‘Attention seeking’, ‘dramatic’ and ‘manipulative’ are just some of the terms that come appear in google searches of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Within the mental health community there is still so much stigma associated with this diagnosis and you do not have to look far to find people who have been treated with prejudice because of this diagnosis. There are even professionals out there who refuse to treat borderlines because they believe we are too high risk or manipulative. And they call us the crazy ones.
Borderline Personality Disorder is classified in the DSM-5 as an axis 2 personality disorder.It is an ingrained pattern of behaviour that causes significant difficulty in a person’s life. The core features are difficulty regulating emotions, impulsive behaviour and unstable relationships and self image. That’s the clinical description. Diagnosis requires 5 of a possible 9 criteria to be met, and thus there are 126 possible ways that the disorder can present meaning that two people with bpd may only have one symptom in common and it has a highly variable presentation.
On a more personal level, it causes me to feel things deeply and often and on a level that most people don’t experience. I am wounded easily and dealing with these intense emotions causes problems in my day to day life.
Every emotion that we express is 100% real and we lack emotional permanency. If we push people away or cling to them, it’s because we fear that they are going to leave us to deal with this pain on our own.When we cry it’s because the sadness is so overwhelming that it feels like our insides are burning up and nothing is ever going to be okay again. If we yell, it’s not to hurt anyone but because we have to let the anger out somehow. We don’t want to feel everything this deeply but we don’t have a choice. Living this way is exhausting.
Often the emotional pain is so intense that we’d do anything for some brief moment of relief. This is why people with bpd engage in impulsive behaviours such as self harm or drug and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, these actions are often viewed as manipulation or attention seeking when really we’re just trying to make it through another day alive. There are times when we’d wish someone would notice our pain and that we possessed the right words to describe our suffering. Sometimes this might lead sufferers to try and show others through our actions but this isn’t true for everyone and it usually isn’t an isolated reason. But please don’t let that turn you away because when someone collapses onto the ground you do not leave them there. Our pain may be emotional but it is just as real as anything physical.
Living with bpd is a full time job, and when our behaviour annoys you just remember that this is an illness and it doesn’t just disappear when we need it to. We our trying our best and what you see is only the tip of the turmoil going on inside.