This is my last article for the "More than Borderline" blog so it’s time to say my good-byes. It has been great fun writing for Healthy Place and sharing my experiences of borderline personality disorder (BPD) with you. I hope you have enjoyed reading my articles and I hope they have helped you realize you’re not alone. I thought I would bring my time here to a close by sharing three festive wishes for people with BPD.
Advocacy – Borderline
Having a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD) can be really challenging at times. Not only is it tough having intense emotions, difficulties with self-criticism and near-constant fear of abandonment, but the condition is still shrouded in misunderstandings and misrepresentation. I have found it beneficial to remind myself of the following four things and wanted to share them in case they help you.
How can blogging help your mental health? Here's how it's helped mine.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the most stigmatized mental health conditions, along with conditions such as schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder and other personality disorders. I have been discriminated against by healthcare professionals, struggled for years to talk openly due to stereotyping and see few compassionate representations of the condition in the media. There are three main myths about BPD and I will outline them here.
When defining borderline personality disorder (BPD), most resources will present you with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) criteria, but I wish to reframe the borderline personality disorder diagnosis. Not only is the DSM flat-out wrong about certain aspects of BPD (such as its understanding of people with BPD as lacking empathy), but it reduces a complex experience of being human to a diagnosis packed with bias. Let's reframe borderline personality disorder and think about the diagnosis differently.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is complex and challenging--for both patients and their doctors (among other clinicians). As patients suffering at BPD's mercy, however, sometimes we forget that doctors of borderline personality disorder are human and deserve sympathy, too.
I’m very open about my condition. I even write about it on Facebook and volunteer information in class. And I like calling myself “a borderline.” The peculiar self-reference is deliberate. For a while I subscribed to the idea that we are not our diseases—we are not borderline, we have borderline—and to be fair, I still do; however, I also think there’s power in language and have decided to reclaim "borderline" to reduce stigma.
I am an avid video game player. Recently I discovered Half the Sky Movement: The Game. Based on the book, it educates the player about poverty issues around the world. It's not all sweetness and light--one character is sold into prostitution at age 11, another character has an abusive husband--but it educates the player and offers solutions in the form of charitable gifts. It made me think about offbeat ways people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can educate others about the disease.
Sometimes, as in the case of Robin Williams, mental health help fails. It's a minority of the time, but it happens. So what should we do when our help doesn't help? How can we change a treatment failure into a treatment success?
When I was a patient at Larue D. Carter Memorial Hospital, we had a few bullies on our unit. One, named Katie, ruled through physical force--and at a whopping 500 pounds, that was easy. Another one, named Angel, enjoyed provoking people to self-injure and was even responsible for a couple of suicide attempts. Both were probably sociopaths, in addition to having borderline personality disorder (BPD). Such people can dominate your life if you let them. So how do you take your power back?