Borderline what?

There are many occasions in my life where I have been asked the question, 'BPD? What's that?'
For me and many others who have borderline personality disorder, this is a question that is almost impossible to answer without carrying a copy of the DSM (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) around constantly. So lets start at the very beginning, the DSM describes borderline personality disorder as:

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:  
  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  6. 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).
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

As you can see, its not exactly the easiest thing in the world to describe. 
Reading through what seems like your everyday life in a medical context isn't the easiest thing to comprehend either, and especially wasn't for me.

I was diagnosed in May 2011, after an exhausting battle with being pumped full of various medications and false diagnoses. And as soon as the words 'borderline personality disorder' left the psychiatrist's mouth, I instantly thought, 'What in the hell is that?!'. And almost 2 years on, its a question that still remains in my mind today. 
After being diagnosed I read through a ton of internet articles, watched youtube videos and read through as many books as I could get my hands on. And I was still baffled by the concept of a 'personality disorder' (I will be doing a separate post on which books/media helped me the most).
When you have 'suffered' with something your whole life, its hard to understand that it is something that is wrong. Not in the sense that I didn't know my behaviour was extremely abnormal, because that in itself is the whole identity complex that comes with being a borderline, where you picture yourself as an eternal outsider and would give anything to be 'normal'. But the counterargument to that is thinking that your behaviour is normal, because you've survived with it for so long and don't know anything else. (This, my friends, is where it will begin to be complicated to read my writing. Anyone who is a borderline or who knows a borderline will instantly recognise that there is never a steady answer, there's only ever two juxtaposing statements, a catch 22, things in black and white: there is never a grey area).
What I'm trying to get at is that when something is so consuming and addictive it becomes not just a part of you, but it becomes you. And this is where I remain. I'm stuck in between the idea that BPD is an unwanted parasite trying to consume me totally, and the idea that BPD is me. 
This is where therapy and any sort of recovery becomes difficult (and in many more ways, trust me), because the thought of changing everything about yourself, and everything you have trained yourself to think and in how to behave is so staggeringly terrifying and hard to take on board. 
I have been in DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) for over a year now, and the changes in me are beginning to be apparent to others and even to myself. 
But I still have a hell of a long way to go. I'm inviting you to come with me, and take a look into the darkness that a personality disorder can really create inside someone. But I'm also willing to look at my personality disorder with light, and beauty, and in turn not just help myself see it as a positive thing but help others see their own mental disorders in a positive light.

It is only with positive thinking that we can change the negative thoughts others have about us.



  1. You're right that it's extremely difficult to explain to others what BPD is. I want to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of BPD.

    Check out my website:

  2. Love the pic, BTW!


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