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As some of you may know, MAY is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I decided to shed light on one of the mental illnesses that I struggle with. BPD is fairly known of but is not really understood.
In this post I will speak about:
• What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
• What is ‘Black or White’ thinking (Dichotomous Thinking)
• Example of Black or White thinking and how it impacts people with BPD and those around them
What is Borderline Personality Disorder
BPD is a condition that is challenging to live with. BPD is often difficult to diagnose because people who have it may experience extreme mood swings and erratic behavior, but generally cannot see themselves as having a problem, and instead view others as the problem. People with BPD are more likely to display dichotomous thinking than people who do not have BPD
The most common BPD triggers are relationship triggers. Many people with BPD have a high sensitivity to abandonment and can experience intense fear and anger, impulsivity, self-harm, and even suicidality in relationship events that make them feel rejected, criticised or abandoned.
What is Black or White thinking – Dichotomous Thinking ?
Dichotomous thinking contributes to interpersonal problems and to emotional and behavioural instability.
Black or white thinking comes from linking behavioural patterns to extreme outcomes, whether good or bad, causing a person with BPD to sometimes think irrationally even when given reassurance.
This could be a result of past bad experiences, abuse or abandonment and is a symptom linked to a number of other psychiatric conditions and personality disorders.
Example of Black or White thinking and how it impacts people with BPD and those around them
An e.g of Black or White thinking
A loved one changes the way they communicate with you causing you to think that you have done something wrong and they no longer want to be around you.
You think the worst when really they might just be feeling frustrated with work. Their tone has nothing to do with you or how they feel about you.
BPD make you overly personalise everything making you think most things are a result of your personal failing. This impulsive thinking can manifest into self-harming behaviour. Instead of thinnking out all possible in-between reason in a situation, (grey areas), we tend to just think from one extreme to the next.
This extreme thinking can cause serious overreactions or emotional responses and may result in significant consequences if you tend to behave impulsively in response to your extreme feelings. Whether it’s breaking off a relationship or poor work performance, dichotomous thinking can affect your quality of life.
The pain is felt by the person suffering from BPD but loved ones may also have a hard time since they’re not feeling or thinking this pain and don’t know how they may be able to help, regardless of reassurance. This can cause strain on all types of relationships.
Although suffering for many years since my teenage years, I only came to the realisation of my struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2018 & then finally sought therapy (for the 2nd time in 2019). One of my prominent symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder is Black or White” thinking
I can say that I’ve made massive improvement but still struggle quite a lot with my BPD symptoms. It’s a mental illness that is more so looked down on in society but as I continue to heal on my journey I’m also here to help raise awareness.
In the next article I’ll talk more about the other symptoms and how it’s like navigating life with this personality disorder.
To all my BPD Warriors – Stay Beautiful
Thanks for reading!
Take a look at some previously written articles for Mental Health Awareness Month
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