Raw and Open: BPD Feels Like A Life Sentence

Guest Author: Jody Betty

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

It seems that as the number of people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) rises, so does the stigma towards it, so no wonder it feels like a life sentence.

Rarely do you see an article or a positive comment directed towards people afflicted with this disorder. Instead, it is a never ending stream of negativity and horror stories of how hard we are to be friends with, how we are manipulative, toxic and craving for attention; how we lie to get what we want and how our outbursts at the smallest of things is constantly an overreaction. We are made out to be selfish and cruel and calculating, and are socially classified as having one of the worst mental disorders there is, due to the extremely low rate of recovery.

The suicide rate among people afflicted with BPD is four times higher than any other mental illness.

People with BPD are six times more likely to attempt suicide.

I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), co-afflicted with depression, anxiety and c-PTSD. For those not familiar, BPD is usually caused by severe childhood trauma and abandonment, and physically changes the growing process in certain areas of the brain.

It does not allow us to think rationally and emotionally at the same time, often ending in outbursts, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. People with BPD are six times more likely to attempt suicide at least once in their lives. I have survived three major attempts caused by the sexual, physical and emotional abuse I suffered for the first 14 years of my life. Even with medication and therapy I spend a lot of time passively suicidal, meaning it is constantly in the back of my mind, but I have now learned new coping techniques to help me get through the active ideations.

Although BPD is classified as a mental illness, it is actually a disorder, and there is a difference. Yes, most people afflicted with BPD are co-afflicted with one or perhaps multiple mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety, but many of these mental illnesses are caused by an actual chemical imbalance in the brain. These chemical levels can often be balanced out with the proper combinations of medications, and with the addition of some form of therapy, many live a functional life.

These characteristics are not born within us.

BPD is a personality disorder, basically meaning that during our most formative years, we developed a different mental framework than the average person. Our core beliefs about ourselves are completely mutated, which therefore influences not only how we see the world, but the meanings we attach to certain words or events. Simply put, our way of thinking is so distorted that it affects everything from our lack of self-esteem, to our “over” reaction to something that would not ordinarily bother the average person. These characteristics are not born within us. We have been neglected, rejected and damaged enough that we fail to learn the basics of sense of self. We are perhaps the most self-loathing people on the planet, with an inner sense of disgust and hatred that eats at us every hour of every day.

BPD sufferers regularly have their minds hijacked by unleashed, raw emotions that we have little to no control over. On a physical level it would be comparable to having a wound with a scab that gets ripped off with every emotion, and it eventually becomes a raw, open sore, with words being the source of the pain. Something that may not even be a hurtful statement can be taken in a different way because we put our own twisted view of the world onto it, and all of a sudden we are reeling in an indescribable amount of pain because of a few harmless words, because we often attach different meanings to the words that are said to us.

Whatever our emotions are telling us at the time is what we consider to be the truth, which often leaves us at the mercy of our emotions. For most people, their thoughts tend to dictate how they feel, whereas with BPD, it is the opposite and our thoughts follow our emotions.

Our inner dialogue is so ingrained to tell us we can’t be healed.

Everyone is their own worst critic, but people with BPD take this to a whole new level. Our inner dialogue is so ingrained to tell us we can’t be healed, or therapy or meds won’t work. It also tells us that we are unlovable, unwanted and misunderstood, and this inner chatter is so convincing we sometimes believe we have become our illness. Even though we know this loud voice has lead down bad roads before, we continue to trust it, almost like a safety net. Our minds need concrete information and we do very poorly when we are left to make assumptions or fill in the blanks. That inner critic will have filled up those blank spots with self-hatred and negativity before we even know it has happened.

The bottom line is that people with BPD simply think and operate drastically different from that of the average mind, or the average thinking process, and the more that people are educated on this illness and how to help those suffering, perhaps the stigma will lessen, even slightly.

Jody Betty is a guest blogger for SickNotWeak who, in her own words, is a master at the art of survival. She lives with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and is co-afflicted with MDD, Dysthymia and Social Anxiety. She has survived three serious suicide attempts and a handful of overdoses which lets her know it isn’t her time. You can read her blog “Raw and Open” posted bi-weekly on Thursdays on SNW.


