People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) have a long, uphill battle with stigma that can be trying, difficult, and almost impossible at times to deal with. However, while stigma is the longest battle, not many people think about the hardest battle when it comes to BPD: telling others you have it.
No way! Isn’t telling someone with BPD simple enough?
To be honest, not really. I’ve been scared whenever I’ve told people I have it. I was scared to start this blog because I’m admitting that I have this “serious mental disorder” that messes up my personality, my brain chemistry, and my general disposition. It can also change how people think of me before even reading what I have to say! However, there is a strategy to combat the fear and stress telling someone can cause.
How do you tell people you have BPD, then?
From my own personal experience, this is what’s helped me take care of stress and telling people I have BPD:
- Only tell the people that matter you have BPD. This sounds hard to do, but a little thinking and willingness to overcome fear will take care of this. Think about people who are in your life frequently…family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances. Then think about how much impact people from these categories count. Narrowing who you tell about BPD takes off some of the stress if these people are near and dear to you.
- Think about how telling others you have BPD will affect you. This is a harder part to do because if you’re anything like me, you’ll think of the negatives. If you find yourself in a depressed state thinking about this, make a list of pros and cons about telling someone you have BPD. Even if you come up with one pro and several cons, you’ll have something to fall back on.
- Confirm with yourself if telling people about your BPD is worthwhile. In most cases, the answer will be “yes, I’m sure” but some people might not be ready to divulge this information. And you know what? It’s okay. Just make sure it’s something you want to do above all else.
Now I know if I should or shouldn’t tell people I have BPD, how do I tell them?
- Tell these people you’ve chosen in a respectful way. When I say respectful, I mean don’t approach someone when you’re in a crisis and about ready to start yelling at somebody. Plan out what you’re going to say prior to the reveal and you’ll have a smoother transition. Going along with that last remark…
- …make sure it’s a good time to tell someone about your BPD. This way, you won’t be revealing something so serious at a friend’s wedding or a family member’s funeral. Save it for later if you can.
- Don’t ever use BPD to excuse misdeeds from the past. This comes off as being accusatory and doesn’t make sense, but hear me out on this. We aren’t perfect creatures and have our bad days, but if you do something you know isn’t right to be doing to begin with, only you have yourself to blame, BPD or not. We all have common sense instilled in us, try to use it!
So…are you ready to tell someone you have BPD?
If you aren’t, that’s okay. Everyone is different from one another and we all have had our struggles. Just make sure it’s something you’re ready to do and you’re not doing it out of a feeling you have to do it. You will thank yourself for it later.