BPD doesn’t make me evil

Amy, 25, has Borderline Personality Disorder. She tells us how the illness affects her life, and why she wants to fight the stigma surrounding it.

True Stories

woman standing in front of art on a wall

"We just need a bit more love, care and support."

I was diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) about six years ago, but I’ve struggled with my mental health since childhood. I first began self-harming when I was just 11 years old, and first attempted suicide at 18. My teenage years were pretty awful and I battled with severe low self-esteem and depression. I felt constantly erratic, consistently confused, and my mood swings were incredibly intense. So, when I was diagnosed with BPD at 19, it helped to explain things that I never could.  

I’m incredibly impulsive  

BPD can affect people differently. For me, it makes me incredibly impulsive which often goes hand in hand with my moods. I can go from uncontrollably crying for a few days to suddenly deciding everything is fine and I’m going to do something great. Usually this means booking a last minute holiday, booking a half marathon, or going on a shopping spree. I’ll spend a lot of money and give little thought to what I’m doing. Then my mood will drop again and I’ll feel guilty and stupid for what I’ve done. 

My highs are very high and my lows are dangerously low. I’ve taken overdoses without reason or cause, and for that reason my mind often scares me. It’s incredibly unpredictable and I never know what it’s going to do or where I’m going to end up. 

I ran out the office and just kept running 

My workplace has been wonderfully supportive with my BPD. They put a care plan in place for me just in case anything should happen, and they’re always checking in on me. I’m really thankful, especially as a few months ago, that care plan needed to be put into practice.  

I went for a promotion at work which was a huge deal for me as I can react very badly to rejection. Fear of abandonment is a key sign of BPD, so putting myself into a situation where this could be triggered is a tough one to navigate. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job. My line manager broke the news to me as sensitively as possible but it didn’t stop the extreme reaction. I ran out the office and just kept running. I ended up in A&E that evening, but my flatmate was with me as she’d been contacted by my line manager. 

I can seem like a bad person, but I’m not! 

Experiences like the promotion rejection make me worry about what others think of me. I can really struggle with relationships due to fear of abandonment, heightened sensitivity and mood swings. I know I can be quite intense which a lot of people find hard to deal with. So, to deal with the fear of people leaving me, I’ll do it first. I’ll ignore friends, not reply to messages, and push people away so they can’t reject me first. It’s not something I’m proud of and I’m definitely working on it.  

The longer I’ve had my diagnosis, the more it makes sense to me. I’d be lying if I said I was completely comfortable with it, but I have grown to accept it. Rather than trying to ‘cure’ myself, I see every day as another day of managing my emotions and behaviours. I’m about to start having therapy with the NHS. 

People who have BPD can be made out to be monsters and serial killers because it sells newspapers, but I’m just a normal girl who cares a lot about things. Not a lot of focus is placed on those silently battling through it day by day, because that’s simply not as exciting or newsworthy! 

Having BPD is like working on a jigsaw 

I had DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) when I was first diagnosed, but I was so unstable that I don’t think it helped as much as it should have. I’ve had lots of different types of therapy since. It can be such a struggle to find a therapist who fits you, but it’s worth the determination. I’ve learnt so much about my behaviours and I’ve been shown different ways to try and manage them. 

I see my BPD like working on a jigsaw puzzle. I’ll have a moment where lots of pieces fit into place at once, or moments where I’ll force a piece to go where it doesn’t quite fit. Or sometimes I’ll abandon the puzzle completely for three weeks because I’ve had enough. Even after a puzzle is complete there’s always the ability to take it apart again, and that’s okay too. 

I’ll continue to go to therapy and learn to live with my BPD. Sometimes I’ll have bad days, and sometimes I’ll feel fine. Just like any mental illness. My BPD doesn’t make me or others evil. We just need a bit more care, love and support. 

Next Steps

  • Anyone can contact the Samaritans on their 24-hour helpline to talk things through. 116 123
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers advice and support on mental health. Visit their website or call The Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service on 0300 5000 927, 9:30am - 4pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Mind offers advice and support to people with mental health problems. Their helpline runs nine to six from Monday to Friday. 0300 123 3393
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 15-Feb-2018