Bipolar Nana

Thanks so much, Jody, for reminding me that my daughter suffers deeply from undiagnosed borderline traits. She was diagnosed (by a GP) with PTSD, which I know she has suffered with since she was at least 17. She won’t take meds prescribed for her, nor will she get therapy. I haven’t seen her for a year this month. The whole family loves her, but it is heartbreaking. I appreciate this blog post because I need to be reminded that my daughter suffers in ways I can only imagine.


I agree with what the person above said Jody. We must have compassion for the person who has BPD. You are so kind to post this. My Mom suffers from BPD. It was tough as a child to understand. I am learning more and more on twitter and in therapy. Thank you so much for this! I needed to see this.

Heartbroken momma

My daughter has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Bi Polar 1. She also has an issue with drug addiction. Any ideas on how best to deal with this illness as the hospital only sees the addict, due to her latest bouts of violent behaviour we cannot have her live at home as we are caring for her 3year old daughter. She is now homeless as her behaviour has gotten her evicted from the last three apartments she has had and 4 homeless shelters. I have been told to let her go, allow her to hit her rock bottom but I’m finding this very, very difficult to do!!! Any ideas or leads on resources would be greatly appreciated.


Heartbroken mama: check out the Sasha Bear Foundation


I suffer from anxiety and feel very alone and scared of new things, all of the time people say I need to participate more in things but I feel threatened by muscular men and am scared I will say something and they will kill me for it. I can’t read social queues because of my medical problems. i am a man who has never had ale friends. plus i don’t have a father. i am hurt and scared

Lifelong friend

I have a best friend who is showing signs of BPD. We have now been friends for about five years. There have been occurrences when in a stressful (albeit happy/joyful time) my friend lashes out at me suddenly interpreting my words or behavior to have a different meaning than I ever intended. I am not sure that I handled her reactions in the best way, but I handle them my way. When I get a chance later on I try to gently revisit the time in conversation and reiterate my adoration of her as a person. I want to be her friend forever and never let her self loathing or suspicion destroy or friendship. It means more to me than she can even feel. I have Bipolar Disorder/depression/anxiety. I have gone through mental hospitals so many times throughout my life. I have now been medicated four years, successfully for two years and counting. My friend self medicates. I wonder is there any medication that is known to show success for people with BPD? I look forward to finding out more about it. Thank you for sharing.


I’m very grateful for these types of resources. My wife and I (she on meds for depression, myself for anxiety – both of us diagnosed in adulthood), have a 21 year old who while not officially diagnosed definitely fits with BPD. At about 16 my wife had an inkling that he was showing signs of depression and after seeing her therapist that’s where the story starts. It was a rocky few years, several 911 calls by his friends when he threatened self harm. Meds were tricky and he was/is not compliant and we had to get after him to take them. After a trip to the ER the attending resident felt the dose of the one drug was too high. In the meantime our son was in a terrible relationship with a girl. He ended up not going to school despite our best efforts and he eventually dropped out, even after a stretch a ‘home school’ program through his high school and a transitions program to help him get back on track with his credits. He can’t hold a job and has trust issues. After his therapist suddenly passed he’s not relenting one bit to seek another therapist, or continue with his meds. Instead he finds that week calms him however definitely not practical for him the function as an adult. He was in a car accident which carried a careless charge and as a result his insurance is quite high, from that and another minor accident and speeding ticket. His salvation through all of this is music. He is in a band that unfortunately is not local, writes, composes, records and is slowly building a home studio in our basement. However the characteristics of BPD rears it’s head and while it has been less frequent my wife and I just can’t seem to get through to him as it’s his belief that he in un-treatable and that we don’t understand. It has caused strife, difficulty and stress. With another son in school the financial burden is hard as we don’t want to take away his ability to drive – again with him believing he is un-treatable he hasn’t held a job for very long. When the going gets tough and he’d have a setback, while he would not have a plan he infers things would be better if he wasn’t alive. I send him links for support groups but he baulks at them. I send him links to resources in hopes that something, something will get through that he is treatable, that it’s a process and he can learn to but trust into a therapist to get him on the path to great things in life. We simply don’t know where to turn or how despite our best efforts and understanding and support for him to be a functional adult.

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