In my opinion, BPD is one of the most stigmatized and misunderstood brain disorders out there. Because it is a Personality Disorder, even the person who suffers from it, often is not aware that he/she has it.
Toby Allen, an illustrator who decided to deal with explaining and conquering such mental illness types as depression, borderline personality, and anxiety disorder by recreating them as cute monsters drew BPD as the picture above.
I can’t agree more. I think BPD is one of the most challenging beasts to deal with.
Having said that, I also believe that it is NOT impossible to tame this beast. And in fact, when this beast is tamed, you can use its power and ability to your advantage.
I like to use the story of Newt and Zouwu as a metaphor.
In the movie “Fantastic Beasts 2”, Newt Scamander was facing Zouwu, a monstrously large feline beast, as big as an elephant, with a striped body, scraggly mane, four fangs that curl out of its mouth, long sharp claws, and a disproportionately long, ruffled multicolored tail. Zouwus are terrifying for most human beings, but they are incredibly powerful and fast, capable of travelling 1,000 miles in a day.
Zouwu is a powerful beast. When Newt first met him, Zouwu was wreaking havoc and scaring many people, seemed to be totally uncontrollable.
I am writing this letter to help you understand what those of us with borderline personality disorder (BPD) go through. It is a severe mental illness, and yet describing it is often very difficult to put into words.
Studies have shown that people diagnosed with BPD actually have brains that differ from that of the general population. The part of our brain that deals with emotional responses is overactive, meaning that we are highly sensitive and our emotions are extremely intense and unstable. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for reasoning and logic. It is this part of the brain that will stop people from behaving in a certain way due to consequences. In those of us with BPD, this part of our brain is underactive—meaning we are unable to think rationally and often act out without thinking of the consequences.
I feel this is important to tell you, as so many people are misinformed regarding this disorder, with a few questioning whether BPD is even a thing, due to the fact that you cannot “see” our mental health. If you were to see inside our brain, however, you would realize that BPD is there.
It is true that happenstance marked Shneidman’s career. While working at the LA Veterans Administration in 1949, he was asked to write condolence letters to widows of two victims by suicide. He researched the two cases at the LA County Coroner’s Office and there was led to a vault of suicide notes. He never looked back. Shneidman spent his life studying why people kill themselves, indeed, the intensive and creative study of people who died by suicide.