This post on Mental Nurse has kicked me into action to ramble about something I’ve been thinking about for a while. On a side note, it terrified me when I logged into my google reader and thought it was communicating directly with me. I almost managed to convince myself that the internet was conspiring against me to write posts telling me just what a failure and a bad person I was. Damn this irrational paranoia!
So compartmentalisation – me vs BPD, where does one end and the other begin and is there really that firm distinction there? As I’ve said before, the diagnosis has helped me no end. Instead of seeing it as a life sentence, I’m using it to start to explain some of how I am and how I’ve always been. I feel less like an insane lunatic, more like someone with a genuine illness that needs help and treatment but is still a nice person underneath it. It’s just a shame a lot of other people don’t see it that way. It doesn’t help that BPD seems to be the dumping ground of mental illness, anyone who doesn’t fit anywhere else gets lumbered with that as a diagnosis. It’s not for me to say whether it’s for real or not but in reading the descriptions of the disorder, I see my behaviours mirrored in text.
An asthmatic tries to run a race and collapses breathless. Very few people would judge them for being unfit or a failure, they can differentiate between the effect of the condition and the person underneath. Someone with BPD, flips into irrational anger and panic because of an unavoidable change of plan. They are instantly judged as being selfish, mental, uncontrollable, manipulative. But are they, or is it just a symptom of the condition? That’s the problem with something that so fundamentally affects who you are, where does the line lie between a reaction being caused by the condition or just because the person is being stupid. The chances of the “flip out” happening can be mediated with treatment, be that drugs or therapy, in the same way an asthmatic can take inhalers to minimise the chance of attacks, but no matter how good the treatment, an asthma attack or a BPD “flip out” can still occur. And while it does, those judgements will still be there.
At the moment, I have this strong urge to tell people I’m with that I have BPD, in an attempt to protect myself when I say or do something stupid. I hope that by making them aware, they will be kinder when the inevitable happens. But instead I have a feeling it makes me sound like I’m making excuses for behaviour yet to occur or worse that I’m proud of it.
So yes, compartmentalisation… I try and do it and for me it makes things a little easier to accept and understand. I wish others could try it occassonally too, to read the good intentions behind my actions rather than seeing them as negative. But does that distinction really exist? Is there truly a line before which it’s me and beyond which it’s BPD? I doubt it, this is something that influences all my relationships, my conversations, my mind, ultimately this is me.