7 Things I Wish People Understood about Borderline Personality Disorder

I was recently (within the past year and a half) diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s the main dish, but it comes with a side of Severe Recurrent Depressive Disorder, and a side of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I will be 30 in two months, and I am very open about my diagnosis. This is because more people need to understand that Borderline Personality Disorder is generally a misunderstood diagnosis. I believe that therapy and an understanding of my diagnosis has saved my life. Here are some of the basic concepts that I wish people would understand about BPD.

1. People who have BPD cannot live a “normal” life.

I struggle every single day of my life to control my emotions. I have been in two psychiatric hospitals, one partial hospitalization program, one Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) program, and constant therapy. However, my past mistakes have not prevented me from creating a life worth living. I have a boyfriend, two almost step-daughters, a job, and I’m working on my second graduate degree. I’m high functioning, but that doesn’t mean my struggles are hidden or my pain isn’t real. I work very hard on practicing my life skills to regulate my emotions, and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships. It might be difficult for families or significant others to understand the loved one with BPD, but I promise communication and a willingness to discuss the disorder and learn about it will be an effective means. Most people with BPD just want to be heard.

2.Not every diagnosis is the same.

There are criteria that need to be met for a Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis. People who meet different types of criteria can be diagnosed with BPD, but that doesn’t mean they behave the same. I had someone judge me based on my diagnosis because they had an ex-boyfriend that was abusive. I have been abused by many ex-boyfriends, both physically and emotionally, but I have never been abusive.

3. Self-harm is a not necessarily a cry for attention or a suicide attempt.

I have three failed (luckily) suicide attempts under my belt, and none of them have come from self-harm. I struggle with the concept of self-harm, as it has been something I began doing in high school, but now as a role model to two pre-teen girls I work really hard to avoid it at all costs.

4. Your past behavior will be impossible to leave in the past.

Throughout my life I have struggled with unstable relationships and impulsive or risky behavior. I used to engage in promiscuous behavior to feel worthy, and I didn’t value my own life or safety so I didn’t think twice about drinking and driving. I was lucky that nothing serious happened from those mistakes. I didn’t get pregnant, or get a DUI or even hurt someone while driving drunk. I have been date raped, emotionally abused, and even physically abused, so that’s not to say I have come from my past unscathed. However, I don’t let those parts of my life dictate my behavior anymore. I don’t measure my self-worth through the lens of a relationship (friend, family or significant other). I value my alone time, and I have learned who I am. This has allowed me to stop reactive behavior before I get myself into trouble.

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7 Things I Wish People Understood about Borderline Personality Disorder

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