I have borderline personality disorder.
It is not the same as being borderline psychotic nor is it the same as having bipolar disorder. While people with BPD do suffer mood swings, they rarely last more than a couple of hours and change from one emotion to the next rapidly encompassing the entire realm of emotional experience, whereas people with bipolar disorder go through manic and depressant phases lasting three to eight days.
BPD is a disorder that a great deal of the population is ignorant of, and those who have heard of it are often misinformed, even though an estimated two out of every one hundred people suffer it.
When you are with someone who has BPD, you will notice definite patterns in their behaviors, that may or may not be extreme; people with BPD can be excellent at hiding their cardinal traits from the average person, and only once you really get close to someone can you discern that there may be something different about them. This makes it exceedingly difficult for us because we live in terror of being rejected and abandoned, and when we let someone in, they see one side of us, and when we make them aware of our BPD and they get freaked out and leave, they are fulfilling our never ending cycle of fear.
In every relationship, small or large, having BPD feels like lying with your belly face up waiting for someone to stab you in it. Instead of dealing with the abandonment we feel is inevitable in a relationship, we will often reject you first, even if we are quite fond of you. If we do not openly reject you, we create patterns and environments that make you uncomfortable so you leave, even though that may be the last thing we really want you to do.
In times of unusually high stress, when we feel more out of control than usual, our brains may respond by temporary psychosis, or the loss of touch with reality. This scares us just as much as it scares you.
People with BPD are prone to self-destructive behaviors (promiscuity, reckless driving, financial irresponsibility, eating disorder, cutting, etc), suicidal tendencies or ideation, severely damaged self-image, paranoia in relationships and social settings, extreme trust issues and fear of abandonment, hyper-sensitivity to judgment and other people’s emotions, increased sporadic aggression, defining people in black and white terms (love them or hate them, no middle ground), and variations between codependency and total dissociation with the people around them. People with BPD also have the tendency to compartmentalize memories, experiences, and events within their brain, in order to better cope with their emotions.
All of these traits can make a romantic relationship, or even a friendship, with someone very difficult and are usually the cause of the break up or break down.
Not all people with BPD are “crazy,” nor should you stay away from us if we trust and love you enough to tell you about our disorder. Understand that our trust does not come easily, in any way, shape or form and we are giving you a very precious gift. Do not assume we are incapable of living normal, happy lives, or that we are incapable of holding down jobs. We can succeed just as well as the other ninety-eight out of one-hundred people who do not have BPD—it just may take us a hell of a lot more perseverance.