As I’ve mentioned in past posts I was diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I’ve explained personality disorders in part 1 of “I Have A Personality Disorder” and now I’ll explain BPD as I have experienced it.
In the BPD workbook I’ve been posting to Pride In Madness it said that a personality disorder is:
‘a pattern of inner experience and behaviour that deviates from the expectation of the individuals’ culture, which leads to distress and impairment’. (DSM- IV, 1994)
They key that I always remember from this definition as stated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) is expectation of the individuals’ culture. To me, this means that my disorder was decided by my culture and that if I went somewhere else in the world I may not be considered disordered. I take issue with this because diabetes is diabetes everywhere. Cancer is cancer everywhere. If BPD is not BPD everywhere then how much validity is behind this “illness”?
To explain a personality disorder in general is next to impossible for me and to explain BPD is exactly the same. I end up having to go through the symptoms to explain what it is because without imaginations seem to run wild about what a person with a disordered personality would be like.
While attending/presenting at PsychOUT 2011 in New York I encountered a man who showed me what he thought of BPD. He introduced himself as someone who was studying to be a mental health lawyer under Jim Gottstein, who was responsible of uncovering the dangerous of Zyprexa (http://psychrights.org/about/Gottstein.htm). This man also identified as someone with Bipolar. He asked me what I had and I told him that I had been labelled with borderline personality disorder. He laughed and said “oh, so you’re a pain the ass?” I was shocked! He then proceed to go through the check list to see if I had the other symptoms.
I was extremely hurt and uncomfortable that someone who was supposed to be studying to be an advocate and more importantly who identified as a community member would make such a harsh judgement (even if it was a joke I didn’t like it). I could only respond as politely as possible with things such as:
“I may be a pain in the ass but I’m a very caring person. It is my passion, anger or otherwise that drives me to create social change.”
“Is it attachment issues or me fighting for someone I love?”
While he interrogates my personality problems he tells me of how he would purposely piss off his ex-girlfriend so she would clean his house (cleaning was her response to stress). And I’m disordered? Screw you!
I then had to present at the conference after this chat (which was also him trying to pick me up…..). I was fuming and wanted to leave. I felt I wouldn’t be able to present with the anger bubbling in me the way it was. My fellow Madvocate said that if he came in the room to see the presentation she would ask him to leave. Luckily he did not and our presentation went well.
I can only hope that this idiot has changed his ways and that I showed him someone with BPD is more than their symptoms. He’s lucky I don’t follow the symptoms to a tee or I would have punched him in the face.