Stigma of being a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder

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This is from a girl with borderline personality disorder. She writes of her experiences with society and therapy. If anyone has other experiences, feel free to comment! Thank you Stephanie, for contributing. We need people who dare to speak up, like you do.

Livingonborderlines
 · 35 like this

July 19 at 2:49am

I wrote this a while ago on the stigma of being a woman with borderline personality disorder, and want to dedicate this to “For free psychology
I DON’T LIKE TO TELL PEOPLE MY DIAGNOSIS. I’LL TELL PEOPLE I’M SICK, I’LL TELL PEOPLE I SEE A THERAPIST, I’LL TELL PEOPLE I HAVE “EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS” BUT I’M ASHAMED OF “BORDERLINE.” SOMETIMES I JUST SAY I HAVE SOME OTHER MENTAL DISORDER BECAUSE THE STIGMA ATTACHED TO IT IS LESS THAN THE STIGMA OF BEING BORDERLINE. YES, MENTAL DISORDERS, ALL MENTAL DISORDERS HAVE A STIGMA BUT I FEEL SOME ARE WORSE THAN OTHERS. BORDERLINE IS ONE OF THE MOST STIGMATIZED DISORDERS, THAT ALONG WITH DRUG ABUSE (WHICH ISN’T A MENTAL DISORDER BUT IS USUALLY RELATED TO IT) IT’S SEEN AS OUR FAULT. IT’S NOT A “CHEMICAL IN-BALANCE.” YOU CAN’T SEE THE REASONS FOR WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO ON A BRAIN SCAN.
  • borderlYOU CAN’T EXPLAIN OUR FEARS, OUR RAGE AND OUR DESPAIR WITH NEUROTRANSMITTERS AND SYNAPSES. WE CAN’T PULL OUT THE LATEST EDITION OF THE DSM-V AND POINT TO A DESCRIPTION THAT INVOKES SYMPATHY, THE VERY DEFINITION OF OUR ILLNESS FURTHER INCRIMINATES US. WE HAVE “INTENSE EMOTIONAL OUTBURSTS.” WE HAVE “UNSTABLE RELATIONSHIPS.” WE ARE NOTORIOUSLY “PROMISCUOUS.” WE ARE IMPULSIVE. WE ARE DEMANDING. WE DRIVE TOO FAST. WE ARE LOUD. WE ARE ANGRY. WE ARE AGGRESSIVE. WE WANT YOUR ATTENTION. 
  • THERAPISTS AND PSYCHIATRISTS DO NOT UNDERSTAND US. WE DON’T BEHAVE THE WAY THEY EXPECT US TO. WE DON’T SIT ON THEIR SOFT LEATHER COUCHES, DESCRIBING OURSELVES AS THE PASSIVE, HELPLESS VICTIMS THEY’RE USED TO SEEING. WE AREN’T THE GIRLS HIDING IN OUR CLOSETS ALL DAY, WE ARE THE WOMEN WHO WRITE OUR RAGE ON THE WALLS. WE ARE NOT SITTING BY THE PHONE WAITING, WE ARE SCREAMING AT YOU IN THE PARKING LOT AT 2:00 AM. WE DON’T STAY IN OUR HOSPITAL BEDS CRYING, ZONED OUT ON AMBIEN, WE ARE THE WOMAN AT THE FRONT DESK CUSSING OUT THE NURSE. WE ARE THE CRAZY BITCHES THAT MEN SPEAK OF.WE ARE TRAUMATIZED. WE ARE ABUSED. WE HAVE DARK PASTS AND WE DON’T LET GO AND WE DON’T HIDE OUR SCARS. SOME OF US EVEN WEAR THEM ON OUR ARMS. UNLIKE MANY OTHER WOMEN WHO HAVE SUFFERED TRAUMAS, WE DON’T GO TO OUR SADNESS, WE GO TO OUR ANGER.

     

    OUR FRUSTRATION IS INTENSE. IN THERAPY WE ARE TAUGHT TO CONTROL OUR “RESPONSES” TO OUR RIGHTEOUS ANGER. WE ARE TOLD THAT OUR REACTIONS ARE “EXTREME.” WE TRY NOT TO “DOMINATE THE CONVERSATION” BUT WE WANT IS TO BE HEARD. WE ARE TIRED OF BEING TOLD TO CONTROL OUR TONE, THE VOLUME OF OUR VOICES. OUR RAGE IS RAW AND WE KNOW THAT IT IS REAL.

    Rage is our comfort zone, the emotions we are not allowed to express “in public”. WE HAVE LEARNED HOW TO TAKE THAT RAGE AND PUT INTO OUR OURSELVES.

