It’s taken me four months since my diagnosis to even start being open about the topic of this post. My family, some friends – even medical professionals – have all but begged me to keep a lid on it, but I refuse to continue perpetuating the stigma by keeping my gob/blog shut.
My name is Ebony Nash. I’m a writer, and Senior Marketing Executive for one of the country’s largest sports fashion retailers. I have a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing, will always be found wearing red lipstick, and live with a Persian cat called Sneaky. What you mightn’t know is, I also have Borderline Personality Disorder.
Cue boos, hisses and shudders (mainly from my ex-boyfriends).
BPD gets an incredibly bad rep across the board; whether it’s through the media, general misinformation, or even the field of psychology itself. Whether we’re immortalised as Fatal Attraction’s bunny boilers, mardy Girl; Interrupted wrist bangers or pathological crazy ex-girlfriends in, uh, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Hollywood for one definitely ain’t our biggest fans.
But, what is Borderline Personality Disorder?
The DSM-IV’s criteria of symptoms run as follows (patients must exhibit at least 5 of 9 for diagnosis):
(1) frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
(2) a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternating between extremes of idealisation and devaluation
(3) identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
(5) recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
(6) affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
(7) chronic feelings of emptiness
(8) inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
(9) transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
Feel free to unfollow me/block me/change your I.P. address as you will. I kid. When I got this list of symptoms presented to me following the catalyst of my actual diagnosis (let’s save that for another post), I genuinely thought they were having a laugh.
My (unfortunately former) best friend has BPD. She’s outgoing, quick-witted, and will talk to just about anyone about things she’s passionate about. Her BPD often manifests similarly, which always led me to believe that the disorder was for people of a more extroverted persuasion. I’m shy and guarded, until you put a vodka in me and you’ll only wish I’d shut the fuck up. So, in my head, BPD + me = no chance mate.
However, after looking at each of the criterion in isolation, and then discovering there’s a delightfully insidious sub-type of BPD called ‘quiet BPD’; I started to see the similarities – as much as I didn’t want to.
I want to start a blog series about the struggles (and triumphs!) I’ve faced since my diagnosis – to both break down the stigma and to hopefully help those who may be suffering in silence – so this was just a little confessional to begin with.
If there’s anything you want to know about BPD – on a broad, or more personal level – tweet me @Ebzo and I’ll do a post on it. If you’re a fellow BPD-er, get in touch.