By Tensi Winfield
This post contains mentions of suicide & trauma that may be triggering to some.
I always felt like I was different to other people and I never quite understood why. Then when I received my diagnosis, everything made sense.
Honestly, it was such a relief when I finally had an explanation as to why I had these thoughts & feelings. Sometimes when something so minor happened, it would aggravate me so much that I’d feel this burning anger inside of me. Nothing huge would really happen except me maybe shouting “where the f*ck is my sock!” at the top of my lungs before I whack my arm throwing open a door!
But jokes aside, those intense feelings would be tough when I was younger. Especially if something genuinely difficult would happen…heartbreak, grief, arguments etc. I found it really hard and through one really tough period of my life, I ended up suffering a psychotic episode. Due to my supportive network of family & friends, specified counselling & medication, I was able to stay at home and recover there. I was very fortunate to have that and I’m forever grateful.
It definitely didn’t come without some hurdles. I had days where it all felt too much and all I would do was cry. I felt suicidal and I was genuinely lost in myself. It was bloody tough but with the help I received, I was able to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I know it sounds so cliché but it’s true. Without that, I honestly don’t know where I’d be.
I was actually diagnosed during this time. It’s not something I can remember. I’m not sure if I was actually told at the time…maybe it didn’t quite register in my mind or I forgot due to the psychosis. I don’t really know but when I was told of my diagnosis a couple of years later, I wanted to know more.
Understanding My Diagnosis
Initially the doctor called it EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder) a new name for it apparently. It definitely didn’t sound like a name that I liked – very judgemental. As though my emotions are more heightened than others, I wasn’t this unstable “crazy lady” that ran around shouting at people because I was having some sort of mental breakdown. I was just going through a difficult stage. It wasn’t the sort of name I would use to describe myself.
When I got home, I looked it up straight away and the “old name” of BPD (borderline personality disorder) sounded more appropriate. It was called this because doctors previously believed that it was on the border between two different disorders: neurosis and psychosis. But these terms are no longer used hence the name change. When I looked more into it, I could understand why other people who suffer with the disorder also preferred BPD.
In a nutshell, it’s a condition that affects how you think & feel. It made complete sense! All those strong emotions & thoughts that always seemed different, finally had a basis behind them. It also meant that I could learn new coping skills that I didn’t know about and talk to other people going through the same thing. It gave me an explanation and a community of supportive people I never knew about.
They say the main treatment for it is some kind of talking therapy and I’ve honestly found talking a MASSIVE help for me. Even just to let it out to try and understand it a bit more myself. I mean I have so many thoughts going round my head sometimes, that I find getting it all down helps release them slightly.
The cause of borderline personality disorder is unclear but it’s been linked to traumatic events during childhood such as neglect or abuse. This is something I’ll get into at a later date but for now, we’ll leave that there.
Yes my diagnosis was the end to so many questions I had but it was also the start to understanding myself a whole lot more.
If you’re there with things you want answers to, please speak to someone. Just asking for help is the first & biggest step you can take.
If you’re still not quite ready but just want to see if it’s something you could talk to your doctor about in the future, I’ve put some information below.
You might be given a diagnosis of BPD if you experience at least 5 of the following things which have lasted for a long time or have a big impact on your daily life:
- You feel very worried about people abandoning you.
- You have very intense emotions that can change quickly (for example, from feeling very happy and confident to suddenly feeling low and sad).
- You don’t have a strong sense of who you are and it can change significantly depending on who you’re with.
- You find it very hard to make and keep stable relationships.
- You feel empty a lot of the time.
- You act impulsively and do things that could harm you (such as binge eating, using drugs or driving dangerously).
- You often self-harm or have suicidal feelings.
- You have very intense feelings of anger, which are really difficult to control.
- When very stressed, you may also experience paranoia or dissociation.
“Hey, I’m Tesni and I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) a few years back. I love to share all about my mental health journey with all the ups & downs and everything I’ve learned along the way.
Let’s face it, life isn’t always sunshine & rainbows but I know how important it is to talk because even on those rainy days, the biggest lessons can happen.”