What it’s really like to have borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition where sufferers experience strong emotions, mood swings and feelings that are hard to cope with. BPD affects around 700,000 people in the UK… that’s one in every 100 people. Yet it remains incredibly misunderstood among the general public.

BPD is characterised by things like a fear of abandonment, unstable relationships, extreme emotional turbulence and rage and disconnection. Sarah Murphy, head of Advice and Helplines at Rethink Mental Illness told us:

“The name ‘borderline personality disorder’ is itself misleading, as the condition does not mean you are on the borderline of anything, it is a mental illness in itself. There are other symptoms of the condition which can be misinterpreted. For example, behaviour such as self-harm can be wrongly interpreted as attention seeking. In fact, self-harm and other responses, such as drug taking can be a coping mechanism for individuals to deal with their often intense emotions.”

Another misconception is that BPD is untreatable. On the contrary, whilst BPD can be a lifelong condition, with the right support and treatment people can effectively manage their symptoms and lead the lives they want to lead.

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