Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Borderline Voices Project

I continue to be fascinated by the proliferation of memoirs, scholarly texts, and cultural projects dedicated to reoriented the public understanding of autism. And also, I'm a little bit envious, to be honest. Where, I wonder, is the borderline personality pride movement? Where is our creative intervention in the public understanding of BPD? What would a Borderline Voices Project look or sound like? Is it possible to take pride in oneself 'as a borderline,' in the way that Donna describes her pride in herself as a person on the autism spectrumI spend so much time reflecting on what I don't like about my borderline-ness, alternating with fears that borderline personality disorder doesn't really exist, or shouldn't really exist, that it has begun to feel like I'm having a borderline reaction to my borderline personality, with a heavy emphasis on devaluation. 


I'd like to put the shame and the anxiety on the backburner for a while and redirect my own focus to (1) exploring the positive side of being borderline, and (2) promoting recognition that 'borderline' is as true and real, yet also as historically situated and socially constructed, as autism is. (See "Autism as Culture" by Joseph N. Straus in The Disability Studies Reader on this point about autism as socially constructed.) I'm going out on a limb to say borderline personality warrants equal attention to these other, more positive ways of representing the benign neurodiversity of borderline personality


Toward that end, I'd love to hear from the borderlines on the question of borderline pride and borderline realness. Let's get this Borderline Voices Project started. Post your responses, send video blogs, or what-have-you. 


What do you like about being borderline? 


What are your positive borderline traits? 


What is there to say about borderline personality besides the fact that it hurts? 


Is crip pride applicable to BPD? 


I did a brief internet search and turned up one tumblr post on fuck yeah mad pride that sounded promising, but here's how it begins: "living with borderline personality is the most awful thing I have to deal with." Hmm. Truly, there must be more to the story of borderline personality disorder. It can't all be reduced to the genre of horror. 





20 comments:

  1. One of the things I like most about being a borderline is that it reminds me that I am not crazy, that there is something real going on here and that's it's not "all in my head" as I was trained to believe growing up. Another thing I like is that if I have to have something I am glad it is BPD, yes, it can be life threatening but it is also treatable and it has connected me with alot of supportive people like myself I would never have met otherwise.

    I am very proud of my positive borderdline traits which I feel are huge amounts of empathy, compassion and general understanding of things. If BPD helped give me all these things then fuck yeah I am absolutely proud to be a borderline!!!

    Borderline hurts, hurts like a burning hell especially when you live with it in silence not knowing what you have or where to go, but alot of that changes when you are aware, when you have people and places to go and call who know and understand but there still needs to be more acceptance...Let's do it with the Borderline Voices Project!

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  2. Yes, empathy, compassion, general understanding, realizing we are not crazy to feel bad, meeting other incredible creative empathic borderlines. Nice start, Dotty!!! Fuck yeah indeed!

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    1. MHC brought up honesty as a question of being a borderline trait, I think it can be but I thought of something I should have thought of from the beginning which I think may be one of our number 1 postive traits and that being Loyalty! I know for me I don't give up on anyone like most give up on us, family, friends, the professionals etc. but still I remain loyal to the end. I guess some may look at that as being a bad trait but I know what it feels like to have someone not be loyal to me and I won't do that in return.

      I also agree that most of the time there isn't one thing I like about being a Borderline but through therapy I am learning that saying you hate being a Borderline is the same as saying we hate ourselves (which in fact I have) but we have to learn not to and accept All of who we are. I know this totally seems extremely foreign but I am slowly learning.


      It would be nice to be proud of who I am, this is why I really like the idea of the Borderline Voices Project!

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  3. Oh YES, PLEASE!!!

    I have been thinking about this a whole lot! I have been daydreaming about creating an etsy shop or something for borderlines! We seriously need some borderline pride. And our stuff can be cool and designy. Because we are so creative! (Another one for the list, yes?)

    I love what you write about your borderline reaction to your borderline personality. I feel that sometimes, but much less eloquently. As part of your second goal - promoting recognition of the borderline as real - was there something interesting in I Hate You, Don't Leave Me about a larger "borderline culture"? Might be of interest to more folks than realize? Will have to look at that again.

    Also there is a quote in your book that I remember really liking but can't find anywhere - something about the roots of the borderline being very human? I think we are an important part of the human experience, and maybe interesting in that things are ... kind of magnified? Must find that quote.

    Benign neurodiversity! Love it!

    I like the positive attributes Dotty writes about, and I've read about them being connected to the borderline (is there research on this?), but I don't think I'm quite at a place where I can *like* one freaking thing about being borderline. But! I definitely think there can be a borderline pride movement! I think I see it as maybe being a little like V-Day? Like, we can connect and educate and heal and there can be t-shirts and a lot of bright colors like pink and red!

    Oh, what about honesty? Is that a borderline trait?

    What else?

    Many many many thanks! I love that you are here and are writing and doing all the fabulous things you are writing and doing! THANK YOU!!!

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  4. Yes!! Honesty, that is a GREAT addition to the list, and creativity, and a deep understanding of human vulnerability and of human interdependence.

    Start that etsy shop, MHC. I'd love to see what you come up with.

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    1. How about intuition as a borderline trait? Just listened to Warming the Stone Child by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, and she talks about having developed radar and being highly alert and intuitive.

      I started working on the shop! Then got discouraged. Sigh!

      How is the Borderline Voices Project going?

