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BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) is, as the name suggests, a personality disorder that manifests itself in many different ways. I have been diagnosed with it myself and let me tell you this: it's pretty darn scary. One minute you're the happiest you've ever felt, then the next you've never felt worse and you're slashing your wrist with the nearest sharp object. It's an awful mental illness to be diagnosed with, and it's so misunderstood by the public.
BPD can be the final straw when it comes to the relationships of those who suffer from it. I've lost countless partners because of the way my mental health makes me behave and respond to people. It doesn't seem fair, but you have to see it from the other person's perspective too. The self-harm can become like a drug and your partner can do little to help. The mood swings are so extreme that they're just downright confusing - and you spend much of your time not really knowing what you're feeling. The paranoia and jealousy and constant questioning things can just get to be too much. I'm getting much better now, thankfully, but this was all the reality for myself and my ex-partner earlier this year. I was very intense to be with, and sometimes you just have to accept that and move on.
Don't get me wrong, there can be upsides to being in a relationship with someone who has BPD. They're the most loving people you will likely ever meet. You see, we feel emotions much more strongly than the average person, and much more quickly, too. Because of the intensity of our emotions, we often spill them out onto those around us by showering them with constant love, care, and affection.
But here is my warning: Be careful with us. BPD can manifest itself in so many different ways and you never know how we may respond to something, and whilst nobody should have to tread on eggshells, sometimes to save a relationship you may need to. If things get to be too much, tell us; we hate the not knowing the most. Talking to your BPD diagnosed partner can do things the world of good—it helps them understand what you need them to do, and it makes them feel less paranoid and more comfortable with the situation.
BPD can be intense and scary at times, and this is why you need to be fully aware of what you're getting into. If you know someone has BPD before you get with them, I'd recommend doing some research of how you can best take care of them as well as yourself. Find out exactly what their diagnosis means. And ultimately, if you don't think you're up for the task of dealing with it, then please don't make any solid commitments.
The truth is, it's a difficult mental illness to cope with for everyone around the sufferer. It makes them do and say things they don't necessarily mean or want to do. It makes them highly emotional and highly unstable. It's no surprise that it can ruin even the most solid appearing relationships. It's a lot to deal with, and nobody would say it isn't. Just keep an eye out for the troubling signs and try to rectify them together as best you can.
I have personal experience of losing someone because of my BPD diagnosis. It was traumatic and, for me, felt like the end of my world. They struggled to cope with my mental health, and whilst I don't blame them for that, they could have handled things much better and they could have let me know sooner that my mental health would be a barrier for things.
If I was to give advice to those who are considering a relationship with a BPD sufferer, it would be this: do loads of research, ask plenty of questions to your potential partner, and think long and hard about things! Don't just assume that you'll be able to cope, and don't just say "we'll see what happens." The thing with BPD is that it will make a breakup difficult for both of you, and things can get pretty messy really fast.
If you're dating someone with BPD already, then still do your research so you can learn how to better support that person. Seek advice from those closest to them on how they deal with the diagnosis and help that person to help themselves. With BPD, self care becomes so lost in the madness of all of the emotions, the best thing you can do for someone with the diagnosis is to ensure they take care of themselves. Make sure they eat, or don't overeat. Make sure they get washed and dressed. Make sure they was their hair. Make sure they keep their appointments. Just be there for them and help them to look after themselves.
And always remember this: with the right treatment and medication, BPD isn't a permanent issue. I've managed to recover. I still have the diagnosis, but I've learned how to manage things and how to control my emotions through extensive therapy and a tried-and-tested medication regime. It may be difficult in the short term, but in the long term things can and will get better! You just have to know how to deal with it.