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Exploring EUPD

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By Violet Mcmurtrie
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Exploring EUPD

WITH one in four people in the UK today suffering from a mental health condition and those numbers increasing due to the unprecedented stress, anxiety and uncertainty stemming from the Covid 19 pandemic, Violet Mcmurtrie has been looking at one of the most stigmatised and misunderstood mental health conditions, Borderline Personality Disorder, now more commonly known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD). In this special article, Violet, who lives near Lockerbie, explains more about the condition and shares her own experiences.

SO what is EUPD? It is a condition which affects how you think, feel and interact with other people.

Symptoms include impulsivity, mood swings, an overwhelming fear of abandonment, extreme anger and irritability, paranoia and being suspicious of others, feeling empty, hopeless and worthless, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, having a pattern of unstable or shallow relationships, rapidly changing your opinion of other people, dissociation- feeling as though you have lost touch with reality and anger.

There is no single cause of EUPD, it’s thought to be a combination of genetics, problems with brain chemicals and environmental factors such as childhood trauma.

Treatment for EUPD may involve individual or group psychotherapy carried out by professionals within a community mental health team (CMHT), such as social workers, pharmacists, counsellors, psychiatrists and occupational therapists.

The goal of a CMHT is to provide day-to-day support and treatment, while ensuring the patient has as much independence as possible.

Medication can also be used to alleviate certain symptoms such as anxiety and paranoia.

I have struggled with my mental health since my early teens, after years of being misdiagnosed with depression and anxiety I was eventually given a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder during a hospital admission in my late 20s.

I went through the “trial and error” process of trying different medications until they found one that seemed to help. Although the medication helped somewhat with my big mood fluctuations, I noticed I was still having issues with my mood on a daily basis and having constant problems with relationships/friendship/employment and generally managing my day-to-day life.

Around 18 months ago I moved to a new area and was given a new mental health team. I built up a good relationship with my new team and explained to them the difficulties I was still having. This was brought up at my next meeting with my psychiatrist and the possibility of me possibly having a personality disorder was first discussed.

I didn’t know much about personality disorders so I did some research and was dismayed and upset by the amount of negativity towards people with personality disorders online, the level of ignorance, ill-informed comments and stigma was shocking. I was hospitalised again this year due to my mental health and whilst an inpatient they got psychology to do some work with me. The psychologist did the IPDE Personality Disorder screening with me and follow up interviews/assessments were done and I was given the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (EUPD).

I was devastated by this, I remembered all the negative things I had read online and felt frightened, alone and misunderstood.

I talked to a few of the nurses and my psychiatrist about how I was feeling and they agreed personality disorders are still one of the most misunderstood mental health conditions but that I shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of it, especially since of of the main causes of EUPD is trauma.

This gave me an idea of something to work on which could help myself and others. Once out of hospital I started an online blog called ‘Personality Disorders: the bad, the good & the misunderstood’ with the aim of educating people, offering peer support and to fight the stigma.

  • You can follow the blog on Facebook.
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