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  • Writer's pictureAlice Mays

Borderline Personality Disorder "UNVEILED"

To be diagnosed, you need a combination of 5 out of 9 symptoms below:

  1. Intense fear of abandonment.

  2. ​A pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships.

  3. Unstable self-image or sense of self.

  4. Impulsive behaviors [promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse, reckless driving]that are potentially self-damaging

  5. Suicidal or self-harming behavior

  6. Instability and mood swings

  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness

  8. Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger

  9. Paranoid idealization, delusions or severe dissociation

MYTH: You cannot treat BPD 

TRUTH: Thanks to a mixture of

(DBT) and CBT BPD symptoms

can be significantly reduced.

MYTH: Poeple with BPD cannot lead their own independent fulfilling lives. 

TRUTH: With the right treatment, some with BPD will not need to be in the mental health system forever.

Myth: BPD behavior is just attention seeking and should be ignored.

TRUTH: My behavior (self-harm, suicide attempts, impulsivity) was typically due to my distress. I did not wake up thinking, “I want attention.” I woke up feeling agonising emotional pain and thought, “I need help from my care professionals, family and friends.” While I won’t say that I never acted for attention, I only did so because I needed that attention. Giving attention to people in distress can save lives.

MYTH: Those with BPD do not complete suicide.

TRUTH: This diagnosis is so misunderstood that many with BPD will often go without the right treatment. And when that happens, it can lead to suicide or self-harm. Borderline personality disorder is associated with higher rates of suicide and self-harming behaviors.When someone makes a suicide attempt, they are in distress, just like I used to be. Instead of viewing that as purely attention-seeking, show empathy and look at ways to help that person.

MYTH: Having BPD is a choice.

TRUTH: People with BPD would never choose to feel like they do. Without lived experience, it is impossible to know how intense the negative feelings can become. But I can tell you, no one would choose to live that way. BPD often stems from childhood trauma.

MYTH: People who have BPD do not help themselves.

TRUTH:When I was unwell, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to help myself. I was unwell because I didn’t know have the tools to support my wellbeing. I never learned as child how to manage my emotions because I was neglected. When I went through DBT, I learned how to cope with my distress, and I learned how to help myself. For a long time, I was not helping myself, but with time and support, I got there. And so will others. People with BPD deserve time, treatment and empathy.

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