Welcome back to another week of the “Share Your Story” series. Last week we had Lanay Renae from Not A Fit Chick sharing her story. One filled with self believe and positive thinking. It was very inspiring. This week Sarah from Life in a Breakdown sharing her story and raising awareness of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I for one had never heard of this until reading Sarah’s story, let me introduce you to her.
Life in a Breakdown
Sarah is 30-something. She lives with her partner Ash, their crazy dog Sal and two guinea pigs. Sarah writes honestly about her conditions. Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypermobility syndrome, keratoconus, as well as mental health issues.
Dear World – I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
This time last year that was not a line you would ever catch me saying out loud. Why? Because of the stigma that surrounds having this particular, personality disorder. From the moment I was diagnosed at 18 I was told doctors don’t really want to deal with people with BPD, due to the notoriety behind it. I was told that it was unlikely I would ever get any better. That I would always be a complete mess and I would never have stable relationships with anyone. No matter if they are friends, family or loved ones.
However, just because you are told something doesn’t mean it has to be true. Of course BPD is a difficult issue for those who are diagnosed with it and their loved ones. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t have good relationships and live your life as best you.
So, what are they symptoms of BPD?
BPD has a whole range of symptoms. Not everyone who suffers from this disorder will experience them all, therefore diagnosis is done once there is a long-term overview of the person. The main issues can be:
- Fear of abandonment.
- Intense emotions that can quickly change.
- Low sense of self – it can change depending who you are with and the situation.
- Feeling empty.
- Find it hard to keep and make stable personal relationships.
- Impulsive and dangerous tendencies.
Other issues can be self-harm and suicidal tendencies, anger – which is hard to control and when very stressed it can lead to paranoia or dissociation.
You need to experience just 5 of the above criteria to be diagnosed with BPD. That means everyone’s experience of this disorder is likely to be different.
Why do people get BPD?
There is no 100% sure reason people develop BPD. It is thought childhood trauma maybe a cause, though I personally was very lucky in my childhood and had amazing parents. I was however adopted and there is a train of thought that in some, just the act of removing a baby from their birth mother could cause it. I think for me it does stem from my adoption, as well as issues I faced in school both from my peers and my teachers.
There may also be genetic factors that can cause a person to suffer from BPD.
However, it could also be a mix of the two.
How is it treated?
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Mentalisation-Based Therapy (MBT) are often suggested as ways to help people with BPD try to restructure the way they think. I have to admit I have tried many different forms of therapy myself and bar art therapy in my teens, I didn’t find them very useful. In fact, more than once a therapist declared me beyond help.
Therapeutic communities can sometimes be of help as well.
Sadly, there is no known medication to help treat BPD, but sometimes medication can be offered to help deal with other mental health conditions which are going on and some sort of sleeping tablet when in crisis mode.
So how do I cope with it?
Often, I think the answer should be badly.
However, my parents and Ash are good at telling me when I’m acting out of character. Ash can quite quickly tell if I’m brooding over something or making a mountain out of a molehill internally and getting me to try to talk it through with him. Blogging of course makes a huge difference, it is my own special therapy.
I do have other mental health issues going on as well and thankfully I am able to take medication which helps subdue some of those symptoms to a point where I can try to handle everything else going on in my head myself.
Of course, this doesn’t mean sometimes I don’t hit crisis point. That sometimes I might want to scream and shout for no reason but everything inside me feels like it is firing off at the same time and sometimes I just sit and cry because I don’t know what else to do.
That said I am not a person to fear, I am not “BPD”, I am Sarah and I have an issue which I deal with as best as I can. I can be a good friend, partner and support to people just as they can be to me. I’m a human and deserve to be treated like any other.
Thank you Sarah for sharing your story with us. To be told you’ll never get better must have been so difficult. It’s great to hear that you have a great support network!
Now you’ve finished reading this, why not pop over and show Sarah some support on her blog and social media.