The Stigma of BPD
A little over a year ago, I was learning about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and checking off all of the symptoms. I was scared but relieved to see that my behavior might not solely be a sign of my being a terrible person. It was the beginning of a revelation that changed my life and helped me come to terms with my other illnesses.
However, an hour later I was having a breakdown because while looking up more information, I stumbled upon a website that called people with BPD manipulative and abusive, simply by existing. I learned that this was the general belief about people with BPD from people who don’t have it. I went from feeling relieved to being terrified- I didn’t want to have this. I never thought I would cling to my depression and anxiety, but there I was. They didn’t make me into what I thought was automatically a bad person.
The fact is, I do have BPD, and today I can say with some confidence that they aren’t right. I have a disorder, caused by something that was out of my control. It doesn’t make me abusive or manipulative to need validation and added support. It’s okay to need help and it’s okay to need time to myself. With help, the mood swings don’t cause as much harm, and if they do, I am sure to apologize and work with the person I hurt to keep it from happening again.
That doesn’t stop the term ‘walking on eggshells’ from coming to mind and making me feel ill. All it takes is a few words from people that don’t care to understand our struggles to send me spiraling. I doubt myself, my loved ones, and any person who’s ever paid me a compliment. Did I manipulate them into saying that? Am I abusing my partner? Have I forced him to be with me? The questions go on, without end.
The last thing a mentally ill person needs to find littered through information on their illness is rampant ableism, and yet it’s everywhere. Stigma against mental illness needs to stop. We deserve better. We deserve love, support, and access to the help we need.