The first time I ever heard the term ‘Personality Disorder’ was when I was studying psychology at college. We were looking at criminals and discussing the link – personality disorders. They didn’t explain to us, or at least not well, that not all people with PDs end us as criminals or monsters. Things you read in the media also tend to portray people with a personality disorder as a monster or someone that’s not very nice. I’m not being big headed, but I personally feel like ‘real’ Lucie, me without the disorder, is a lovely girl who is compassionate, cares an awful lot for others and bubbly. When my disorder affects me, yes, I can be an angry, irritable, depressed and anxious person. I don’t see that as the real me. This isn’t an excuse for the way I think or act, but it’s me saying that I acknowledge that I can go into a fit of rage as a defence mechanism and that I would never mean the thing I say. I’d never want to hurt myself or those around me, it’s a side effect of the disorder. However, those that really know me know that when my disorder takes over, it’s not the ‘real’ me. They know that when I say ‘I hate you, leave me’ that I wouldn’t want that in my wildest dreams. They know that me saying that is to upset and hurt myself rather than them…self-sabotage. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the symptoms or effects of BPD may make us look like a ‘monster’ but we’re not. We’re poorly and need support. If purposefully shouted at you, meant all the hurtful things they said, that would be a monster. But someone who has intrusive thoughts, possibly thinks that you don’t really love them or see situations negatively, they’re going to react as if it’s all true.
If you read my post ‘It’s all in your head’, you’ll have some understanding of how the brain is affected after trauma and, in turn, how it can affect your emotions, thoughts and behaviours. Our emotion centre is overactive, we pick up on a trigger and then we have a crisis. We may shout, we may cry, we may hibernate or break-down, but that does NOT make us monsters. We do not do this intentionally.
At my local support group, we were all saying that all we need is a celebrity to come out and share their BPD story…that way we will be seen in a different light! I hate to say that but it’s true. Society as a whole needs to be more understanding or educated better about BPD. I’m even fed up of doctors and therapists asking the wrong things, things that someone with BPD would find impossible to answer, or asking ‘Which book do you recommend I read to learn more about BPD before our session?’. There aren’t enough people trained to support us. The stigma attached to the disorder is so outdated and people are scared. They hear the term ‘BPD’ and instantly think of criminals, monsters. Out of 18 private mental health specialist therapists in my area, 16 have gotten back to me and all have said no, they don’t work with BPD patients…’I’ve found that people like you are impossible to treat’…THANKS!
We need to be understood, given a chance, a lifeline so that we can get better.
We are not monsters. We are people.