31 Days of Mental Illness: Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Challenge

Hello everyone,

For those of you that don’t know –

May is mental health awareness month.

To raise awareness of one of my mental illnesses, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) I started my own challenge on Instagram. Unfortunately, I fell super ill with widsom teeth infection and didn’t manage to keep up posting once a day. However, I wanted to accumulate all my questions and answers to help fight the stigma agaisn’t Borderline Personality Disorder. I have put the questions at the end of the post, if anyone wants to participate next year.


31 Days of Mental Illness: Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Challenge

Mental Illness, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Mental Health Stigma


Day 1: What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder is a long-term mental illness that affects a persons ability to regulate their emotions. It is also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD). There are debates among experts, that different sub types of Borderline Personality Disorder exist.  However, commonality symptoms include: intense mood swings which can occur throughout a day, unstable friendships and relationships, explosive anger, impulsiveness, suicidal thoughts, lost of identity, only seeing good or bad in a situation known as splitting, self-harming and anxiety.


Day 2: What are the key differences between Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder caused by a chemical brain imbalance that can have extreme lows and highs lasting from days to months. The manic phases are separate to someone with Bipolar, day-to-day personality. BPD is typically caused by trauma and is a personality disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder is a part of a persons base personality and is characterized by unstable relationships and their moods can change many times during one day. Someone with BPD or Bipolar Disorder can experience intense mood swings and mania, but the length of these phases are very different. The main reasons for this is someone with BPD is triggered by social factors as opposed to the brains neurotransmitters seen in Bipolar Disorder. That is why, the treatment plans are very different for BPD and Bipolar Disorder.


Day 3: How long have you been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder?

I showed traits of clinical depression and anxiety as a child attending CAMHS. I tried cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and Complex Needs, with little success. My record reveals I started showing BPD traits since 2011 (18 years old) when I went manic. However, it wasn’t formerly diagnosed until last June – after a manic episode in May.


Day 4: What mental illnesses are related to Borderline Personality Disorder? 

The most frequent mental illnesses associated with Borderline Personality Disorder are: eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. Around 10% of people with BPD will also have Bipolar Disorder. I do not have an eating disorder but I have Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), which is commonly associated with people with eating disorders. As stated in the previously, I also have anxiety and clinical depression. 


Day 5: What is splitting and how does it affect you?

Splitting is a symptom of BPD and is known as all or nothing / black and white thinking. People split as a defense mechanism to avoid being hurt or rejected from a situation or someone. Splitting can be self-destructive by either viewing someone as all good or bad, not allowing someone with BPD to seize opportunities or have a relationship easily. Although, someone with BPD knows splitting is not reality, their brain can’t process emotions. Key triggers of splitting are friendships and relationships, events, and substance abuse.


Day 6: Do you take any medication for Borderline Personality Disorder?

Last May, I was prescribed Sertaline (anti-depressant) and Quetiapine (anti psychotic) to act as a mood stabiliser, to reduce my anger and to help me sleep. Prior to this, I had tried being on Fluxotine another anti-depressant. Quetiapine made me gain weight dramatically and extremely tired. I went cold turkey about 2 months ago. You are not meant to drink alcohol with quetiapine, but I did when I went out with my friends.

Since coming off the medication my sleep has got worse and I still struggle controlling my moods. So, I will probably go back on a lower dosage in future.  Other medications I’ve heard people with BPD try are: Topamax and Lamitical. These are mood stabilisers to treat bipolar disorder but have been proven in lower dosages to help the symptoms of BPD.


Day 7: What are your main Borderline Personality Disorder triggers?

BPD triggers can vary for different people but my triggers are:

  • Places I have visited with ex friends / boyfriends
  • Bumping into ex friends and boyfriends, and people I don’t like.
  • Lack of sleep
  • Chronic fatigue and flare ups
  • Running out of medication
  • Hostile, negative people and lying
  • Eating, changes my blood pressure
  • My appearance
  • Panic attacks
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Lack of self-confidence in my abilities
  • Making new friends and dating
  • Sad news events and TV programmes
  • Shopping

Day 8: How does unstable relationships affect you?

I  have a very hard time trusting people, and people with BPD are known to very intuitive. Although, I can see when a friendship or relationship is on the path of going wrong / toxic it still hurts me a lot when it does, but only if I care about the person.

Due to have a strong fear of abandonment if someone doesn’t reply to me for a while I automatically think someone hates me. Romantic relationships also tend to go wrong when I start to really care about someone.  I find it easier than other people, to completely cut people off to avoid being abandoned by them, even if they haven’t necessarily done anything wrong.


Day 9: Have you ever suffered from substance abuse?

People with BPD frequently struggle with substance abuse, due to having a loss of identity . A side effect of EDS , is I don’t break drugs down properly. This is dangerous because it means, I need more medication to get better and would need more drugs to get high. In the past, I have drunk excessive alcohol, smoked cannabis, taking ecstasy and cocaine.I also was taking a lot of Tramadol, at one point in my life. However, I realised drugs don’t solve my problems because when they wear off the physical joint pain heightens. My only addictions now are caffeine and nicotine – mainly to keep me awake.


