UOKM8? - From My Experience: Borderline Personality Disorder
Mental health charity Mind defines borderline personality disorder (BPD) as a type of personality disorder.
You might be diagnosed with a personality disorder if you have difficulties with how you think and feel about yourself and other people, and are having problems in your life as a result. It's also sometimes referred to as emotionally unstable personality disorder.
LADbible spoke to Mojo, a 26-year-old support worker, and Elysia, a 28-year-old artist, about their own experiences of living with a BPD diagnosis and how it has affected their lives.
Elysia described what living with BPD is like for her day-to-day. She said: "For me, it's mostly very extreme, very intense emotions."
She explained that most people's feelings or moods don't tend to vary too much throughout any given day, but for people living with BPD, they can go from a one to a 10, especially on a bad day. That can be difficult for people without BPD to comprehend.
Mojo gave a similar description, saying: "I leave one extreme emotion, to hit another. And then there's the extreme anger."
The most important thing that friends and family can do is not judge.
Jo Loughran, Director of Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma campaign, explained: "Try to listen to your friend without telling them that they're overreacting or that they shouldn't feel the way they do. Whether or not you agree, your friend's feelings are still real to them."
Elysia told us that it can be difficult for people with BPD to maintain long-term relationships. She said: "I want you but I'm going to push you as far away as possible.
"I'm so scared that I'm going to get close to you and you're gonna leave and I'm gonna be feeling at that one again."
She thinks someone who starts a relationship with someone diagnosed with BPD needs to be compassionate and understand that their behaviour isn't something they do on purpose and is often a reaction to trauma.
And this is something Jo reinforces.
She said: "There are always reasons for our personalities developing in certain ways. It might be because of our childhood experiences, the challenges we face day-to-day or characteristics we inherit from our parents."
Elysia thinks there's still a stigma about BPD in the workplace and said she's never been able to hold down a nine-to-five job. She said: "I've found employers, and colleagues think, 'oh she doesn't care about the job'."
She also revealed she was once fired for emailing in sick rather than phoning in. She said: "Because it's not a physical illness and people can't see it, they think it's not real."
Unfortunately, Time To Change says this way of thinking is all too familiar. Jo said: "A common misconception is that a personality disorder means there is something wrong with you as a person. People with a diagnosis of a personality disorder just need some extra support, and that's nothing to be ashamed of."
Because everybody is different, there's no one way to help someone experiencing personality disorder. But actively listening and asking how you can help can go a long way in supporting someone you care about with BPD.
UOKM8? is a campaign by LADbible, featuring films and stories that provide advice and inspiration on mental health. Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Let's talk mental health.
MIND: 0300 123 3393.
Samaritans: 116 123.
CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.