My name is Hollie and I’ve had Borderline Personality Disorder for the last 11 years. You’d never notice; I’m the woman on the tube flicking through her Filofax, the person in the queue at Sainsbury’s and even the woman standing in front of a couple of hundred students giving a lecture.
Even on my bad days when I’m talking too quickly, flirting with the Starbucks barista or buzzing with energy and unable to sit still, you’d never be able to guess I live with a disorder that kills one in ten of us via suicide.
For those who know about Borderline Personality Disorder, they’ll think they know about my personality – manipulative, needy, on edge.
And for those who don’t, the term ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ brings ideas of schizophrenia multiple personalities, psychotic tendencies and no sense of self; it’s because of this I’m penning a piece about the ultimate misconceptions of Borderline Personality Disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder only affects women
False. Whilst stats do show more women are diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder than men, there are several factors which contribute to this including genetic makeup and the fact women are more likely to see their doctor regarding mental health issues.
People with Borderline Personality Disorder are needy as fuck
False. Those with BPD are highly passionate and emotional. Despite the fact that many of us appear outwardly confidence, we struggle with a sense of self. As a result, our emotional needs can often take over when we’re not feeling confident and we may just need our close friends and family to be there for us.
Like anyone, when confidence is low then we’re going to need to surround ourselves with love and reassurance. We will need someone to tell us we’re good people/talented/kind/sexy/all of the above. But it doesn’t mean we’re clinging onto your arm as you leave the door every single day. It doesn’t mean we’re calling you 40 times per day. And it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t spend time alone.
People with Borderline Personality Disorder were abused as children
False. Whilst this may be the case in some cases- and it has been proven that emotional distress in childhood can lead to BPD- you absolutely cannot presume. On a personal level, I was hugely impacted by my parents divorce in my early teens but I cannot certify this caused me to suffer from BPD. Presuming people with Borderline Personality Disorder have been sexually abused takes away from what they are, everything they have been and everything they will be. Even if a person has been abused as a child, never presume the reason they are the way they are- their mental health, their behaviour, is down to anything from their past.
People with Borderline Personality Disorder can never be cured
Absolutely false. On a personal level, I’m undergoing amazing treatment which consists of long term therapy sessions and I’m taking medication. I can’t say nor imagine I’ll ever live my life without BPD but there’s absolutely no reason people cannot be cured.
You can never be in a relationship with someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
Relationships- romantic, professional, platonic – are the things most likely to be effected by Borderline Personality Disorder meaning that for some, forming and keeping stable relationships of any kind can be very hard work… but never impossible. Thousands upon thousands of people with BPD are in healthy, long-term relationships. The key is understanding- if you’re dating someone with BPD, allow them to be open and honest about their condition and their feelings and respect the fact they cannot always control the way their brain works.
I was in a wonderful relationship for nine years which ended for non-BPD reasons; whilst it could get rocky at times, we had the most beautiful love and for that I’m forever thankful.
At the time of writing, I’m very happily single but when it comes to the lucky man I end up with in future, I’ll be open about who I am, how my condition can be difficult but also that BPD is not me, just part of me and the kind, funny, lipstick-obsessive woman who stands before him isn’t a bad egg at all.
Loving someone with BPD is hard but it’s a lot harder for the person living with it daily.
Do you have Borderline Personality Disorder? Or know someone who does? Let me know what you think the biggest misconceptions are- the more we talk about it, the more we fight the stigma.