mental health, politics, Uncategorized

The harm of ‘diagnosing’ Trump (end the stigma around personality disorders)

Mental Health. An aspect of health slowly being spoken about more and more (thank goodness). We truly are getting somewhere with the stigma around mental health, but that seems to exclude many aspects of mental health.

Although there still a huge stigma around them, people are gradually understanding depression, anxiety, even suicide, but there’s one particular mental illness that is still, very heartbreakingly, misunderstood; personality disorders.

Recently, people have been commenting more and more on how they believe Mr Wotsit (he doesn’t deserve to be called by his real name on my page) is mentally unstable, and particularly, that he may have either NPD or BPD. This is significantly detrimental to people who genuinely suffer with personality disorders on a daily basis.

Good Morning Britain, a morning mainstream topical show, spoke recently to a mental health professional about Trump. Although I didn’t catch the whole interview (and honestly, if I did it would have upset me too much), the interviewee suggested that, not only was Trump mentally unstable (and as a result making the decisions he has done), but specifically diagnosing the man- may I add a man he does not know and and is observing from afar*- with Borderline Personality Disorder.

*Of course, you can comment on him from afar- comments on his actions and facts are great. But diagnosing a mental illness? Not cool.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD is a condition that usually is a result of some form of abuse or trauma. Borderline Personality Disorder, or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, is “a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by unstable relationships with other people, unstable sense of self, and unstable emotions. There is frequent dangerous behavior and self-harm.” BPD patients carry a high risk of suicide, and treatment for BPD is very specific and targeted. Borderline Personality Disorder is not ‘curable’, but it is both treatable and manageable. It will follow you round for your whole life however managing the condition will allow periods of stability.

Key symptoms of BPD are:

  • Craving of validation
  • Outbursts of emotion
  • Social withdrawal
  • Self destructive behaviours
  • Intensity in relationships/ ‘being clingy’
  • Forgetting things
  • Unusual triggers
  • Getting upset about things easily
  • Bad at self care
  • Promiscuity
  • Impulsiveness

These symptoms are often jokes about but they’re serious and a result of the personality disorder. They should not be taken lightly, or mocked.

My personal example of the stigma around BPD is easily shown through my lack of care co-ordinator. Despite being under the care of the crisis team for months, I have not been given a care co-ordinator yet, since there is no one ‘suitable’. The issue is, not many people have experience with targeted BPD care since only 5% population suffer with BPD (a fair number lower than people with, for example, depression) and due to the stigma, many professionals will not want to train in personality disorder care. Even those trained sometimes will decide to not ‘treat’ you from fear, caused only by media demonisation of people suffering from the illness.

Now, who knows what Trump could be suffering from. Behind the scenes he could have BPD, he could have depression, he could have an array of health conditions, but I ask you this: how do they impact his presidency?

Whether Donald Trump himself suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder or not, I have one main issue with this public diagnosis: It’s being used as an excuse.

If someone has BPD, unless it’s made public and wanting to be discussed, it’s hardly anyone else’s business, so why are the media making it? They are blaming Trump’s totally inexcusable actions on a totally unrelated illness.

I, myself, have BPD. Of course, everyone suffers from different symptoms, but even if you have the most out there, severe symptoms, you couldn’t blame actions like the ones trump is taking out on illness. Do you see me being racist? Homophobic? Threatening to build a wall? Essentially declaring World War Three? No, you don’t. Do you know why? Because, funnily enough, those things have nothing to do with BPD.

Yes, BPD makes me impulsive, destructive (though personally I’d only exert that destruction upon myself, as that is who I am), paranoid, and have ever changes states of mind, but even if you could find trumps actions under those categories, they would not be a result of BPD.

I have made mistakes in my life, in the past year, month, week, day. We all make mistakes, however big or small, but my mistakes (general) are not a result of my BPD.

Another awful thing about hearing these conspiracies in the media is the sheer lies told about BPD and many shared stereotypes. Personality disorders in general suffer a terrible stigma, and usually are the result of abuse earlier in life, so BPD sufferers facing hell further post-diagnosis- from society, friends, doctors- makes things hellishly worse. Suddenly, people see the disorder and all they’ve seen in the media about it. When you find out your friend who is the sweetest human ever and would never hurt a fly has the disorder, fear takes over people. They forget the sweetness. They forget the lack of violence. They only see the disorder, when really, the person hasn’t changed.

The media’s reporting on BPD insinuates that every sufferer of BPD has the same symptoms. This is not true at all, and as I mentioned before, people exert symptoms differently anyway*.

*For example, instead of being violence towards other people, any violence and abuse is merely towards myself.

It just angers me beyond belief that in this day of only growing stigma, even people with a platform in which they could do good for mental health, and specifically personality disorders, use it to spread negativity and feed the toxic, right-wing media. I thought maybe that mental health professionals, who surely would want to rid of the stigma, would not spread toxic associations which are totally unrelated, really.

Maybe the power grabbing idiot who thinks he can run a nation does have a personality disorder; It’s never been something that i’ve thought, and therefore do not wish to speculate but it needs to be heard: You cannot blame one man’s mission to destroy marginalised people, and quite possibly the world… you cannot blame a man’s hatred and lack of compassion.. on a mental health condition.

My main issue with all this speculation is the impact it has on Borderline Personality Disorder sufferers. I do not want us to suffer more from an already killer stigma, due to one goddamn awful man.

I have been ashamed for having BPD since diagnosis. I was ashamed at presenting symptoms before diagnosis. It’s a scary condition, you don’t know what headspace it will take you into, and it’s a goddamn scary world to have a stigmatised condition in, too, but I am not ashamed of who I am.

We need to end this stigma once and for all, and speculating about awful people having such a disorder to excuse their behaviour is truly unacceptable.

I hope you’re able to see past my personality disorder and remember that I’m still the same person I was before you knew I had a personality disorder.

And that you remember I abhor Trump beyond belief.

Love always,

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