When I first got diagnosed with BPD, the first thing I did was I researched it. I scoured Facebook for pages on it, and I found some groups that has thousands of people in it. These are people who have BPD, or knows someone with BPD. And with every post, I found that I connected to them in some way. I understood what they were going through to a certain extent. So, I reached out and put a post up explaining that I have never really talked to another person who has BPD and wanted to get their insight on what it was like living with it. And a few people reached out to me, and one of them was Claire Winn.
So, I asked her some questions and these are her answers and I’ll put my view underneath her answer.
Question: When you were first told that you had BPD, do you remember what you were thinking/feeling?
Claire: The first thing I remember thinking when I was I had BPD was “I told you so” haha. I had been through a whole rigamarole of crap with my GP and she had told me I was attention seeking etc, so when I finally got the diagnosis it was kind of a relief to know that I wasn’t crazy and that actually there were a lot of people out there who felt the same as me.
Me: I went through something similar. I was diagnosed with Bipolar before and I always thought something wasn’t quite right. There were certain puzzle pieces that didn’t quite fit. So, when I went in to what was supposed to be a routine appointment with my psychiatrist and they said I didn’t have Bipolar but I had BPD. I didn’t feel anything, except when I went home and researched it, it finally felt right. I didn’t feel alone anymore, I knew that whatever I was finally and the intensity of what I was feeling, there were other people who felt the same.
Question: How do you think BPD has effected you?
Claire: BPD has effected me in a lot of ways, but mainly in my relationship with myself. I learnt quite early on that everyone says “you need to love yourself more” blah blah, but for someone with BPD who’s moods can change in that split second, it’s hard to know who you are, let alone love any part of whichever ‘identity’ you might be expressing at that given time. I also learnt that to make friends I had to control certain aspects of my BPD, so instead of getting angry at people, I internalised that anger and it was all aimed at me. I recently realised that actually, I don’t need to do that, my true friends have stuck by me when I’ve gone through some of my biggest meltdowns, but that anger is still mostly internalised. Old habits die hard as they say.
Me: For me, I didn’t really think that having BPD changed anything. It didn’t effect my life at all, but then when I sat down and I started thinking about it, I realised that the effect it has was massive. Like Claire, I had to learn to control myself and my BPD in certain situations. In the public, I analysed everything I said and I replayed every little action, and I replay it over and over again in case I said anything, or I did anything wrong. I realised that my BPD effect everything inch of my life, my relationships, my friendships, and my ability to interact with people.
Question: What does being BPD mean to you?
Claire: Being BPD to me… that’s a difficult question. In a sense I kinda like it sometimes. I care so much, I love so deeply, I am so passionate about things, and also, there is a whole community of people out there who are like me. Having BPD, you find it hard to really fit in with anyone or in a group or whatever, but knowing what I have has made me some amazing friends through various groups and therapies. I think in a nutshell, for me BPD is being overly passionate that sometimes I get hurt, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Me: For me, being Borderline isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are certain aspects that fucking suck. There are qualities I wish I didn’t have, and I wish at times that I didn’t feel so many emotions. But I realise that these are what make a Borderline. I’m not ashamed of my disorder, because there are certain qualities that make me a better friend and a better person. I love without question, I’m loyal to a fault, and I’m fiercely protective of my people.
Question: What’s the one thing you wish people knew more about regarding BPD?
Claire: The one thing I wish people knew more about BPD are the positives in people. I have been called manipulative, bipolar, crazy, attention seeking…. I am non of those. I think a lot of borderlines try very hard to fight the “all borderlines are manipulators” stigma, which isn’t helped at all by the media, but I wish people would just take five minutes to read about us and maybe put themselves as much in our shoes as they can.
Me: One of the first thing people often to say to me when I tell about my BPD is ‘What, like you have multiple personalities? Like the movie?’ And I have got headaches from how hard I have rolled my eyes. That’s a completely different disorder. Which means that not many people know about BPD, they only know the bad parts. The stigma of being manipulators, the anger and the outbursts, and the jealously. Research it, research the disorder and find out what makes us who we are. We are more than the stigma you are putting on us.
And that’s it, I couldn’t really think of any more questions. Well, I can think more of now but I’ll leave those another post. Anyway, seeing her answers really showed me another side to being Borderline. How we think is so different but it’s the same. We are individuals connected by our disorder. We are many, and we are few. And we are strong. The strength we have to get through each day knowing what obstacles lay ahead of us, and what obstacles we can’t see, that takes courage. So, if you’re a borderline reading this, know that you aren’t alone and you fucking rock. If you aren’t a Borderline and you’re reading this, I hope you got a little bit of insight into the mind of a Borderline.
To Claire, thank you for taking the time out to talk to and answer my rather boring questions. It was nice to get know how another Borderline thinks, and I appreciate your honesty. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for talking to me, I appreciate it. You rock.
And now I’m signing off. I hope 2018 has been good to you so far!