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    2. Yes, intuition definitely. I often describe it as a hyper-empathic capacity. We may have a lack of emotional filters that leads to being overwhelmed or dysregulated easily, but it also leads to being very intuitive and aware of other people's emotional states, which is a gift.

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    3. Oh, and so far the Borderline Voices Project is a twinkle in my eye, and what you see on this blog page. It is more of a call to action, encouraging others to add to the picture, rather than something I'm moving forward with on my own, at least at this point.

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  5. Just found your blog, and look forward to reading and adding some thoughts about this!

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    1. Please do! I've been away from the blog for a few weeks but am back and very interested to hear more ideas from everyone about the possibility of borderline pride, and the cultural obstacles to producing something like that (or recognizing that positive side).

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  6. they took adjectives and behaviours and they made a disorder of it.
    just kill the labels,especially if a person made them with the purpose of making people suffer.

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    1. I like Dawn Prince-Hughes' take on this subject. She says the DSM is really a list of coping mechanisms, more so than character traits. She also says avoiding labels still won't lead to avoiding stigma, and that labels can be beneficial in helping an individual make sense of otherwise inexplicable experiences. I feel that way about my diagnosis, but I also definitely take your point that the labels have often been used in ways that increased suffering. Thanks for posting!

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  7. Hi, I am autistic and borderline, I think Borderline pride is needed, I would love it, there are wonderful borderline people and we shouldn't be judged badly only because of it, maybe accepting BPD as something that could be good would help the ones that suffer the most and maybe the ones that hurt others to change.
    I'm tired of feeling sick looking for information about it like I was supposed to be a monster.
    You should see the tumblr fyeahborderlinepeople, it's made by people that are part of the neurodiversity movement, it's one of the few safe places to read things about BPD.
    I'm proud of being autistic, disabled and borderline but no one talks about being proud of the last one.
    Commenting again here with a longer comment.

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    1. Hi Alicia! Thanks for speaking from the intersection of autism and BPD. I'm so interested in that overlap and have been reading this spring about schizotypal personality disorder (doesn't "exist" anymore, or at least isn't listed in the DSM, but the traits really resonate with me and have some things in common with the autism spectrum). I will check out the tumblr you mentioned. It sounds like just what I've been looking for.

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  8. First, I want to mention that I heard you speak at Yale's NEA BPD conference today and was profoundly moved. I can't wait to read your book and more of your blog!

    I share your sentiment that there needs to be a sense of pride, or, at the very least, an absence of shame associated with a diagnosis of BPD.

    My husband and I have shirts that I designed that say, "Have you hugged a 'Borderline' today?" on the front and "End the stigma" on the back. The shirt was a big hit when I used to wear it to DBT!

    Yes, living with BPD is painful. However, without BPD, I would not be who I am or where I am today.

    A tattoo I have sums up my feelings about life and BPD very well. It's a line from the song, "Same in the End" by Sublime: "My broken heart makes me smile."

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    1. Hi Liz and Jason! Thanks for posting. I'm happy to know you were in the audience and that you were getting something positive out of it. I usually take questions but time was so short. I definitely wished for more of a chance to connect with the audience members. Almost no one self-identified as a borderline to me, so it is especially nice to find out that you were there. I was feeling a bit surrounded by the "nons." Thanks for your supportive words. And great t-shirt idea, Liz! I still want one that says "This is what borderline personality disorder looks like."

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  9. Like Liz, I had the pleasure of hearing you speak at the NEA-BPD conference at Yale today. It was a very moving and I too look forward to reading your book and will recommend it to everyone I know.

    I need to put an end to the stigma associated with BPD and any mental health issues. There is no place in society for it anymore. No one should feel ashamed because of any diagnosis.

    I am proud of who I am and the diagnoses I have received. Just a few weeks ago, I got a new tattoo. A green ribbon with the words "End Stigma" in the middle of the ribbon and Mental Health Awareness across the top and bottom.

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  10. Hi Liz and Jason! Thanks for posting. I'm happy to know you were in the audience and that you were getting something positive out of it. I usually take questions but time was so short. I definitely wished for more of a chance to connect with the audience members. Almost no one self-identified as a borderline to me, so it is especially nice to find out that you were there. I was feeling a bit surrounded by the "nons." Thanks for your supportive words.

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    1. And Jason, I love the description of your new tattoo. Maybe I should get a crip pride tattoo of some kind . . .

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  11. So I'm a bit late to the game, but I have two cents, here here!
    I think there is a great need for positive spins on the BPD peeps. I've been researching the "pro-recovery" blogs and forums that have sprung up online recently, they are directed at and made by people recovering from eating disorders, but the stuff being posted is so positive and applicable to recovery across the board of mental ailments.

    i've met a couple people who refute their borderline diagnosis for one reason or another, me however, i'm comfortable with it, it seems a lot less scary than other possible diagnosis if only for the small reason that it's historically new, and so hasn't had a lot of time to develop stigma in society.. aside from the common (mis)concept(ion) that it is a fake diagnosis (thanks girl interrupted for that societally accepted "truth").

    we can take this opportunity to educate people right off the bat, instead of letting any kind of "crazy people" stigma perpetuate..
    well, I did ask someone what they knew about BPD and she said she knows that people with BPD are pathalogical liars and have no concern about others' feelings. funny, that seems like the opposite of what I know about BPD. she was describing, without her knowing it, Sociopaths.
    now i've told a really long story with only a small lesson. I will be done now.

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