September 11, 2014

I have experienced discrimination and stigma when telling people about my mental health condition (Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD), sometimes with soul destroying consequences. Rachael I had vowed to never speak about my diagnosis again and mentioning borderline personality disorder creates a churning in my stomach. But I realised that talking about it might help others.

I've been told by mental health professionals they wouldn't treat me when I had a breakdown because of my disorder - I would be "trouble". I was left for 3 months. I don't think I am "trouble" - my feelings and behaviour stem from self loathing and self hatred. 

I'd just like to be listened to with no judgement

A constant changing of feelings and moods can and does lead to misunderstanding with others; my self identity is very fragile and changeable from day to day, sometimes hour to hour. I have used alcohol, food and excessive exercise to deal with issues, emotions and moods in the past. A few years ago I stopped drinking but binge eating has been harder to overcome - with a healthy diet and trial and error I seem to be managing quite well and have come off medication recently. 

Early childhood experiences have lead to me being afraid of people and social situations; I relate better to children and animals. Being around adults is the same as someone else walking into a cage with a tiger; it's frightening for me - baffling, confusing and very stressful - but I keep trying. I do not have many friends - the ones who are around I do not see often: I prefer not to have to explain myself all the time or act "normal" because it is so draining. If I do open up I just hear the same advice from people - meaning well, I'm sure, but I've heard it over and over. I'd just like to be listened to with no judgement or opinions.

I have been in and out of abusive, dominating relationships and now remain single and happy with that choice. Suicidal thoughts and a fear I cannot live this life plague me on a daily basis. The tools I use to get cope with these thoughts daily are: art, gardening, sleeping, writing, swimming, cycling, music, television, and mostly time alone to get myself grounded. I've spent time learning about myself so now I know what I like; it amazes me that before I could not have told you what my favourite song was, let alone knowing the hobbies I might enjoy.

I've started telling people how they can help if I reach out

Now I am at a place where I'm stable and able to handle the daily ups and downs by accepting them and myself as I am right now. I've started telling people how they can help if I reach out, and I've started being honest about triggers. I still isolate and find being alone better then being around people; it's still exhausting and hard work from hour to hour, but it's not a battle anymore. If I need a week off studying I'll take it now and not drive myself so hard, all the time chasing wellness. There is treatment for BPD (although it is not always easy to get this treatment) and I've found it very helpful being in a room full of people who 'get it' and feel the same. Feeling less alone is cathartic in itself and staff do not judge.

I told a neighbour about my mental health with devastating consequences in my community, but I'm looking for a new place now. I never mentioned personality disorder to this person (I said depression) but she still stigmatised me; this led me to write this blog. The gossip has been awful: some people stopped talking to me, crossing the road. I have never known anything like this so I feel like I needed to speak out. I'm not dangerous: I'm still a human being with hopes and dreams, with the belief thats it's all possible still. I'm moving closer to my goals, slowly, taking it one day at a time.

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Comments

BPD

I have BPD also and will never say sorry for it. So proud of this young lady, keep up the great work, you are an inspiration to others, God bless you.

helping a friend...

This post is amazing. Well done on speaking out about your experience living with borderline personality disorder. My best friend has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but refuses to accept this diagnosis and is currently living week to week going through destructive moods and habits which are difficult to witness. She refuses any help, even if its to ask for time alone. Reading this post has shown me what she needs to do, but its just down to her few friends to try and help her come to terms with his diagnosis.

Thank you

Thank you so so much for sharing this. This means a lot to me as someone who has been diagnosed with BPD I am finding it really hard to ask for help and spend so much of my time pretending to be normal when inside I am hurting. Thank you for making me feel slightly less alone

Thankyou

Rachael, this is such an amazing post thankyou so much, I have bpd also and have struggled with some of the things you've talked about and some others i suppose I'm not really at the stage you're talking about but I'm getting there- learning to take it slow and this has really encouraged me. Thankyou x

Thank you.

I too have BDP and reading this really does help to know that others do feel the same as I do. Even tho I know I'm not im not the only person that feels like I do, people like yourself helps me to reasure myself that it's true. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us all. I recently went to a charity shop to offer my time. As soon as I said I had mental health issues the manager came straight out with "well we don't take people who are violent or sexually abusive". I was shocked and really upset to think someone would automatically think someone with mental health problems would be violent or sexually abusive. I don't have to say but I decided not to go back there

thank you

Thank you Rachel for your honesty. My daughter suffers from BPD and has similar daily struggles. Even the diagnosis is so stigmatising, labelling someone with a 'disordered' personality doesn't seem helpful to me. But anyway, you sound like you are slowly coming to know yourself and I hope one day life will be less of a struggle for you.

BPD

I needed to read this today.I believe I have BPD&have had it most of my life.I do not tell people because Im afraid they will judge me.I have always wanted to meet someone with this so I could explain what I go through most days.I am 50yrs.old.I have just lost a friendship because of my triggers&behavior.Dont want to explain this to this person.I would love someone to reach out to me just so I have someone who can understand me,relate&not judge.

BPD

I know how u feel...i would love to have someone (with BPD) to talk to on a regular basis! I have a very supportive family my husband and 5 kids know i suffer from this plus a few more mental health issues and put up w me n listen on the very off chance I actually open up to anybody but that's rare! I just want someone who understands all the crazy things I think of or want to say or do!!! Cuz there's a lot of them!!! I don't work cuz of my illness n I'm home alone a lot of the time. So would really like to talk with you. Thanks for listening!

