This is hard for me to write because I feel the constant need to defend people with personality disorders. The stigma around them is horrible and those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder deserve defending. Intense positive emotions, caring deeply about others, never being boring… there are some good things with this diagnosis. However, I’m here to be very open about the crappy things that come with BPD.
Symptom: You act impulsively and do things that could harm you.
This is not limited to hurting yourself, often impulsive actions can harm others too. That’s the bit I struggle with most. I am not, for one second, saying that my diagnosis excuses this impulsive behaviour. However, it does explain it. I lack a sense of caring for myself but I care deeply for others so when my impulsive (usually coupled with alcohol) actions hurt other people, the intensity of the guilt can be too much which often leads to…
It isn’t only a result of impulsive behaviour that I want to kill myself. However, it is often a major trigger. In the past 6 months, I have had two serious incidents of impulsive behaviour which hurt me and those around me. The first one led to and overdose. The second led to almost being admitted to hospital. And why does this self destructive behaviour usually happen?
Symptom: Very worried about people abandoning you, and would do anything to stop that happening.
I tend to see people leaving me all the time. In an attempt to stop this happening, I decide the only way is to leave first. Be this through cutting contact with someone or suicide. It is a very irrational attempt to avoid being abandoned, I want to be in control of the situation so abandon other people. The self destructive thoughts and depression tend to lift fairly quickly.
Symptom: You have very intense emotions that last from a few hours to a few days and can change quickly.
To be brutally honest, I was sat with a member of the crisis team yesterday fully intending to kill myself. Today, I’ve woken up, taken my medication, packed for my upcoming holiday and talked to friends. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
Symptom: difficulty in maintaining any course of action that offers no immediate reward.
If something really bad happens in a relationship or friendship, I have difficulties when someone tells me getting through it will ‘take time.’ Of course I know it will take time but I want things to be better right now. If it doesn’t happen right now, I am often likely to give up trying with something. This is bad for most things in life, including work, I often get bored of things if they do not give a reward as quickly as possible.
Essentially, BPD is pretty much a living nightmare. It is not easy to be friends with me when I am unwell. There are things which can make it easier but it is a challenge that some people are not up to. I fully understand that. I would urge you to look past someone’s mental illness and just remember the person they are even when they don’t.
If you know someone diagnosed with BPD and struggle to keep up with them when they are unwell, remember that they can get better. They are not always this version of themselves. Nobody asks to be mentally ill. People with Borderline Personality Disorder are more than the horrible symptoms of their illness.
(Symptoms taken from Mind and Wikipedia)