I have never been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder by a professional. My current therapist doesn’t use these kind of diagnoses and often tells me we are all on the borderline spectrum somewhere. However I identify with several of the core symptoms and the difficulty feeling a secure sense of self, as well as being hyper-reactive to triggers of invalidation or abandonment due to the prevalence of these kind of traumas in my young and adolescent life.
I have intense compassion for those bloggers here and anyone who suffers from BPD which means I am always happy when I come across something that sheds light on one of the most stigmatising of mental illnesses and has been called “the leprosy of mental illnesses” by mental health professionals who themselves are often not able to tolerate the full spectrum of behaviours of the disorder if they don`t have strong understanding and therapeutic framework.
Today I found the book Beyond Borderline : True Stories of Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder in my local bookshop and was moved to tears well before I reached page 10.
The following statistics enlightened me further to its widespread prevalence.
- More than 14 million Americans have the disorder making it more common than Bi Polar Disorder and Schizophrenia combined.
- 40 percent of people diagnosed as Bi Polar are, in fact Borderline.
- There is a inheritability factor of about 67 percent in BPD.
- 10 percent of sufferers of the disorder end up taking their lives.
Treatment and recovery from the disorder demands the establishment of a strong bond with a therapist who can help to contain the sufferer`s working through of complex abandonment and trauma issues that can lay hidden for years. It demands also that the sufferer come to understand perceptual distortions which come to characterise the illness and function to split off pain and may block healing helping them to tolerate and de-escalate painful emotions and emotional triggers.
The book contains 24 personal stories from sufferers and sheds so much light on the illness. These are people who have gone to the depths of hell, pain and terror that many will never know making us cognisant of the full register of emotional pain that underlies a condition that often functions to keep the sufferer trapped in the most terrilble emotional isolation.
The experiences shared, show that BPD is a disorder that can be recovered from, if sufferers are willing to do the work and move towards psychological understanding that involves navigation, rather than splitting off of pain. I highly recommend the book not only to those who suffer but those who seek to understand and in seeking that understanding will help us to address the stigma of a condition that so badly needs our empathy, insight and compassion.