We all know that Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) carries with it lots of stigma that causes its sufferers to often feel ashamed and ostracized A great deal of the work that I do with this website and all over the world involves putting human faces to the diagnosis -- a dx that is so often grossly misunderstood.
That's why you can imagine how saddened and emotionally triggered I was last night when, during my daily perusing of the net for articles on BPD and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) I came across a blog post with the title, "Never Date a Girl with Borderline Personality Disorder." (First off - don't Google it to click on it -- you'll only make the search engines think it's a topic we are looking for and possibly give the article a higher ranking -- the opposite of what we want to do with materials like this. The best way to reduce the presence of such materials is to avoid clicking through. It is also probably a landmine of emotional triggers, and ain't nobody got time for that. )
I didn't read beyond the title and formulated a response based on just the title alone.
Before I go on to that, I'll refer anyone who was attracted to this title because they have been hurt by a partner with BPD and consider such people to be "monsters" to read this post: We Are Not Monsters | Borderline Personality Disorder.
People with BPD (especially women, since they are more likely to be diagnosed and open about the disorder) have an enormous amount of stigma attached to their illness. Because of this, they often have feelings of shame, and others truly are afraid of them and their behaviors. The only way this can change is to continue to spread accurate information about the experience of having BPD and to have more of us share our stories in a human, open way. The other important component is that people with BPD (women and men alike) be afforded opportunities for recovery, such as DBT, and that they take advantage of such opportunities. Through therapy, we can learn how to adapt our behaviors from dysfunctional to highly effective. It takes work, but it is highly possible.
You can watch my video on how I am in recovery from BPD here: Both Sides of the Borderline | My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder.
If you are a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder and are concerned about how this will affect your ability to find and maintain a relationship with a mate, keep in mind - first of all - the issue of boundaries. The man or woman that you are establishing a connection with will likely be, as is normal in the context of relationship building, revealing increasingly private and deeper information as the relationship progresses.
I'm not suggesting that you "hide" or "conceal" your diagnosis, as this only plays right into the shame and stigma -- and it's really not an option for advocates me once a potential suitor asks, "So, what do you do?" but sharing a mental health diagnosis early on in any relationship isn't necessarily the best course of action when you are getting to know someone. This is your private business that can be revealed once trust is established and sharing the information becomes relevant to the relationship at hand.
Please remember that although the suffering that comes with having a disorder like BPD can be very intense, your diagnosis is NOT who you are. It is just one PART of who you are.
And to those who would be concerned to date us: Yes, we have our challenges. We are highly emotionally sensitive, but that often means we are also very passionate and highly empathetic. Just as there are potential "negatives" with the issues we cope with, there is a plethora of positive possibilities as well. Go beyond the diagnosis. Get to know the PERSON. Get to know their heart, their soul, their dreams, and intentions. Support them in receiving the help they need, and then remember what I've pointed out to them: they are more than their diagnosis and the collection of stereotypes that permeate the media about who they are.
Thanks for reading.