 5 … so there are lots and lots of different combinations! Every day I understand it a little more, and for me it is a disorder of extremes. I completely love my diagnosis and completely hate it in equal measures. Half of my life is so dark that I can barely drag myself out of bed. The other half is bigger, brighter, and more beautiful than you can imagine. I can flip between the two in a heartbeat. Everything is black or white. I love you or I hate you.
I self harm. I have attempted suicide. I dissociate. I panic. I am impulsive. I can get angry. I am terrified of being abandoned. I don’t really know who I am. I have periods of feeling nothing at all. Everything is very very intense.
But I am human.
Having BPD doesn’t stop me doing stuff that ‘normal’ people do. Most people who meet me would have no idea that I have ever seen a psychiatrist, let alone been stamped with a diagnosis.
Believe it or not, I have a job. And I am a manager! Last week I went to a fancy works-do, and although I was struggling on the inside, nobody pointed or laughed or realised that I was any different to anyone else. Next week I am meeting with the CEO of the business. Again, it will be hard for me, but I will get the job done just as well as anyone else. I can be the ultimate professional.
My GP was so shocked that I have a serious mental health condition and a full time job that she jumped up and declared that I must be cured! She was so over-joyed that she immediately cancelled all of my mental health referrals (the sight would have been quite amusing if I hadn’t been so furious!).
Having BPD does not make me weak, incapable, stupid, dangerous, or a liability.
So many medical professionals have seen my diagnosis and treated me like an injured puppy. A crazy injured puppy. They have looked at me with pity in their eyes.
I hate that. I am a human being. I am not crazy.
One of the most empowering and helpful things for me recently has been starting my blog. Suddenly a whole new world has been opened up to me. I am getting to chat to other people with BPD and am privileged enough to read their stories. I am able to speak out about my day-to -day issues in a community where I’m not being judged. Finally, I am beginning to understand that I’m not alone!
I desperately want the stigma that comes with BPD to be broken down. I want it to be accepted that people can have a serious mental illness, and really struggle with it, but that doesn’t make them any less of a person. We aren’t all crazy dangerous monsters.
Today’s contributor is Amelia who blogs at Borderlineamelia.wordpress.com . She blogs about surviving the diagnosis of Borderline personality disorder one day at a time.
If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information, visit this post.
IMAGE CREDIT: HealthyPlace.com. Twitter: @wordsofarandom