It’s Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month, and indeed there is a lot we don’t know. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “BPD is an illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships.” Again and again we have seen the misplacement of mental disorders into inaccurate categories, borderline being one of them. In light of its awareness month, we’ve gathered some common misconceptions about the illness.
People with BPD are ‘medala3een’
This is a very common misconception about sufferers of this disorder, especially in Egypt. Many people think BPD is a ‘dala3’ illness, that it isn’t a valid diagnosis, or that its even a choice. All these ideas are completely untrue. People with BPD do not choose the symptoms or experiences they go through, it is not their easy way out to ‘act out’ , and when they do it certainly isn’t ‘mayasa’.
A woman with BPD ‘mesh mohtarama’
This is a crucial one. Women with borderline are often associated with being promiscuous or wild. This is utterly false and irrelevant to any component of the illness.
Only women have BPD
Even though statistically speaking more women suffer from BPD than men, it is an illness that men can suffer from too.
BPD means you have more than one personality
Often misled by the name of the illness, many people perceive BPD as having more than one personality. This personality disorder is associated with emotional instability, and is not in anyway representative of multiple personalities.
People with BPD are toxic
Anyone can be toxic, it is a choice we make. People with BPD may undergo experiences that drive them toward toxicity, but it is not necessarily the case. Just like anyone else’s background and environment may lead them to be toxic, BPD is just the same. It doesn’t play a role unless its sufferers allow it to. In fact, many people with BPD are vulnerable and very sensitive to the feelings of others, so toxicity is not in their common nature.
People with BPD are characterized by many tattoos and piercings
This is a laughable one. I was talking with a psychiatrist before, and he told me ‘I saw this girl with a piercing and tattoos all over her body and I automatically knew she was a BPD patient.’ Surprisingly, I’ve heard this idea a lot. This is ridiculous and completely outside of reality.
BPD only happens in your teenage years
BPD can happen in childhood, adolescence, and even adulthood. This is just not true. It has been found that it commonly starts at teenage years, but this is only the case sometimes.
BPD is untreatable
Even though BPD is a difficult illness to deal with, it is absolutely treatable, or in the very least manageable. After growing to find the right mix and amount of medication, as well as rapport with a therapist, borderline can most definitely be tackled.
People with BPD are reckless and cannot be trusted
This is similar to the toxicity myth. Anyone can be reckless, your ability to choose to be that way or not has nothing to do with the disorder.
All people with BPD are the same
It is very insensitive and simply unintelligent to believe or make such a claim. Yes, people with BPD share certain symptoms, but each sufferer embodies it differently. Additionally, it is important to note, just like any illness – be it physical or mental – BPD is only one part of your life, but it does not define who you are nor does it carry your identity.
In light of BPD awareness month, we urge you to be mindful of the way you perceive the sufferers of the illness and the potentially insensitive and fundamentally untrue ideas you may have about them. It is easy to associate someone with BPD with certain characteristics or place them under ill-established umbrellas. But it is crucial that we make the effort to be more informed about it in order to make those who suffer from it feel safe enough to talk about it.