Welcome to the blog for Free Your Mind mental health anti-stigma campaign

This is the blog for the Free Your Mind campaign which aims to battle stigma towards mental illness through the use of music, art, film, and culture.
The blog consists of informative and, hopefully, entertaining articles/posts.
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Monday, 9 August 2010

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BDP) is the mental illness I personally have been diagnosed with when I was 18 (this is the age from which one can be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder). Before doing research for this blog post I was unsure of quite exactly what my diagnosis meant. In my last post (read here) I wrote about the importance of understanding mental illness, and Free Your Mind is all about enlightening yourself to help in the battle against stigma towards mental health disorders, so I would be contradicting myself anyway if I did not learn more about my own diagnosis.

This is what I found.

The primary feature of borderline personality disorder is an extensive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. Those diagnosed with BPD are also prone to being very impulsive. This disorder is one that occurs in most by the time they reach early adulthood.

Impulsive behaviours are highlighted, in what I have found, as a main feature of borderline personality disorder. As I investigate further I will explain how I relate to these behaviours.

Someone diagnosed with this disorder will also have most of the following symptoms:
  • Frantically trying to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable and interpersonal relationships; which is characterised by alternating between extremes of idealising the situation and devaluing it, and feeling unworthy of love
  • Significant and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsivity; normally in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., sex, substance abuse, spending, binge eating).
I just want to stop listing symptoms for a moment to talk about my experiences with borderline personality disorder and the impulsive behaviours related to it. The two areas I experience impulsive behaviours in most are sex and substance abuse. A few years ago I was in a relationship with a drug addict who also used to sell the stuff, he got me into taking crack and cocaine - which with my impulsive behaviour wasn't hard - and I am not proud to say this but that soon became my main reason for being with him. (However, I did finally pick up my self-respect and ditch him.) My impulses led me to stay in a destructive relationship where I devalued myself to stay with someone for shallow reasons, although he was no saint either, he was abusive and manipulative, which just adds to show the danger the impulsive behaviours of BPD have gotten me into.

Added to the above, my experiences with impulsive behaviours include getting into other kinds of trouble. Unfortunately, at the end of last year, I was raped due to leaving my keys in my front door whilst asleep at night; how this links to impulsivity is that it was from these behaviours that this situation transpired. Almost a whole year before this incident, I had been drinking alcohol (I no longer drink) and decided to go shopping at night, I walked to the bus stop and got talking to two men I met there.I stupidly asked them to come back to my flat, where I decided I liked one but not the other. The one I wasn't interested in left, and I don't think I need to go into detail about what happened next. Almost a year later, the man I had turned down tuned up at my flat, demanding to be let in, I said no and called the police. The next time he came by, I was asleep in bed and had left my keys in the front door.

I'm sharing my experience with you purely to show how I relate to my research. If you do choose to form a negative opinion of me, that's fine, you're perfectly entitled to your own opinion. I just prefer being open and honest.

Back to the list:
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-harming behaviour
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling temper
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or sever dissociative symptoms
  • Emotional instability, which is due to significant reactivity of mood (e.g., irritability, anxiety, or intense episodic dysphoria, which usually lasts a few hours and very rarely a few days).
Personally, I can relate to all of the symptoms listed above. I know how frustrating it is to be in a constant flux of emotions My disorder has hindered me from doing things when I wan to do them, such as university and furthering my career, due to hospitalisation, etc. But I'm determined not to give up.

Of course, I have barely scratched the tip of the iceberg in this post, but as I delved into my research I wanted  to at least write about how I relate to what I had found about the main symptoms of borderline personality disorder. I hope to explore this particular mental illness further in future posts.

As always, your comments are more than welcome. If you have anything to add to what I have said and/or an opinion on it, please do share!

New Posts! April 2012 - posted new blog posts on the subject of borderline personality disorder and other personality disorders.


  1. You did a great job of describing the impulsive nature of BPD. I know I still struggle with this even after five years with BPD. I found a great resource, http://onlineceucredit.com/edu/social-work-ceus-bpic, that specifically talks about controlling impulsive behaviors in BPD patients. I hope this is a help to other BPD sufferers out there.

  2. I received my diagnosis of BPD during my 'holiday' of 14 November 2008 to 17 November 2008, which was my second stay at Greenwich's in-patient hospital, Oxleas House. I went there as the previous evening I was meant to attend a Christmas Do organised by a friend, as they were ''grumpy'' earlier in the day (I can't remember what comment was said, but reading through the Avery Ward discharge report, it states: "Last night he was was meant to stay at a friend's, but he did not. Instead he spent the whole night travelling around on London's buses. He then decided that he needed help so he went to A&E at 0730 this morning.... ....Following assessment on the ward and during ward round, the impression was that this was a crisis admission in the context of what appears to be long-standing personality difficulties. Nil clinical evidence of depression or even significant Affective illness following this admission. Mr ******'s aunt believes a comment made by a friend of his earlier in the day may have extensively upset him."

    However, on the subject of BPD, I was under the care of a chap I have nicknamed Dr Lottery, on the premise that he just kept saying: "you're not depressed; if you'd won the lottery, you'd not be depressed"; basically, he thought I was in there for the sole reason of wasting time and for a change of scenery.

  3. (2)

    Clinically, I'd believe that the most noticable criterion for me, in the official "tick enough boxes to be BPD-ed", is that ''perceived abandonment" one: for example in Sussex, I believed someone was ignoring me, [in-fact their telephone was broken], so I attempted to hang myself - and attempted to seek assistance from Sussex Partnership Trust (useless), and also the ''implusivity'' criterion, in that, it seems like an excellent idea at the time, but in 20 minutes' time, I'd have decided that, whatever it is, was not a good idea, and a shame that I had executed it.

    In-fact, the fact that I was/wasn't depressed wasn't on-the-cards with the Dr Lottery admission, he thought, I thought I was.

    My opinion on that admission, was I was discharged too early, as, only two days later, I had a s136 by the Sussex Police, and was sent to the Eastbourne District General's DoP, whereby I was handed a 'Your Rights & A Guide to the MHA 1983" leaflet, and explained why I was there; obviously I was very confused, and I remember that I sat and stared at a TV in a tiny room, until a AMHP (are they still called that?), a Social Worker and a psychiatrist from SPT. However, the CPN that was sitting with me, a really pleasant chap, said that he believed I should be admitted (either to their in-patient ward, or back to my own CMHT's in-patient unit, which, by then was the Kent & Medway's A Block at Gillingham - horrible 1970s' jobby. However the trio decided that the best course of action was to be seen by my CRHTT in Medway - having now moved to a relative's from Greenwich, in Medway. I was hoping that the GP hadn't moved from Greenwich to Medway, as I knew that KMPT's service was dreadful from previous experience, but he had, so I was landed with a bunch of amateurs.

    Collected by relatives at 0400 that morning, that was my last visit on The Sights and Scenery of Eastbourne, and then cared-for by KMPT