Day 10: Have you ever been hospitalised due to BPD?

I have been in two mental health wards. One was very briefly in 2011, and the last one was last year, where I officially got diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. I wrote about my stay last year at the Whiteleaf Centre and the first few months of my recovery on my blog.

These posts are:

Inside a Psychiatric Ward 

Outside the Psychiatric Ward 

I also wrote a poem when I was a inpatient , but I haven’t published this yet.


Mental Illness, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Mental Health Stigma

Day 11: What emotional support do you have for BPD?

NHS

I have a good and bad experience of mental health. Inpatient wise the support was good, and I had a health coordinator when I left last year. I saw a psychologist and psychiatrist, a few times and was prescribed anti depressants and anti psychotics. Treatment wise I have been rejected from DBT because I can’t form long term relationships with people …even therapists. When I use to go to therapy I felt like I was giving the therapy. I have been offered complex needs again but this isn’t for me. The reason is because people that go to this therapy have very different problems to mine.

Employment

My industrial work placement has been very supportive in terms of any medical appointments I have needed to attend , and boy has there been a lot of them. I am so fortunate to work for a business so understanding to be honest.

Friends and Family 

There are people who check in and know I have highs and lows but who doesn’t ? Sometimes the honesty comes out and sometimes I hold it back. Since, being in the mental health ward last year my family has been there for me more and has more patience with my mood swings. It is better now I don’t live there full time.

University 

My Uni is more understanding of my physical illnesses than my mental health ones. I have had extensions before but like any other student , submitting evidence. Accommodation is a bit more complex and I don’t know if I will get the support I need for my final year.


Day 12: What distractions help your Borderline Personality Disorder?

I have a few things that distract me when I have motivation and physically stronger. These are:

  • Watching TV
  • Reading
  • Writing blog posts and poetry
  • Making arts and crafts
  • Talking to friends
  • Having bubble baths
  • Listening to music
  • Sleeping
  • Nights out

Day 13: What is a ‘normal day’ like for you?

There isn’t really a normal day living with Borderline Personality Disorder. I can get ready to go out and then decide to stay in. You have to follow your moods, but I find it more difficult because my physical illnesses can make my BPD worse and harder to have the energy to see people and do things.


Day 14: What type of  doctors have you seen for your BPD and how have they treated you?

I’ve seen a combination of psychiatrists and psychologists for BPD. The good doctors I have seen are Dr Alex Langford who diagnosed me as an inpatient. Dr Bantic, a psychiatrist that prescribed me with anti-depresants and anti-psychotics and Dr Chis Newth who co-ordinates mental health therapy. I also had a community nurse practitioner who visited my house when I left the mental health ward.

In terms of support, it has been up and down to be honest.  A psycho dynamic assessor told me to try Complex Needs again instead of Dialectal Behaviour Therapy (DBT) once I was referred on from Chris Newth. I am meant to see him again to discuss future options. I am not keen to do Complex Needs again. However, as my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome impacts on my BPD, I saw a psychologist at Stanmore hospital for a few sessions.


Day 15:What are the worse parts about living Borderline Personality Disorder?

The worse parts of BPD are overthinking everything. I feel no one truly understands me and that leaves me feeling extremely lonely.


Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Challenge


Day 16: What are the best parts about living with Borderline Personality Disorder?

The best parts of BPD are the euphoria you feel when you see a glimpse of happiness and being critical, helps me write academic arguments in education.


Day 17: Have you ever met anyone else with BPD?

I had a best friend a child who had BPD, which probably makes sense in hindsight why we got on so well. I also have another best friend with BPD now, who is high-functioning. I also met my housemates friend once with BPD, who I seemed to get along with and one of my brothers also suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder.


Day 18: What are the scariest part of the future with BPD?

The scariest parts of the future is not knowing if someone will say something that will push me over the edge to want to die. Other things are if I will ever be able to keep down a job properly, due to lots of medical appointments and feeling unwell and whether I can keep down a functioning relationship, being so scared everyone will abandon me.


Day 19: Is Borderline Personality Disorder curable?

Yes, Borderline Personality Disorder can be cured through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Dialectal Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and medication. However, not everyone will recover from BPD.


Day 20: Do you self-harm? If yes, how?

Yes, I do self-harm but it more a habit of mine as a coping mechanism. I self-harm by picking skin, pulling my hair out, cutting, not always taking my medication and consuming too much alcohol. I wrote a blog post called Borderline Personality Disorder and Me: Addicted to Self-Harming if you want to learn more about what led me to self-harm.


Day 21: Have you ever tried to commit suicide?

I have tried to commit suicide twice, both times ending up in a mental health ward.


Day 22: How to deal with suicidal thoughts?

It really varies, sometimes I do talk about how I am feeling with friends and family. Although, most the time I draw on my darker days or try to cry to get it all out and then sleep with the help of sleeping tablets.


Day 23: Have you tried any therapy treatments for BPD? If yes, what?

