Are labels good or bad? My view is that it depends on the label. Some people hate the label of BPD because it suggests they’re different from “normal”. It suggests they’re “ill”. Well, I have a newsflash for those in denial: we are ill; we are different. But that’s not a bad thing…it’s how we deal with our condition that determines whether our lives will be positive or negative.
For me, having the label of BPD has made my life infinitely better. I can now tell people there’s officially something wrong with me; that my brain REALLY doesn’t process things the way it should. Before, I simply thought I was getting it (i.e. life) wrong. I can refer them to books or clips on You-Tube. I can tell them to get off my case because I can’t help getting upset for “no reason”. There is a reason; my brain doesn’t work the way yours does.
Saying all that, I don’t label myself as BPD and leave it at that. I get on with my life. I do other stuff. BPD is just one label I can apply to the whole, wacky and wonderful entity that is ME. I’ll leave you with a wee quote from Hospital Corners to mull over.
The scene: one of the main characters, Dr Suzannah Bailey, has just admitted to her work colleagues that she has BPD. She’s tried to hide her condition for years, ashamed of what it might mean and how others might view her if she admitted her “weakness”. This is their response:
“Face up to it, Suzie. Your life is your life. Your problems are your problems. You’re making things worse rather than better by thinking in terms of labels. Labels are a helpful starting point, sure. They tell you what to expect. But you don’t have one label. You’re not just BPD or just OCD. You’re a daughter. You’re a doctor. You’re a friend. You’re a chocoholic. You’re excellent at crosswords. You can do cartwheels fit for the Olympics. You’re not a jar of jam on a supermarket shelf with one label and a best before date.” – Dr Alex Stevens, Hospital Corners.