The Positive Traits I Have Because of My BPD
When we think of mental illness, we often tend to get dragged down by the idea it’s all bad. That’s not always the case. We are allowed to be happy sometimes, we love unconditionally and we do even laugh. Disorders like borderline personality disorder (BPD) are no exception. In fact, there are even some very positive traits to come out of it.
People with BPD are often described as “manipulative” and “toxic,” which is something I, and I’m sure many others, find highly offensive and can be very damaging to hear — especially from professionals. Yes, some people with the condition might have manipulative traits, but so might someone else without. That being said, I believe people with BPD can be among the most caring, empathic and compassionate people you will meet. For example, having experienced such intense sadness and pain gives me a great knowledge and understanding of the people around me. I want to help and share my knowledge, and being as intuitive as borderlines tend to be, I pick up on emotions easily. Yes, the unbearable sadness is a bummer, but what comes from it is beautiful and for me, it’s so important to channel those feelings into helping others and being an all-around good person.
The excitement I may feel about something as small as remembering the chocolate cake I’ve been saving in the fridge can make me feel like I am bursting at the seams and bouncing off the walls. The love I can feel for my pets, partners, family and friends make me feel like I am floating on a cloud. Yes, many people with BPD have abandonment and attachment issues that can cause a lot of problems with relationships, but catch me on a good day and I am full of love I only want to share. Something made you chuckle? I’m probably on the floor in hysterics laughing because this feeling of complete euphoria needs to present itself in one way or another.
Of course, as we know, it’s not all jazz hands and confetti all the time. In fact, these feelings of euphoria usually only last a short amount of time and can be overshadowed by the bad. But it’s so important to hold on to these feelings and remember we are capable of happiness, even if it is just for 20 minutes before the inevitable crash.
Passion is a huge positive trait of BPD. For me, it’s what keeps me going. It gets me out of bed in the morning. I am probably one of the most passionate people you will meet. Talk to me about musical theatre and you’ll have me rambling for hours — it’s like a release.
If you can tap into someone’s passion and show an interest, you will instantly see their face light up, their eyes widen and their smile grow as they talk about that one thing in their life that is “OK.” I’ve been told by many different people as soon as I’m in the vicinity of a theatre, whether it be to perform or to watch a show, I can become a different person — a better version of myself. That’s because it is my one constant, it’s safe and familiar. Of course, there are so many things to be passionate about in the world: people, TV shows, music, cars, makeup, animals. I believe if you know someone with BPD, there will be something they are passionate about. And if you ask them about it, you might just make their day.
I consider myself a very creative person. I like to sing, act, craft, paint — the list goes on! Many people with BPD are creative. Sometimes it’s something those who are lucky enough to access therapy come to learn, that any kind of creativity can be very mindful and aid in recovery. In other circumstances, it’s instilled in their makeup as a person. Personally, I have always been creative. As a child, I was always making something and getting busy with glue sticks and glitter. People with BPD often have creative outlets and excel in them!
I am currently on a waiting list to start a group therapy course called “Therapy Through Activity,” under a team specializing in personality disorders. In this two-year program, patients get the chance to learn new skills — often artistic — while exploring their emotions. This “unorthodox” method of therapy has proven very successful in patients with BPD (among other personality disorders) and I’m really excited to get started.
Those of us with BPD are not scary, nor are we horrible people. We are just a little more in tune with our emotions (maybe a little too much sometimes!) and we can, in fact, make very loyal, understanding, spontaneous, loving, funny and passionate friends.
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Thinkstock photo via artlazareva.