Borderline Personality Disorder - Experience

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What is borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder that belongs to the group of mental illnesses called personality disorders. Like other personality disorders, it is characterized by a consistent pattern of thinking, feeling, and interacting with others and with the world that tends to cause significant problems for the sufferer. Specifically, BPD tends to be associated with a pattern of unstable ways of seeing oneself, feeling, behaving, and relating to others that markedly interferes with the individual's ability to function. Also, as with other personality disorders, the person is usually an adolescent or adult before they can be assessed as meeting full symptom criteria for BPD.

Historically, BPD has been thought to be a set of symptoms that include both mood problems (neuroses) and distortions of reality (psychosis) and therefore was thought to be on the borderline between mood problems and schizophrenia. However, it is now understood that while the symptoms of BPD may straddle those symptom complexes, this illness is more closely related to other personality disorders in terms of how it may develop and occur within families. Contrary to what the medical community thought in the past, BPD is now understood to occur equally in men and women in general, while primarily in women in groups of people who are receiving mental-health treatment (treatment populations). The frequency with which this disorder occurs is also thought to be considerably higher than previously thought, affecting nearly 6% of adults over the course of a lifetime.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Zoe, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 26

I was diagnosed with BPD well over a year ago. Although not as severe as some cases, the emotional and mental anguish of this illness was unbearable. The worst of it was experienced in my adolescent and teenage years. I was a cutter and thought of suicide endlessly. I never developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol, but I had (and still have) problems with eating. The final straw for me was when I suffered continual and relentless emotional bullying at work 5 years ago by an ex friend and others, and nobody would do anything. I cried everyday and had extreme anxiety. Then one day I fell apart and ran out of there and never went back. The ol' suicidal thoughts came rushing back in, but I reached out for help, and in a nutshell, here I am. I am in therapy and have been for nearly 2 years. I understand more about BPD and how it pertains to me as an individual and how to be mindful of the ways BPD affects my thinking today. It's very difficult to "unlearn" thoughts and behaviours, it's a slow and lengthy process. But it is possible.

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Comment from: Emily, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 28

Depression and anxiety have been the norm for me for about 20 years. I was just diagnosed with BPD (borderline personality disorder) last week. The information I have read makes me wonder how I had never been diagnosed before. I cannot stand the thought of being left alone or abandoned. I pull out my eyebrows and eyelashes, and more recently, my hair. My self-image is low. I've always hated myself. No one can hurt me any worse than I can myself. My mood swings terrify my children, although, I've never been violent or raging. In the past 5 years, I've had six different jobs and tried to go back to school, but gave up twice. It took me ten years to finish a bachelor's degree and I'm a special education teacher who misses work frequently. I'm exhausted from my frequent medication changes and have the attention span of a 2-year-old. I'm in constant search of attention and make very poor choices in my relationships. I've been divorced once and remarried a few years later. Now, this marriage is suffering. My brother, two years younger than I, is paranoid schizophrenic and lives in an apartment with other mental health patients. My mother neglected us terribly and has recently disowned me. My father has never been in the picture and doesn't acknowledge me. I don't know how to keep it together enough to heal and make my family stay together. In the past week, my impulsive behavior got me another car payment (we have 3). I think of ways to die about 20 times a day.

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