Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – The Stigma & Non-Social Acceptance

Introduction to This Blog Series

I was 27 years old when I entered into the realization that there was something wrong with me and one of the original diagnosis was Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD. 

But, not a lot was known about this horribly stigmatized disorder because BPD patients were considered impossible to treat or wrongly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. 

Along with BPD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS) were also added to my diagnostic mix.

ADHD was quickly debunked and over the past two decades most professionals leaned towards my having PTSD or a Dissociative Disorder – but something about these disorders never seemed to fit.

Add menopause to the mix and the confusion became even more confusing.

Anxiety

Here are past blogs I’ve written about my struggles with anxiety and what felt like PTSD or DDNOS:

Alcohol Addiction

As well, I have a history of alcohol addiction.

On February 17th, 2022 I celebrate my second year living an alcohol-free life.

My Struggles With Alcohol Can be Read in These Blogs:

Present Day

And now, at 52 years old, and after a thorough assessment by a seasoned psychiatrist – I am finally properly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder.

This blog series called Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder is my way of processing and understanding these complex personality disorders and how they manifest, interfere with and enhance my life.

And, as it has been said to me from friends who have family members with Borderline Personality Disorder, perhaps I can help dispel misconceptions and stigmas associated with these mental illnesses.

As well, perhaps I can shed some light and more personal information on what living with Histrionic Personality Disorder is like, for those who are also walking this path.

With hope,

Stephanie, 💛

June 19th, 2018 - Athens, Greece - The Acropolis
June 19th, 2018 – Athens, Greece – The Acropolis

The Stigma and Non-Social Acceptance of Complicated Mental Illness

I first want to say that from my heart, I do not mean to diminish the life changing journey anyone has to face when diagnosed with a serious physical illness.

Serious physical illnesses like cancer kills people.

However, some people who get serious physical illness do survive and thrive.

Others not so much.

When someone is diagnosed with a physical illness – most tend to surround those who are suffering with support and acceptance.

Someone with a serious physical illness has more social acceptance to talk freely about it – if they choose to.

Mental illness, as we all know, has a stigma.

Mental illness does kill people – in so many tragic ways.

Yet, even metal illness has a continuum of what is more socially acceptable and not as stigmatized.

Examples would be anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Again, I say from my heart that I do not want to diminish the life changing journey anyone has to face when diagnosed with anxiety, depression and PTSD.

However, start talking about more complicated mental illnesses like Personality Disorders – and people get squirmy.

Imagine if I walked into work and openly told my coworkers I was just diagnosed with a life changing serious physical illness like cancer – how do you think they would react?

Probably, most everyone would gather around me, asking how they could help.

Coworkers might share their personal stories of family and friends who had cancer and overcame it to inspire me.

The support would be overt and compassionate.

Now, imagine if I walked into work and openly told my coworkers I was just diagnosed with two life changing serious mental illnesses of Borderline Personality Disorder AND Histrionic Personality Disorder – TWO of four Cluster B Personality Disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5).

The other two personality disorders are Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

In reality, prisons are filled with people diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder speaks for itself.

How do you think my workplace would handle it if I told them my diagnoses?

Would they gather around me, asking how they could help?

Would coworkers share their personal stories of family and friends who have serious mental illnesses and overcame it to inspire me?

Would their support be overt and compassionate?

Hard to say.

I am a cog in a burnt-out Public Education System.

Maybe I could tell a select few…

And I have.

And there are some very wonderful people I work with.

However, I feel most everyone else might judge me and perhaps I’d feel like a pariah.

I would be (and am) fearful that I would be judged that maybe I cannot do my job because of my recent diagnoses.

Truth is, I feel I excel at my job BECAUSE I can relate to behavior and special need students- because my brain operates in a different way, too.

Truth be told, that was why I was hired for the job – because I was/am open about my struggles with mental illness and wanting to have mental health instead of mental illness.

I was openly told by the school board HR woman who hired me, over a decade ago, that the reason she hired me was because I am open about my struggles with mental illness and my wanting to have mental health rather than mental illness.

In her mind – the pieces of paper didn’t matter.

Life experience matters.

Because I can personally relate and know life with mental illness can get better.

But, try talking openly about that at work!

Not everyone gets it, or if they do – they are not willing to talk about it because it can be very uncomfortable for them.

I think that is it for now, on this topic of stigma and non-social acceptance.

It is a huge topic.

One that has always been difficult, but now – even more so – for obvious reasons.

S, 🔥

Personality Disorders

Photo Credit – abcounsellingipswich.com

Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder

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