Absolute amazing article such

Absolute amazing article such an inspiration. I'm 17 and believe I have some sort of mental health condition for most my life most relatably BPD but I don't believe in selfdiagnosis but just don't know how to go about getting a real one. Relate a lot to what she's saying. But so good for her to do this

I really wish personality

I really wish personality disorders were taken more seriously. I have a friend who is a mental health nurse and talks of people admitted with personality disorders: "there's nothing wrong with them". This seems baffling as one of the groups with the highest risk of suicide is those with BPD. With this in mind, why do trusts use this as an excuse not to treat patients?

BPD blog

Hi Rachael :) I have BPD and have had many of the same sort of responses that you mention. It's so good you are opening up and sharing your story - it really helps to know there are others who 'get it' and that we can join together to make an army to fight against the stigma!! I have founded 'Borderline' - we use the arts to raise awareness of BPD and reduce stigma. We also have people write articles for our website :) We are linked with Time to Change in Derby - we run awareness stalls at events together :) In fact we are doing one together on Saturday! Just wondered if you fancied getting involved. No pressure, but you are more than welcome to. Our website is www.borderlineart.co.uk - if you want, you can check it out and ping me an email if you are interested :) sarah@borderlineart.co.uk Keep on Talking :D Sarah

Thank you

I'm awaiting a diagnosis of probable Borderline personality disorder, and I'm grateful for this touching, personal and very articulate blog. It's helpful to know what helps you, making it somewhat easier to cope with.

Rachael blog

Very good information Rachael. I like to see more solutions than I'm this due to that. I believe there is a strong genetic disposition. Bipolar obsessive antisocial etc but labels glue us down. Assertive skills allowing feelings naming them. Balanced responses need work. Good luck

Very well said!

I enjoyed this very genuine and honest post about life with BPD. I can resonate with every word, especially the time alone to get grounded part. It truly is a daily struggle and I don't believe the difficulty of it can be appreciated by others that don't know live it day in and day out. Even after treatment it is a challenge to live with the emotions.

Depression

People always make you feel that you're not good enough and sometimes life do! But always remember that, You're awesome no matter what you are or why you are! But you're awesome. BPD is not your fault or your evilness its just a disorder. Proud to be yourself! You're depressed still smiling. Isn't it's so brave! Yes It is!

BPD

Greetings from a mother who lives with Bipolar Disorder and has a 20 yr old daughter with BPD. She & I share a lot of struggles; but BPD is so much harder for medications to help. We have almost destroyed our relationship, as she denies anything is wrong - UNTIL she can blame BPD for her destructive behavior. She is currently doing LENS treatment & we're praying that will help.

Thank you, Rachael and all of

Thank you, Rachael and all of the others who have made such wise and helpful comments The NICE guidelines in uk say " 'Borderline' was originally used by psychiatrists to suggest that the condition was thought to be on the 'border' of other psychiatric problems. Some experts think that this is no longer the most appropriate term to use." and I agree. Just in case you haven't come across her, Marsha Linehan has also written a lot about this.

BPD - Rachael's story

Thank you. So helpful to read. You look like the lady (also called Rachael) I met in hospital lately and am wondering if it is the same person!!

Rachel's Blog

In my previous comment I stated Laura I apologise it is well done to Rachel, Laura was the person that sent me this blog to read, so well done Rachel be proud of yourself you are so brave and amazing!!

My son has a mental health

My son has a mental health problem ,BUT he say,s because he,s different he feels the society has given him a label .he does not accept the diagnosis ,rebels against medication .lives under stress .

thank you

Never read something which so perfectly describes me! it is so sucky and frustrating and the world continually reminds me i am not ok enough to have love like others get. it's not self pity. i live in an inner temper tantrum thrown out of loneliness and incompetence and have tried and am currently failing at faking it. The first 40 yrs I managed to hold it together more or less, but this now......just brutal devastating all the same words we all know. thank god there are others . and i am so sorry there are others. Thank you for such honesty. Really, truly thank you

This is so true! Today I

This is so true! Today I realised just how much the NHS discriminates those with BPD and who work in their employment. I wanted to be honest about my illness and raise awareness. But after today I will suffer in silence and share nothing, I was under the impression that the Nursing Profession was caring - How wrong I was!

THANKS :)

You've helped me put some gusto back in my sails. Its fucking sad that we end up being more isolated because of people's non-acceptance and ignorance for a disorder we never asked for. Here's to getting better every day!! STAY STRONG! :)

Help/triggers

This phrase above: "I've started telling people how they can help if I reach out, and I've started being honest about triggers." What do you tell them they can do to help? Last night I finally confided to my partner that when I cry and he just sits there or walks out of the room, it makes me feel completely alone and isolated. He then put his arm around me and things started to feel a bit better. We had just spent the past few days with me in a major downward spiral confronted with tons of triggers and nightmares and I realized that he has been afraid to get close to me when I'm upset because he doesn't want to make things worse. Once I told him that I would never push him away, that just knowing someone cares is often enough to start coming back to reality, he didn't hesitate and we've had a really good start to this day so far. What types of things do you tell people that they can do to help?

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