  • WE HAVE HURT OURSELVES SO MUCH MORE THAN WE WILL EVER HURT YOU. OUR RAGE IS OUR DRUG ABUSE AND OUR BINGE DRINKING. OUR RAGE IS OUR OVERDOSES AND OUR ALCOHOL POISONING. OUR RAGE IS OUR CUTTING. OUR RAGE IS OUR SHATTERED MIRRORS, OUR RAGE IS THE HOLES WE PUNCHED IN OUR OWN WALLS. OUR RAGE IS OUR BROKEN ROMANCES; OUR RAGE IS OUR BROKEN DREAMS. 

     

    soulBut we are more than what people see of us. Behind our HOUR-GLASS FIGURES, OUR SULTRY SWAGGER THAT ATTRACTS MEN’S STARES, IS THE GIRL WHO NO ONE ASKED TO PROM. UNDERNEATH OUR TUBE TOPS AND OUR MINISKIRTS IS A BODY THAT WAS ABUSED. INSIDE THE TOPLESS PICTURE WE SENT YOU, IS THE MESSAGE THAT WE WANT TO BE LOVED. THE SUBTITLES THAT YOU CAN’T READ, TO OUR SASSY MOUTHY COMMENTS, IS OUR FEAR THAT WE AREN’T GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU. NEXT TO THE SMASHED BEER BOTTLES, IS OUR FRUSTRATION THAT WE DISAPPOINTED YOU. AGAIN. OUR DESPAIR OVER US ROLLS LIKE LIQUID OVER CONCRETE, WASHING AWAY WITH THE RAIN. 


    WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW IS THAT WE INHALE OUR SHAME WITH THE SMOKE OF OUR CIGARETTES. OF ALL THE “RECKLESS” ACTIONS WE SO RIGHTEOUSLY DEFEND, WE ARE ASHAMED OF EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM. WE ARE ASHAMED OF ALMOST EVERYTHING WE DO AND ALMOST EVERYTHING WE DON’T DO. ALL OF THOSE ANGRY TEXTS WE SENT YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM READS, “PLEASE DON’T LEAVE.” WE HATE THE STIGMA OF OUR ILLNESS MORE THAT YOU CAN EVER IMAGINE, BUT WE’RE HERE IN THIS CAMP FOR A REASON. AT SOME POINT IN OUR LIVES WE WERE LEFT ALONE. YES, SOME WOMEN IN OUR SAME SHOES WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO “HANDLE IT” OR “MOVE ON.” BUT WE DIDN’T. BECAUSE WE COULDN’T.

    This is all I have left to say: Please don`t leave us. Please don`t leave us alone again.

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9 responses »

  1. Really interesting article.

    Have witnessed how borderline pd patients have been (mis)treated in hospital. 😦
    Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Perfect! Just perfect! Thank you for sharing this! I relate so much! I almost want to cry because this post just translated every internal and external scream I have ever made. Thank you!

  3. I used to feel so conflicted, so helpless really, when a BPD girl came into the Emergency Department where I worked as an Adolescent (up to age 19) Emergency Physician. It seemed like the same scenario over and over: boyfriend threatens to leave, girl takes a handful of pills (sometimes the wrong kind, ones that can really kill you), calls boyfriend to tell him she did it, he, totally freaked out and eaten up with guilt yet feeling trapped, calls Emergency Services and has her rushed to the hospital. As soon as he pulls up, panting from the sprint, to her bedside she is either all smiles or refuses to talk to him or pitches a screaming fit; at which point the nurses and I show up with the tall paper cup full of activated charcoal and magnesium citrate, to neutralize the pills and get them out of her body so she can keep living. But she refuses to drink it. So I tell her gently but firmly that if she doesn’t drink it I will have to put a large tube into her stomach to pump the pills out. Either she does or does not drink it; and either I do or do not put a tube down.

    The nurses get very upset with her because they have a million other patients whose IVs are beeping or their cardiac monitors are beeping or they themselves are beeping, so the uncooperative defiant girl gets the cold shoulder and only as much attention as is needed to get the job done.

    But what’s really happening? A girl is scared of being left alone, so scared that she will take desperate measures to keep him, to make him tell her he loves her, one more time. She doesn’t know that acetaminophen will kill your liver if you take too many, and she does not expect to end up in the Intensive Care Unit, although once she is conscious enough, she really enjoys all the attention. Intensive Care is what she needs. Really.

    But she can’t let herself get that close. Get out of here! No, please don’t leave me!

    It’s a hard hand of cards to draw. It’s an excruciatingly painful way to live. For those who live with BPD and manage to find some peace and balance in their lives, I have tremendous respect.

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