Teacup Conversation is spending a week interviewing various people on the topic of Mental Health and Disability, in the hopes to shed light on the lives and experiences of those who are affected.
Today’s topic is Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD. Website bpdworld.org states that BPD is: ” one of ten personality disorders recognised by the DSM IV. A personality disorder is a type of mental illness and to be diagnosed particular criteria must be met. With personality disorders, the symptoms have usually been present for a long time. These symptoms have an overall negative affect on the sufferer’s life.”
Anon, 2O, Essex
In your own words, can you define what BPD is, or what it is to you?
BPD is a personality disorder that affects every aspect of your life. Emotional instability is a key symptom, so you might react unpredictably to the slightest thing, and to everyone else it’ll seem like you’re overreacting. The same goes for the fact that you also tend to have an irrational fear of abandonment and therefore go to any lengths to prevent someone leaving you, and in the process you push them away. It is destructive, many people with it find themselves abusing alcohol and drugs, self harming, overspending, binge eating/starving yourself or many other things, and sometimes a combination of them. The worst thing, in my opinion, is the uncontrollable nature of it. You might be laughing one minute, but if someone makes a comment that you take the wrong way, you could end up hitting them, self harming or worse. So to me, it’s not the best illness to be stuck with.
Tell the reader a little bit about yourself?
I’m 20 years old, and I currently work at a nursing home. I was at uni for a few months, but had to drop out because the illness prevented me from doing a lot of things. It took about six months for me to finally reach the stage that I felt ready for work after being admitted to hospital. But I work full time now, and it seems to be going okay.
How does a typical day in your life go?
A typical day in my life at the moment is to get up ridiculously early, get the bus to work, work for 12 hours, come home, eat dinner and go to sleep. Not particularly exciting. My days before I started working full time were even less exciting though, that would involve waking up at some point in the afternoon, watching tv, eating junk food and then maybe going to sleep at about 5 in the morning if I was lucky.
How does BPD affect your day to day life?
Right now, it’s not affecting my every day life too much, except I do on occasion have random outbursts of anger or crying for what seems like no reason to other people, so I probably seem a bit weird to them. But past events have affected the way my life is now, for example I don’t exactly have an abundance of friends, we grew very distant when I was at my worst and never got that back, it affects my prospects in life, and the thing I hate the most is the reminders my old issue of self harming, as I can’t go a day without someone obviously noticing and trying not to be awkward about it.
Do you think there is a stigma attached to BPD and do you feel as if anyone treats you any differently?
Yes, there is a massive stigma attached to it. It’s an illness that people know very little about, and the things they hear are never good. I’ve seen people say that people with BPD are nothing but violent, attention seekers. And these days, when some person goes on a killing spree, ‘experts’ always come to one of two conclusions – schizophrenia, or a personality disorder. To be honest, I don’t think the people who are aware of it do treat me any differently, probably because not many people know. That shows what the stigma is like, I have to be very careful about who I talk to about it, because the majority of people would head for the hills.
What would you like to tell people about BPD?
I would like to tell people that BPD is an illness, so sufferers should not be treated any differently than to those who are ill physically. I would also like to say that sometimes, when in the middle of a melt down, people with BPD can turn nasty. This doesn’t mean that what they say should be taken particularly seriously, because chances are they’re just angry about anything and everything. Basically, I think that if you know someone with BPD and they act in a way that you find a little strange, or even a bit scary at times, don’t run away, try and get to know them and you’ll see what they’re like as a person as opposed to their label of a being a nutter. BPD is a very misunderstood illness, you just need to take the time to realise I’m not all bad.
Oh, and as for being nasty, same goes if people with BPD get a bit clingy, don’t get freaked out, they just need a bit of reassurance at times.