Friday, 21 November 2014

What's in a Name - the Impact of the BPD Label


Mind have done an excellent job of highlighting the problems of 'coming out' to friends, families and employers about mental illness. More than many conditions, Borderline Personality Disorder has received a very poor press. I know I used to have a number of cases with diagnoses of BPD when I was a Probation Officer. 'They' were seen by some colleagues as 'a pain in the arse', 'difficult', 'unpredictable' and 'frustrating to work with'. I found myself enjoying my encounters - colourful, dramatic, often artistic and articulate. Good job, because, after ten years in the probation service I was diagnosed with BPD myself. And, Yes I did encounter the same comments, or detected them in attitudes and behaviour directed at me.

I have been privileged and fortunate to live in an area which has quickly responded to the government policy change of BPD from 'untreatable' to 'treatable'. A seismic shift in attitude, hopefully closely followed by Mental Health professionals. There is a specialist Personality Disorder Service in our area, with two intensive group therapies aimed at BPD sufferers, both have been running now for over two years.

In my experience of this service over the past five years, I have had my individuality acknowledged and been supported well by my CPN when my first attempt at therapy failed. I have been supported through crisis times without being over medicated or admitted to hospital, which I would have found highly aversive. The level of support on offer during periods of instability enabled me to recover from setbacks, (which I was given time to do) and to be referred to different specialist therapy offered by the same service.

I know this is rare. I know that I am lucky. I hope that blogging and talking about my experience (positive) of being diagnosed with BPD will show good practice. Unless I am seen as a person with unique needs, with the willingness to learn how to manage my emotional turmoil, then I will continue to show up in distress and will seem to be 'impossible to manage'. Thing is somebody actually did help me to learn to manage myself and my BPD. Is it rocket science to recommend that others try to offer the same level of service?

I really urge you to copy the link and go to this blog by Rebecca in response to some videos made by others with a different experience of BPD than her. All are available on the same link. http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/having-a-bpd-diagnosis-my-reality/#.VG9-hvmsUnp