A little while back, I did an interview with my cousin about her experience with Preeclampsia during her pregnancy. Unfortunately, it was severe and resulted in her son being born prematurely at just 29 weeks. Fortunately, he was a little trooper and is continuing to smash his milestones, now a happy, healthy little boy.
More recently, I wrote a post about Depression. A friend of mine very kindly got in touch after I published this, offering her support after her own experiences. Thinking back to the interview with my cousin and the amazingly positive feedback it received, it occurred to me that this was an opportunity.
My friend has Borderline Personality Disorder. This is one of those often misunderstood conditions that the general public simply doesn’t understand. There is just not enough awareness.
The only way we can change that is by raising awareness ourselves. We need to put the information out there, preferably with personal accounts to help people understand not just what BPD is, but what it is like living with it.
Sophie is a mother to a lovely little boy, has her own baking business and somehow always manages to look put-together and have a smile on her face. I honestly would never have realised the struggle she faces daily, she is always so happy and friendly! It just goes to show, you never know the battles others are fighting!
So, I thought up a bunch of questions I hoped might be helpful and interesting. Sophie very kindly answered, with some educating and personal information that has certainly left me feeling more understanding of the condition.
I hope this can help raise awareness and understanding! On with the questions!
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition that involves an influx of intense high and low moods, with uncontrollable bouts of emotions such as anger, anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, loss of concentration, confusion, misunderstanding, feeling numb, suicidal, finding it hard to maintain friendships, impulsive behaviour, loneliness, and paranoia. Every person with BPD experiences many different intense emotions at the same time.
When did you first suspect you might have a condition that needed diagnosing? Has it been there your whole life or do you feel it has progressed as you’ve gotten older?
From as young as possibly 2 years old, I have experienced bouts of depression. At 17 years old I attempted to take my life 3 times. I was then put on anti-depressants to stabilise my mood, however, I started getting paranoid and anxious. The doctor just said I suffered from depression and anxiety. When I finally had my son I took a turn for the worst and sought to seek out medical advice. This time my mental health was taken more seriously and began my journey to discover my final mental health diagnosis. I received my diagnosis in 2016 after nearly a 3-year long battle.
Was it the diagnosis you were expecting?
Nearer the end of the diagnosis I knew I had BPD as my years of research always gave me the same results to my intense emotions.
What do you think the biggest misconceptions about BPD are?
The biggest misconception I have found is that BPD is not ‘bad enough’, however, the emotions can sometimes be that of a schizophrenia or bipolar patient.
Did you find it difficult discussing mental health with family and friends? Were you afraid to tell them?
Mental health has always been such a tricky subject to bring up in a conversation so at first I did not tell anyone apart from my husband; however, the more help I am receiving the easier and better I find sharing my mental health outcome.
How does BPD affect you on a normal, day-to-day basis?
BPD affects me so differently every single day that I’m tired before the day has started! Even a distressing dream or nightmare can change my mood for the day.
Do you feel you’ve had to change things about your daily life to accommodate your diagnosis?
I have changed a little of my daily life to accommodate my BPD. I try not to hide all my emotions so attempt to talk to close friends and family to change my mood for the day. I also take daily medication and see the Dr every month with my ongoing progress of medication.
How did you feel when you were told you had BPD? Was it a relief to know exactly what was affecting you?
It has been a relief to finally get my diagnosis after many, many years of feeling so emotional and unknowing of how I was. I take each day as it comes with my BPD now.
What do you wish people knew/understood about BPD and mental health in general?
I wish people understood that BPD and mental health is hard enough for us on a daily basis so negativity and judgemental behaviour does not help. Please don’t judge a book by its cover.
What advice would you give pre-diagnosis you if you could?
My advice pre-diagnosis would be to ask for CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) and seek as much from your GP.
What advice would you give to others who might be struggling with mental health or afraid to talk about it or get diagnosed?
My advice would be that mental health is common and you are not alone. Seek help from family, close friends, Samaritans, your GP until you are heard.
I hope this has given you a good bit about BPD. This is my perspective of BPD and some people have more or less symptoms than mine. I could talk about it forever and how it feels; however the poor readers would be sent to sleep!
Thank you, Sophie!
I really do want to thank Sophie for talking about something that might be difficult to be so honest about. People like her are helping the rest of us to understand what these conditions are really like and, hopefully, with greater understanding we can increase acceptance when it comes to mental health issues.
Sophie also wanted people to understand that her BPD is the result of a tumultuous childhood, feeling unloved and abandoned, going through custody battles, being abused, and suffering traumatic experiences such as rape and violent relationships.
Considering everything she has been through it is simply incredible what a stable life, happy family, beautiful child and pioneering business she has created.
I truly hope those reading this will walk away not just feeling they have a better understanding of BPD and mental health, but feeling inspired that such things do not have to hold you back. And no matter what you go through you can always come out the other side stronger and with a happy, loving future ahead of you.