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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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Understanding BPD and Other Personality Disorders (Part Three)

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder and Other Personality Disorders (Part-Three)
Within this blog post (and throughout this blog-series) I wish to further explore the thought processes, and behaviours, related to BPD (and other personality disorders); and how these relate to our rapidly changing states of mind, feelings and emotions.
(The mental health diagnosis I have been given is that of borderline personality disorder. ~ Nicola Edwards)
This blog post is a continuation of "Understanding BPD and other personality disorders" Parts One and Two.

One of the recognised symptoms of borderline personality disorder is "identity disturbance" - which is, a significant, and persistently, unstable self-image or sense of self - and is, another large contributing factor towards my own difficulties with communicating and interacting, with other people and the world around me.

"Identity disturbance" is also known as "identity diffusion" (terms which refer to the difficulties a person may have in determining who they are in relation to other people).

Often, I feel as though I am not a real person, I feel as if I am non-existent. 
Like, I'm a work of fiction; an invisible; a ghost.

Identity disturbance can make it hard for people, like myself, to find our place in the world; and difficult for us to identify, or convey, a "consistent" and "stable" personality.

Those with borderline personality disorder often report changing who they are depending on the circumstances and how they believe others want them to behave.
This I can certainly relate to: in most situations I will attempt to "blend in."

Often find I find myself "tailoring" my behavior to suit the circumstances or situation.

I observe the other people around me, and will then imitate them, in order to display behavior which I believe is deemed to be appropriate at that time.

Sometimes, upon observing and imitating others' behavior, their current behavior will seem to contradict past behavior or actions. When this happens, I find myself reassessing the appropriateness of my own behavior and actions.

Although it is true to say that everyone changes their behavior to some extent in different situations, but with BPD this change in behavior tends to be more profound.

Throughout this blog series on BPD, and other personality disorders, I have been referring a lot to the inconsistencies in those of us with borderline personality disorders, in terms of our thoughts, behaviors and actions.

The "definition" of a borderline personality disorder diagnosis is based upon signs of emotional instability, feelings of depression and chronic emptiness.

The inconsistencies and conflicts in thoughts, behaviors and actions - associated with BPD - tend to leave me at odds with myself; often with my own behavior, and actions, working in spite of myself.

For example:
  • Within my relationship with my parents.

Despite being in my twenties and living alone in independent accommodation, I'm still very dependent on my parents (I spend a lot of time with them, and they often help me out with day-to-day chores).

However, I also often feel "crowded" by them and feel that they are working against me.

I thoroughly enjoy my independence, but also long to be "looked after", or "cared for" by another person.

  • My thoughts and actions work in spite of myself in a similar way in terms of "Isolation vs. Socialising."

I go through periods of self-isolation - in other words cutting myself off from everyone. But, even during these periods of self-isolation, I become depressed due to extreme feelings of loneliness.

  • Within my relationship with my friends.

When I meet someone whose company I truly enjoy and feel comfortable with; I form "intense" relationships with that person, which can sometimes make my company feel quite demanding.

I focus on those relationships which I have "favouritised", which can cause myself to become partly-dependent upon that particular friend. This may include behaviors such as calling a friend for support at "unreasonable hours" (ie. late-night/early-morning phone-calls).

  • Within "sexual" and/or "romantic" type relationships.

My present feelings and ideas towards all relationships will be rooted in, and based upon, past experiences.

The abusive nature of most of my past "sexual" and "romantic" experiences, means that my present and current ideas towards those types of relationships are very "mixed-up"

I feel confusion and fear towards these sorts of relationships.

Due to past experiences I devalue myself in order to feel approval. I tend to distrust all those whom I "fall" for, I believe that they will use my feelings towards them against me as a form of control and abuse.

Understanding the "identity disturbance" in a borderline personality disorder diagnosis can help to understand the inconsistencies and conflicts in our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and actions.
Understanding "identity disturbance" can help to understand why those of us with the diagnosis behave the way we do.

The next part of this blog series will be titled, "Understanding BPD and PTSD" -where I will look at the crossover between a borderline personality disorder diagnosis and a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis.

Related previous blog posts:

'What is BPD?' August 2010

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