A mental illness can have many effects on their sufferers, ranging from mild to severe conditions. One of these illnesses that can completely alter a person’s perspective on their own life is called Borderline Personality Disorder(BPD).
BPD has numerous symptoms the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems currently defines the symptoms as:
Several of the characteristics of emotional instability are present; in addition, the patient’s own self-image, aims, and internal preferences (including sexual) are often unclear or disturbed. There are usually chronic feelings of emptiness. A liability to become involved in intense and unstable relationships may cause repeated emotional crises and may be associated with excessive efforts to avoid abandonment and a series of suicidal threats or acts of self-harm (although these may occur without obvious precipitants).F60.31 Borderline type
The symptoms of a personality disorder may range from mild to severe and usually emerge in adolescence, persisting into adulthood.
BPD is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed mental health conditions. It’s so misdiagnosed, in fact, that there isn’t even an accurate prevalence rate for the condition. What we do have is an estimate of 2–6% of the population, which actually makes BPD very prevalent.Alan E. Fruzzetti , National Alliance on Mental Illness
The cause of BPD is still not definite, currently assumed to stem from environmental factors as well as genetics. Often those who suffer from the disorder have a experienced a childhood trauma raging from parental neglect to sexual abuse.
While many other articles go into the textbook breakdown explaining many of the conditions of this illness, it can often diminish how impact-full it is on those who struggle with it . It is for this reason that someone living with the daily struggles of Borderline Personality Disorder will recall their personal account of living with the conditions of this disorder in this article.
Due to the stigma attached to the condition the interviewee wanted to remain anonymous in order to maintain a normal social life. What I can say is that the participant is female and in her twenties only being diagnosed with the condition for a couple of months but it is suspected that she has suffered from it the majority of her life. She is currently receiving a twenty week course of group therapy to help her manage her life and future with the condition.
Below is a series of question I asked her to help those understand her story and give an insight to this widely unheard of condition.
How would you describe Borderline personality disorder as?
Its like a mixture of every severe mental illness, OCD, Anxiety, Clinical depression, Bipolar, Schizophrenia. It affects everything and you feel every emotion twice as strongly.
How did you feel when you were diagnosed with the disorder?
I felt a few things. Mainly relieve, it meant there was a reason for my feelings and behaviors, it wasn’t just me being a bad person. I also felt scared after I researched it. I was scared what people would think of me, so I avoiding telling people about it.
What are the main affects of the disorder do you struggle with?
It would most likely be disassociating which causes you to lose focus all the time. I struggle with losing pockets of times, I wont remember things that I said or things that I’ve done. It makes me feel unsafe, it’s like having someone else living inside of you.
What do you think are the main misconceptions of your condition?
People assuming that I’m making it up or that it’s an excuse for my behavior. A lot of people think there is a quick fix, people assume I can just take my prescribed medicine and be okay. There is not a cure for it. I’m scared that people will treat me differently.
Where you personally misdiagnosed over the years?
Yes many times, in 2008 I had to see a dietitian because I was underweight, they thought I was purposely not eating, so they assumed I had a eating disorder.
In 2013 I had my first over-dose, they said that I had nothing wrong with me and that I wasn’t trying to kill myself, rather I just had issues opening up.
In 2014/15 It was maybe my second or third overdose they took more seriously this time. They gave me 1-1 therapy otherwise known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). They said that I was dealing with anxiety issues, a few months later they said I had depression. This is when they finally began looking into putting me on anti depressants at the age 14.
A month later they changed their mind claiming I had behavioral problems and that I was just manipulating my parents using suicide to get my own way. After I was discharged in early 2016 I overdosed again, every time I overdosed I had a psych assessment done in which they would say things as that I couldn’t be depressed as I had good eye contact and was well groomed, claiming I wouldn’t try to kill myself.
After refusing to go back to CBT I had a appointment with another doctor who on the same day claimed it was ridiculous what had happened to me and put me on medication the same day in 2017. Once I turned 18 they signed me of everything.
For two years I struggled through life trying to cope with my issues myself, taking no medication to minimise my conditions. I realised i couldn’t go on doing this forever.
I eventually had a meeting with a psychiatrist who arranged numerous further meetings to assess me for a few weeks were he eventually game to the conclusion that I met many of the criteria for BPD .
Whats the main things you wished others understood about borderline?
I just wish they knew about it ,with depression and anxiety they can understand it, but with borderline many may not know the severity of the condition.
If you feel like you can relate to the symptoms above or are struggling with your mental health, a list of useful websites are located in the link below.