The Pros and Cons of a BPD Diagnosis
There are both pros and cons to a borderline personality diagnosis (BPD) diagnosis. On the one hand, a BPD diagnosis can validate your experiences and give you access to necessary resources like therapy or medications. On the other hand, you can fully take on the label of borderline and lose yourself in the process.
The Pros of a BPD Diagnosis
There are pros to receiving a BPD diagnosis. I received my BPD diagnosis when I was 22 years old. Before that point, various psychologists diagnosed me with depression and anxiety. However, neither of these labels explained the intensity of my feelings.
Before my diagnosis, I didn’t understand my feelings. When I got upset, I would hyperventilate, convulse, and feel like my head was exploding. At other times, I felt like I had a dark pit of evilness that lived inside of me. I worried that it would leak out and infect other people, dragging them down into the well of the horribleness that I lived in. I tried to fill this hole with alcohol, drugs, and external validation, but the feelings never went away.
Once I received my diagnosis, it was a huge relief. I realized that I wasn’t the only person in the world that felt these horrible feelings. I realized that I wasn’t an inherently bad or evil person, but that I was living with an illness.
The Cons of a BPD Diagnosis
Because I had spent so long not understanding my feelings, I clung to my diagnosis like a lifeline. I looked to explain every action from my past in the context of my disorder. In doing so, I started to avoid responsibility for my actions.
I treated myself like a victim of BPD and ignored the part I had played in the breakdown of relationships and friendships. I felt like everything was outside of my control because of the disorder that I lived with.
I also hated telling my diagnosis to new people, especially potential partners. Every corner of the internet that I saw was full of stories by people who had dated someone with BPD. They said that people with BPD were manipulative, abusive, and terrible partners. At times, I believed that I must be a manipulative person too.
Next Steps After a BPD Diagnosis
There are several steps that you can take after receiving a BPD diagnosis.
- Use the diagnosis to get what you need. This could mean getting access to medications or therapy.
- Share your diagnosis with trusted people. You can choose to tell your support network and loved ones if you feel comfortable doing so.
- Reflect on past actions. Take a compassionate look at your past conflicts. You should not blame or shame yourself. You can examine how your disorder influenced your behavior and what you can aim to change.
- Remember who you are. Go back to your old hobbies and chase new interests. Remind yourself that you are more than just your disorder.
What strategies have you used to cope with your BPD diagnosis? Share them in the comments.