‘That’s quite common with.. borderline personality disorder’ The words fall of my therapists tongue slowly and awkwardly. She watches me closely to see how I react to her words. I nod, knowingly.
Two years ago, a young doctor diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder (BPD). He sat but a yard from me in his pristine shirt and tie, tucked neatly into his lined trousers with one leg bent at a right angle, balanced almost arrogantly on the other. I suppose trying to appear relaxed in this rigid setting. His face was sincere and agreeing.
I could tell as I spoke and answered his questions his mind was whirring at a million miles per minute, putting things together. Figuring me out. He was an intelligent man and when at the end of the hour he came to his conclusion, I actually felt a little relieved. He explained the disorder to me, he explained the feelings associated and referenced some of the things I had mentioned to him. The diagnosis fit where no other had before and actually made some sense to me. I nodded, solemnly, trying to hide the chaos from my face. I’d heard of the disorder before and I wasn’t sure if this felt like a conviction or an explanation at the time. He escorted me out of the room in silence, him pleased to have found a diagnosis and me weighted by it.
Now, two years later as my new therapist uses the word’s so uncomfortably, I realize just how alive the stigma still is. How reluctant even mental health professionals are to use the words, afraid of it’s implications.
I slip in and out of denial and acceptance so readily with this disorder. I know it is me, it fits like a glove. But the stigma drives me away from it from time to time. That frightens me. The disorder doesn’t, I am not actually ashamed by the disorder but society forces me into retreat and secrecy over my diagnosis.
‘Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.’ J. K. Rowling.