Nov 15, 2018
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.