BPD and TikTok: How I Got Through

In 2018, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), a condition that adversely influences emotions owing to abandonment issues, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other similar symptoms, after losing contact with reality for a period of time. Emotional dysregulation disorder, often known as BPD, is woven into the fabric of how a person interacts with and experiences the world. Severe mood swings, insecurity, impulsivity, and feelings of worthlessness are common symptoms. It’s highly common; about four million Americans, or about 1.6 percent of the population, have been diagnosed with BPD. Harmful stereotypes, on the other hand, stigmatise the condition.

The diagnosis seemed isolating after a term in a rehabilitation clinic. I felt alone and unlovable as I navigated a side of mental health I’d never dealt with before. Online information regarding BPD is frequently negative, portraying people with the disorder as manipulative and destructive, fuelled exclusively by wrath and emotions. I internalised stereotypes about persons with BPD and gradually walled myself off from the rest of the world.

Then I discovered Tiktok, a video-sharing social media app that lets users share everything from humour to educational information. And, believe it or not, it’s become a strong advocate for eradicating the stigma associated with BPD and other mental illnesses. “It doesn’t feel good to have emotional dysregulation,” says Erin Johnston, a clinical social worker who specialises in BPD-related diagnoses. “To be able to go on the internet and see other people experiencing and struggling with the challenges of everyday life can be incredibly validating,” she adds. “It reduces feelings of isolation and the perception that someone is ‘crazy,’ because neither of these things are true.”

Frequently, people’s material normalises past or present behaviour, such as intense texting, symptom categorization, or even highlighting dating someone with BPD. People have even gone so far as to write about their medical appointments on social media.

The content on BPD is infinite, even emphasising facets of the condition that people may not be familiar with, thanks to explanation Tiktoks and people processing life events. I was particularly unaware of signs like favourite person, an extreme attachment and reliance on one single person in your life, and mirroring, or behavioural mimicry, in which one takes on the personality of another.

Unlike previous depictions of BPD, people with the diagnosis openly embrace the chaotic portions of their life on TikTok, knowing that they are not monsters; yet, progress is always met with resistance. As liberating as it is to post and communicate with others who have BPD, one should always exercise caution while using the internet as a mode of communication. “Depending on the individual, social media can be beneficial or harmful,” adds Johnston.

Many people find TikTok to be a difficult tool to use, and users must learn to distinguish between positive and negative remarks. “It may feel incredibly invalidating and upsetting when someone on the internet dismisses the perspective of the original poster, a full and total shut down,” Johnston says. “You should be on the lookout for unpleasant comments and ignore them.”

I spent three years in the dark with a diagnosis that I feared would progressively destroy every relationship I’d ever had until discovering individuals blogging about BPD on TikTok. Now, while I try to figure out who I am, my loving spouse is using Tiktok to figure out how to better support me. Finally, working with my therapist, I can embrace the mess and recognise that I am more than my diagnosis. I can connect with a community of people who are facing, overcoming, and living through pain together through Tiktok.

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