Mental illness is very real, and affects hundreds, of thousands of people every day. Theres this stigma that goes along with mental illness, such as shame, secrecy, and “get away from me” and its up to everybody to make that stigma go away, because too many people suffer in silence.
I was diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) depression, and social anxiety disorder in 2014, June 20th to be exact. But I have been dealing with these three mental illnesses since the age of 14, I just didnt know the name for it. What is BPD?
Borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder, is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by unstable relationships with other people, unstable sense of self, and unstable emotions. There is often an extreme fear of abandonment, frequent dangerous behavior, a feeling of emptiness, and self-harm. Symptoms may be brought on by seemingly normal events. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.Substance abuse, depression, and eating disorders are commonly associated with BPD. About 10% of those with BPD die by suicide.
BPD’s causes are unclear, but seem to involve genetic, brain, environment, and social factors. It occurs about five times more often in a person who has an affected close relative. Adverse life events also appear to play a role. The underlying mechanism appears to involve the frontolimbic network of neurons. BPD is recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as personality disorder along with nine other such disorders. Diagnosis is based on the symptoms while a medical exam may be done to rule out other problems. The condition must be differentiated from an identity problem or substance use disorders, among other possibilities.
Borderline personality disorder is typically treated with therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Another type, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has been found to reduce the risk of suicide. Therapy may occur one-on-one, or in a group. While medications do not cure BPD, they may be used to help with the associated symptoms. Some people require care in hospital.
About 1.6% of people have BPD in a given year. Females are diagnosed about three times as often as males. It appears to become less common among older people. Up to half of people improve over a ten-year period. People affected typically use a high amount of healthcare resources. There is an ongoing debate about the naming of the disorder, especially the suitability of the word “borderline”.
Thats from wikipedia, and its pretty damn accurate. Living with BPD on a daily basis is a struggle, its a minute by minute illness because thats how fast our emotions can change.
There are 9 traits to BPD you have to fit at least 5 to be diagnosed. Im the unicorn who has all 9, yay me!
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. [Not including suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5]
- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
- Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
- Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, promiscuous sex, eating disorders, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). [Again, not including suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5]
- Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
- Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
- Chronic feelings of emptiness.
- Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
- Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
I deal with all of these traits differently, sometimes I deal with one, sometimes I deal with 3. It really depends on the day 😦
The best way for me to describe how BPD works is to basically dumb it down for you. A “normal” person gets up in the morning, brushes their teeth, use the restroom, get ready for work, have a cup of coffee, and leave out the door.
A person with BPD will struggle to sit up in the bed, because its another day and another struggle. From the time we get up from the bed, to go to the rest room we can experience every emotion you can think of, and for no reason at all. Its like running a marathon in your head except you haven’t moved much.
This is what I deal with on a daily basis, its hard, very hard, but I get through it the best way I can.
Using a planner the past year and a half has really calmed me down, it literally has saved my life, and I’m grateful for the products and the community. I never knew that writing things down so much could put me in a better place.
Im nowhere near cured, and I don’t want to be cured, I just want to be able to function like a “normal” person. I’ll get there.