By Stephanie Meyers
I remember the first day I heard the word “borderline” used in a context other than a borderline on a map. It was toward the end of a therapy session. Already having been diagnosed with depression, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and bulimia, I had been thinking to myself, Wow, how crazy can one person be? Apparently, I was more crazy than I thought. My therapist told me, “As a personal policy, I won’t diagnose anyone under 25 with any kind of personality disorder, so I’m not going to give you a formal diagnosis, but it’s likely that you have Borderline Personality Disorder.” I just nodded along, but I didn’t know what that meant.
A Google search of BPD was terrifying. I looked at a Wikipedia page that listed media portrayals of BPD, which included movies such as Fatal Attraction, Single White Female, Mommy Dearest, and The Cable Guy. There was an article on one of those “meninist” websites titled “Never Date a Girl With Borderline Personality Disorder,” and an entire website called “How to Train Your Borderline.” People on social media sites referred to the disorder as “Crazy Bitch Syndrome.” Many resources said that people with BPD are beyond help and should be treated as either dangerous animals or petulant children. Needless to say, my self-esteem took a pretty big hit. Was I really as horrible and manipulative and clingy as those websites suggested?
The facts are, BPD can trigger some clingy and manipulative actions in its sufferers. But there’s so much more to the disorder than clinginess or being a so-called “Crazy Bitch.” And, despite what some websites suggest, it is much harder to be a person with BPD than to be a friend or family member of someone with the disorder. It’s a highly complex mental illness, that is almost exclusively a result of childhood trauma, the most common trauma being abuse of some sort. It is arguably one of the most stigmatized disorders. I find myself needing to refute many...