Although, I have tried CBT this was not specifically tailored around BPD, as it was before my diagnosis.


Day 24: Do you have a loss of identity?

Yes. I have many different dress sense styles,  struggle with self-worth and often tell people I don’t have a personality anymore and I just suck.


Day 25: Have you ever experienced mania?

This one is a hard one to answer as what is mania for one person might not be for another. I see myself in true mania, twice when I tried to end my own life. Although, some people and doctors would say I am in mania when I indulge in risky behaviours.  Risky behaviours can include, spending to much money, breaking the law, taking illegal drugs etc.


Day 26: What are your experiences of fear of abandonment?

As a child growing up, I believed my family didn’t love me, and one of my brothers was always a priority over me and my other brother.  I think looking back even the simply things, like my mum not go to parents evening, affected me too.  I have always had a fear of abandonment in every type of relationship and people do tend to leave me whether it be a day or years later.  In terms of guys,  my experience is,  they just want to get to know me because they are bored and until something better comes along in their life. So, I tend not to get to close to anyone and have been taking a break from dating.


Day 27: Have you ever suffered from nightmares?

I get nightmares less frequently now, but I use to have nightmares I would end up homeless and be a heroin addict for some reason and get murdered from someone stabbing me from behind.


Day 28: Do you worry what people think of you?

I know I care to much of what people think of me as I don’t want to come across fake or two-faced. My moods do change around certain people but I also can’t help but be honest about things, which some people love because they know where they stand. However, my honesty can cause some people to hate me.


Day 29: How do you find the motivation to do things with BPD?

If I have had rest days I find it easier to do what I need to. If I haven’t I try to do smaller tasks first and leave the big tasks until I have more  energy.


Day 30: What are some lyrics that help explain what you are feeling right now?

I listen to a range of music with a lot being liquid Drum and Bass.  One of the best songs that helps explain my BPD is: Trauma by Hybrid Minds

Moments fade
Life moves on
The future’s brighter
Brighter than our past ever was

We chase each other till we lose our heads
Going round and round
We run around in circles
Spiraling into the abyss, this is it
There’s no light inside the tunnel
Did things, what was said, we’re in pain in the end
It hurt me, to hurt you
So let’s get this trauma out the way


Day 31: What is your safe place and/ or person when you are upset?

My safe place can also be my trigger but it is my Dad. He says some very hurtful things sometimes but I know when push comes to shove, he will always try to help me and be there for me.  Although, I can’t get there to much  Valencia, Spain will always have a place in my heart, because it was a time I was truly happier.  So, if I am having a really bad day I will reminisce over photos of my time there in 2016 and 2017.


Mental Illness, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Mental Health Stigma

Have your Say 

Have you participated in any mental health challenges and what do you think about mental health stigma today?


Sharing is Caring 

I would love if you shared this post to raise awareness of Borderline Personality Disorder.


Share your Mental Health Story

I am passionate about breaking down mental health stigma. If you suffer with a mental health disorder and would like to be a guest writer on my blog you can make a submission below:

https://goo.gl/forms/xDIWQHALXJ9ZLeHs2


Related Posts

Inside a Psychiatric Ward

Borderline Personality Disorder and Me – Addicted to Self-Harming

Emotions: An Original Poem about Borderline Personality Disorder

Confessions of a Zebra: #3 Borderline Personality Disorder and Me – Katie


Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Challenge: Questions

Day 1: What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Day 2: What are the key differences between Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder?

Day 3: How long have you been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Day 4: What mental illnesses are related to Borderline Personality Disorder? 

Day 5: What is splitting and how does it affect you?

Day 6: Do you take any medication for Borderline Personality Disorder?

Day 7: What are your main Borderline Personality Disorder triggers?

Day 8: How does unstable relationships affect you?

Day 9: Have you ever suffered from substance abuse?

Day 10: Have you ever been hospitalised due to BPD?

Day 11: What emotional support do you have for BPD?

Day 12: What distractions help your Borderline Personality Disorder?

Day 13: What is a ‘normal day’ like for you?

Day 14: What type of  doctors have you seen for your BPD and how have they treated you?

Day 15:What are the worse parts about living Borderline Personality Disorder?

Day 16: What are the best parts about living with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Day 17: Have you ever met anyone else with BPD?

Day 18: What are the scariest part of the future with BPD?

Day 19: Is Borderline Personality Disorder curable?

Day 20: Do you self-harm? If yes, how?

Day 21: Have you ever tried to commit suicide?

Day 22: How to deal with suicidal thoughts?

Day 23: Have you tried any therapy treatments for BPD? If yes, what?

Day 24: Do you have a loss of identity?

Day 25: Have you ever experienced mania?

Day 26: What are your experiences of fear of abandonment?

Day 27: Have you ever suffered from nightmares?

Day 28: Do you worry what people think of you?

Day 29: How do you find the motivation to do things with BPD?

Day 30: What are some lyrics that help explain what you are feeling right now?

Day 31: What is your safe place and/ or person when you are upset?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s