Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD. This is a diagnosis that many of us may have heard of, but might not be sure what it is. Or we might only be aware of what we’ve read or seen in the media, which can often be exaggerated or misrepresented. May is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month, and we interviewed someone (who would like to remain anonymous) who understands BPD from a personal level. This person talks about what Borderline Personality Disorder is, common myths, and how to support loved ones with BPD.

1. What is borderline personality disorder?

BPD creates difficulty in regulating emotions. Emotions are felt to extremes. Relationships can be challenged. World views are often skewed. 

2. What are some most common myths about BPD?

Many people think that people with BPD do not recover. However, people can and do recover. Recovery may not be linear, but it is no different than other disorders in that with the proper treatment people can live fairly productive lives.

Many people think that people with BPD are bad. They may think that the person with this diagnosis should be avoided. 

People with BPD are often loving caring people. They may need limits but sometimes being a deeply feeling person adds a level of empathy for the struggles of others.

3. What are some signs that someone may have borderline personality disorder?

They may swing wildly between emotional states. Feelings are often intense. They may love a person immensely one day and get very angry with them the next. They may have difficulty keeping employment or friends. 

4. How would you suggest supporting a loved one or someone you know, that has BPD?

Let them know that they are loved. Set limits that will help keep them from focusing too much on one person or an emotional state. 

Help them find a trusted professional that can give them the support they may need. 

Do not discount their feelings especially possible suicidal feelings as attention-seeking. It’s damaging to a person and may lead to unnecessary distress that will only further strain the person’s ability to cope. 

5. How would you encourage someone with BPD to receive help? What are some specific resources that they can refer to?

Help reassure them that there are professionals that can be trusted. Help them find someone that is the right fit for them. There are peer groups that focus on supporting each other. Each geographic region may have their own. 

6. Is there anything else you would like to say about BPD or something you think others should know about?

Just as addictions and serious mental health challenges please remember that people with BPD are human. They deserve to be afforded the same opportunities as others. 

Remember that people with BPD are often shunned and belittled for challenges that are to a degree beyond their control. 

It’s painful to be disregarded like that for anyone. For a person with BPD who feels things extra intensely it is devastating to have to deal with the stigma. Most people with BPD will not open up to people about their diagnosis because of the stigma. It prevents people often from seeking help.