A label is just that; a word or a phrase that is supposed to explain what’s going on with you. If you have ever been labeled, chances are you know that it sucks ass. Whether you were called fat, ugly, nerdy, gay, or even weird, it’s a label. Those labels made you squirm, but they also gave you a sense of comfort. In an odd way, you could add it as a piece to your personality. Oh I’m fat? Well now I can make fat jokes. Oh I’m super freaking weird? Bring on the awkward silence and inappropriate jokes at the worst times. The point is that it gave you a sense of who you are, and on some level you understood it.
Being medically labeled is a completely different ballgame. Trust me, it sucks no less. I mean being medically called fat is not a good time, but that’s not the end all be of all labeling. Labels give your doctor a way to look at you. For example, I’ve been diagnosed with the following: Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. What does assigning these labels do for a doctor? Oh well now we know how to treat you. Now we know exactly what medicines to give you, as they all have their designations. Now we know based on your illness if you’re flat out lying to us, or if you’re telling the truth. As you can see, labels serve their purpose.
Now what do you do when a label negatively impacts you? A prime example of this would be Borderline Personality Disorder. You thought there was stigma around mental illness? Wait until you hear about what they do for BPD’s. There are quite literally doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists that refuse to treat Borderlines as patients. We are considered manipulative liars that will do anything to get what we want, so therefore it is all a game to us. There are even some professionals to this day that don’t believe that BPD’s actually exist. That we are just poorly developed adults with the minds of children, throwing tantrums when we don’t get our way. Even if they do believe it exists, they limit the number of patients they are willing to see with a diagnosis of BPD. How BPD’s are treated in the mental health world is really pathetic, and it’s no wonder so few of us seek treatment.
A fantastic article about the stigma surrounding BPD, in addition to the problems it causes, can be found below. I will address the specific stigma surrounding BPD in future posts.