Myths about Borderline Personality Disorder.

 

There are a lot of myths surround BPD and with this post I hope to help demystify them.

People with BPD are manipulative and hospital seeking – This is not true for a majority of people with BPD. There are of course those who are manipulative and do anything to get into hospital or stay in hospital. A lot of patients with BPD don’t want to go anywhere near a hospital ward and thus when actually needing psychiatric inpatient care they are often sectioned under the Mental Health Act because they refuse to go into hospital.

Professionals, the Police and even family will tar BPD sufferers with the same brush because we all have the same disorder so should all behave in the same way right? Sometimes when our emotions and distress is very high we want to be somewhere that is safe and lose responsibility of ourselves for a short while. Hospital gives us a routine a safe haven for us to fall at anytime and someone will always be around to pick up the pieces. Because we can become very used to hospital very quickly it becomes detrimental to us. Hospital is only used as a last option for people with BPD due to that reason and a short stay is most likely just to help you through the crisis and to make sure you stay alive, once the crisis is over the admission is ended.

Our fears of abandonment will cause our behaviour to appear manipulative but we are so scared of losing those close to us we don’t want to hurt them we just don’t want them to leave us.

People with BPD are pathological liars – this is not the case at all. In most instants the accused liar is being tarred off because someone prior to them or another person with the same disorder has lied. The accused liar may have a genuine issue but is seen as a hypochondriac or plain lying because they are just attention seeking and because of this assumption the genuine issue goes untreated or left to get worse. People with BPD in times of distress and pressure can actually find it very difficult to lie at all, instead they may choose to omit certain things from what they are being asked and not reveal anything either.

People who self harm do it for attention – No not at all, I kept my self harm hidden, and I was ashamed of a behaviour I was indulging in but couldn’t stop. The only person who would know I self harmed was my husband. Until I became ready then I asked for help if I had an urge. Now I don’t hide my arms, my scars are a part of me now and I am not ashamed. Of course there are people who will take pictures of their self harm and post them online, I do not understand this behaviour but understand it happens a lot with young people who are very impressionable. There are many stories out there about parents/partners discovering their loved one is harming themselves, and the shock of how long it has been hidden from them.

People with BPD are very demanding – In some instants yes we are but only out of pure frustrating that we have lived with this condition for so long we are tired of fighting and just wish it would go away and we become normal.  Those BPD patients who aren’t ready for recovery/therapy will fight any help at all costs; during this time is when they can be seen as demanding. I am in a state of wanting to recover and I am taking control myself and allowing the professionals to help me. I do not see myself as demanding.

People with BPD are dangerous – No not at all least not to other people, maybe to themselves when in a distressed state and when suicidal they will be a danger to themselves. Borderlines want acceptance they will not do anything that will harm others as they fear if they did that would push people away and they would then abandon them. Borderlines hurt themselves not others.

Borderline Personality Disorder is untreatable – whilst there are no approved medications designed for treating BPD, there are meds that can help with the symptoms. Mood stabilisers and anti depressants are often used to help stabilise mood and anti psychotics are used to help with anger, anxiety and agitation, they are also used on a PRN basis instead of using benzodiazepines. The therapy DBT has been designed by a therapist who suffered with BPD herself for BPD. For patients who are ready to recover this therapy is life saving. There are other therapies available such as Schema therapy and MBT.

All persons diagnosed with BPD are victims of abuse – No not the case at all, I believe we are predisposed to developing a disorder and the smallest thing can trigger off the disorder. For some people it could be a friend/family member dying that they were close to, moving around a lot, a best friend moving far away are just a few examples. I was a victim of abuse and that is where my BPD resulted from.

BPD sufferers are all women – No not at all whilst the percentage between male and female sufferers is higher for women, males can and do develop the disorder.  BPD is a real psychiatric diagnosis and one to be taken seriously and whilst men may experience it different to women the criteria remains the same for both genders.

BPD is a variation of Bipolar Disorder – No not at all. People with Bipolar experience mood swings which last for weeks and months rather than a few hours, although there is a rare variant of Bipolar Disorder where a person can ultra rapid cycle. A person may develop both BPD and Bipolar Disorder. Sometimes a person is misdiagnosed as Bipolar/BPD and in fact they have the other disorder.

Children and Adolescents cannot be diagnosed with BPD – In the UK mental health professionals do not like to diagnose BPD before 18 as they believe the personality is still developing, they may however give a provisional diagnosis of traits and once the patient has transferred to Adult services they can be officially diagnosed with BPD.

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