In November 2020 some Instagram users became aware that #bpd had become banned on Instagram.
The hashtag stands for borderline personality disorder (BPD), a type of personality disorder that impacts how an individual thinks and feels about themselves and others.
Instead of being able to access the 1.3 million posts associated with the hashtag, users are met with a pop up asking ‘can we help?’ and warning that ‘posts with this tag can often encourage behaviour that can cause harm and even lead to death.’
Celine McLoughlin, who was diagnosed with BPD in September 2020 and has been campaigning against the ban on Instagram, said: “I can understand that there are triggering topics related to BPD disorder such as suicide and self-harming but at the same time there’s already stigma round talking about these disorders.
“By putting a ban on the hashtag it’s basically saying to me don’t talk about it.”
According to the NHS, individuals who have borderline personality disorder can experience symptoms grouped into four main areas; emotional instability, disturbed patterns of thinking or perception, impulsive behaviour and intense and unstable relationships.
Celine explained the ways BPD has impacted her life: “It’s caused me to do things and behave in ways I’m not proud of. I’d always think to myself ‘why did I do that, why am I breaking things, why am I screaming and getting really angry’ and then five minutes later I’m ready for a night out.
“Me and my ex-boyfriend have broken up and it feels like my whole world has ended. But even when we were together it felt like my world was ending for other reasons.
“Another good example is my body image. A big symptom of BPD is bad body image, I’ve always hated my body and how I look.
“I’d always say to myself that if I lost weight it will literally get rid of all my issues. But now I’ve lost three and a half stone in a year and I still hate how I look.”
There is no clear reason why some people experience difficulties associated with BPD but most people who are diagnosed are likely to have experienced a stressful or traumatic life event.
Celine explained: “Me and my ex-boyfriend had an abortion whilst I was at university and that was really hard and I didn’t know how to tell my parents for a long time.
“I had always struggled to pin down my emotions and for that to happen, it sent me over the edge.”
Dr Paul McLaren, a consultant psychiatrist at Priory’s London Wellbeing Centre and hospital, said: “Personality disorders usually become apparent during adolescence and an individual’s teenage years, before continuing into adulthood.”
During Covid-19 treatment for BPD is currently provided remotely, Dr Paul McLaren, said: “We provide a service called Priory Connect, where patients can reach a psychiatrist or psychotherapist and receive several types of psychotherapy via online sessions.
“Medication may sometimes be added and your doctor may recommend hospitalisation if your safety is at risk.”
‘The Book of Positivity’ created by Celine:
Due to lockdown social media is one of the main ways people can connect and Celine said: “Because of lockdown, Instagram is one of the few ways to reach out and find others with BPD and find normality in this condition.
“With the current ban people’s voices aren’t being heard, it makes you feel alone and like you’re abnormal.”
Buzz contacted Instagram for a comment but did not receive a response.
The petition, which is on change.org, now has over 9,600 signatures and is also calling for ‘change before this happens to another illness that has been demonised by society.’