You might be described as having a 'personality disorder' if your personality traits cause regular, long-term problems in the way you cope with life, interact with other people and respond emotionally. There is varied opinion around borderline personality disorder (BPD) though, as well as misunderstanding, stigma and discrimination – even among professionals. This can make it harder for people to get the support they might need.
What is borderline personality disorder?
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the most widely recognised personality disorders, though it is still thought to affect less than one per cent of the population.
BPD symptoms might include strong emotions, rapid changes in feelings and moods, difficulties in controlling certain impulses, poor self image, feelings of not fitting or belonging, and a deep sense of emptiness and isolation. All of these things can make social relationships challenging.
Someone with BPD might go to extreme lengths to prevent feelings of abandonment. They might feel tempted to harm themselves if emotions become hard to cope with or express, and might also experience delusions or hallucinations
Find out more about symptoms, treatments and tips for managing it on the NHS, Rethink Mental Illness and Mind websites.
The stigma around BPD
Mental health problems are common, but nearly nine in ten people who experience them say they face stigma and discrimination as a result.
This stigma and discrimination can be one of the hardest parts of the overall experience because it might mean lost friendships, isolation, exclusion from activities, difficulties in getting and keeping a job, not finding help and a slower recovery. Equally, stigma can cause us to shy away from the people around us who might need our support.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
"From friends, family and strangers in the street, everyone has an opinion and loves to tell you theirs. The most common comments I get are ‘Get a grip!’, ‘Just let it go over your head’, ‘Grow up!’... And the one I hate the most: 'Stop attention seeking!"