Mental illness: for many, a taboo subject- something condemned, never to even be mentioned because God knows what could happen if that information enters the wrong hands. But for others, it is something to embrace, a part of your identity, should you choose to use it as such. They rightfully flaunt that, yes, they are neurodivergent. The stigma surrounding mental illness has been going on for, quite literally, centuries, and despite advancements we still treat it like the 1800’s.
Even when it is being discussed, the most prevalent to come up are MI’s such as anxiety, depression, etc. simply because these are the most common, anxiety affecting around 40 million people and depression affecting 15.7 million people just in the United States. Obviously, I’m not blaming them; they can’t help it. However, because of this, organizations and the like focus on these two the most, leaving others in the dark for awareness.
Among those forgotten comes the personality disorders, broken up into three clusters: Cluster A, Cluster B, and Cluster C. Borderline Personality Disorder falls under Cluster B, characterized by dramatic, overly emotional, or unpredictable thinking or behavior. I have lived with this mental illness for two years, going through all the hardships that come with it. There is no cure.
Experiences differ depending on who you ask; someone else with this illness will not be able to relate to every single thing I feel, so take this with a grain of salt. To start off, people with BPD are extremely fragile, yet the tiniest thing can set us off; for example, if my friend hasn’t texted me back, I will hate them- despise them, go for the block button immediately. But as soon as I get that notification they’ve replied, I feel like they’re my best friend again, the only one who understands me.
It’s a very “black and white” notion. Our emotions are either extremely up or extremely down, never in the middle. Rationality does not exist to us, going through tunnel vision which prevents us from making the right choices.
Along those lines, anger is something that has ruined many relationships for me. I will take something completely out of context, overreact, and blow up at whoever set me off, saying things I shouldn’t have said that can’t be taken back with multiple regrets. When my anger explodes, it is violent, a raging storm that aims to harm in every form imaginable. Obviously, this would get said person pissed, confused as to why I would lash out due to what they deem a “menial thing”.
Here’s the deal: people with BPD see everything as a huge problem. From dropping a pen to losing a loved one, it might as well be the equivalent to the apocalypse. This can be tied back to the “black and white” notion, and if you know someone with BPD, you’ve probably experienced it more than once. Please, be patient with us; we assume the world is across enemy lines, and we are standing in the open unarmed.
There are countless books on BPD that are targeted towards “do YOU have a relative with this scary mental illness? Learn how to protect yourself from their abuse!” Not only does this increase stigma, but it gives false information to those associated with us, molding us as monsters who will only make you suffer. We are not evil. We are not out to get you. We can’t comprehend what is worth getting angry about over what isn’t.
“BPD is the best curse. To be able to feel every emotion to the fullest can often be very rewarding. However, we feel the bad to the fullest, too. The smallest problem could feel like the end of the world. Personally, I have lost a lot of people because I’m ‘too much to handle.’ The struggle is real, but guess what? Without struggle there is no progress.” — Tia Marie
Nobody in the mental illness community should be singled out, demonized, and made out to be a villain just because of their symptoms. If you claim to be an advocate and ally, but still stereotype and generalize, you are neither, and need to educate yourself further. BPD is known as the “invisible” mental illness because we are often case aside, the stigma too strong to be overrun by those standing at our backs. To bring more awareness to what having BPD really means, we need to increase the conversation worldwide rather than a single sentence.
I’ve only scratched the thin surface of what Borderline Personality Disorder is and the inconveniences of living with it. If you believe you could have BPD, or simply want to look further into this ostracized MI, here is some give accurate information.