Daria Deptuła (pronouns: they/them) is a student of History and Creative Writing at The University of Texas at Austin. They have had two original short stories published online.
Do you find having a diagnosis of BPD helpful or unhelpful?
Receiving my BPD diagnosis in June 2018 cleared up much confusion I had about myself. I didn’t know a good deal about the disorder beforehand, except that a few people whom I knew had it.
As my psychiatrist listed off the conditions for a diagnosis, I was shocked to find myself nodding at each one. Having a diagnosis gives me a useful framework with which to make sense of why I feel and act the way that I do.
What do you want people to know about BPD most of all?
Having trouble with emotional regulation does not equal an “overreaction.”
Even if an event might seem small to an observer, the intense emotions that it causes someone with BPD to feel are real and valid.
These intense emotions can make going through the motions of everyday life a big challenge. Know that I am trying my best as someone with BPD, and so is everyone else.
How do you feel when you hear stereotypes about people with BPD, such as the myth that people with this condition are attention-seeking or manipulative?
It hurts me to my very core. I’ve had people close to me believe those stereotypes and treat me accordingly. At the time, that treatment made me feel as though I was unlovable and undeserving of support.
The “attention-seeking” myth especially upsets me, because people in crisis do need support and should not be discouraged from seeking it!
What advice do you have for anyone who is newly diagnosed with BPD?
Resist the urge to Google the diagnosis. Ask your mental healthcare provider any questions you might have about your symptoms.
I find it personally helpful to track my moods and urges, so that I can notice behavior patterns that do not serve me and intervene. I use a handwritten journal, but there are also downloadable calendars and apps available for free online.
Lastly: this disorder affects many aspects of your life, but it does not define you.
What advice would you give for the loved ones of someone with BPD?
I personally struggle with emotional permanence, put simply as the ability to remember that people care about me when they’re not actively expressing it. Many other people with BPD face this challenge. If your loved one has BPD, try reaching out to them when you’re thinking of them—even if with nothing but a short “good morning” text. The little things aren’t little.
What would you say to someone with BPD who is feeling hopeless and like things will never get better?
One thought that gives me hope when I have trouble finding it is that change is the only constant. I don’t know how I’m going to feel next week, tomorrow, or even in the next hour.
I tell myself that I just have to make it through the next hour, and then things will be different. They usually are.
I might not go from depressed to joyous within that hour, but change always comes. I also tell myself that every single time I thought I wouldn’t survive a crisis, I did. And I will again. And you will too.
Thank you so much Daria for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I am so glad that your diagnosis has given you a useful framework for understanding how you feel and what can help. It hurts so much when people you know bought into the stereotypes and treated you in line with them. From now on, I hope people treat you with nothing but the respect and understanding you deserve. I love how you have pointed out in your post that the 'the little things aren't little'. So true! Wishing you all the best with your short stories and your degree. - Rosie
More from Daria Deptula:
Short Story: "A Dead Message" in Cleaning Up Glitter