Hello everyone! Where to begin...
I've been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder with some avoidant traits. I have been struggling with depression and anxiety since elementary school (I am 22 now).
Up til this point, I have been in and out of hospitals and treatment centers and passed around from therapist to therapist. I was heavily self- harming and abusing alcohol and other substances. A few months ago, I was sent to yet another center after a suicide attempt.
Let me tell you, it changed my life. I was introduced to DBT, which has truly saved me. I am finally on the correct medication which has seriously reduced, if not stopped, my horrid intrusive thoughts and paranoia. Before, I was to the point I could hardly get out of bed, and already had to drop out of college and leave my job. Now, I have rediscovered my love for art, I am waitressing (something I would have NEVER thought possible) and- best of all- my relationship with my fiance is SO much better and we are back to planning our wedding.
I am back to seeing a therapist regularly, and she is awesome. I've finally confronted issues with my toxic mother and am opening up about traumatic childhood experiences as well as working through family therapy with my father (and my mother, when he can convince her to join).
The fact is, life is GOOD, I am somewhere I thought I would never be and I am incredibly grateful. I'm back here to recieve support now that I am more stable and moving forward into uncharted territory in my life. Thanks for being here and reading.
I feel like I know y'all a bit - long time lurker. I just wanna say that I have used this site to help me research and kinda navigate my way through the blissful path of personal awareness in my journey through crazyland. I have been very thankful to find great resources and opinions here.
So, into the breach of introductions...
I am a 32 y/o lady hailing from the great and dirtiest South, Louisiana. I've been a healer for over half my life, and a massage therapist for over a decade. I'm a (veerrry) small business owner working from home So that I can also care for my two magnificent children, one of whom is a tri-lingual, fencing super-nerd and the youngest of whom is the closest thing to a literal angel that I will ever know. I know.. Im biased but I don't lie!
My youngest (5) is also a soldier in the battle against unwonted, rare disease called Mitochondrial Complex III Deficiency. She is not expected to survive adolescence. I share this information to promote awareness of her affliction and to give some glimpse into the muti-faceted gem of shit luck that contributes greatly to my episodes of mental illness exacerbations.
Diagnosed borderline, major depressive disorder, schizoaffectve with just a dash of PTSD and DID to keep it fun. I did not seek help until the peak of my schizoaffective emergence, during which I attempted twice within a year. I've been off and on the pharmacopia and onlythis year did I see a counselor.
Now, because I'm swimming in medical bills for prescription meds, supplements (that insurance sure as shit won't cover), shitty cars, doctors appointments, genetic tests....yeah, I'm broke as fuck and I am on Medicaid. The great state of Louisiana is kind of a clusterfuck of bad doctors, limited mental health resources, and waiting lists that last over 6 months....so my mental health options are severly restricted.
So I'm finally deciding to say hi to all of you in the hopes that we can aquaint ourselves and, hopefully, I can find some sense of community because no one in Jesus country is really open to talking about mental illness unless its to call MI the side-effect of demonic possession.
So howdy y'all!
Sorry if this has been posted before, tried searching and couldn't find anything. ^^;
So BPD has been bought up a few times over the years in conversations with GPs, but I've always run away from the diagnosis and strongly denied it (I guess due to a lot of misunderstanding as to what a BPD diagnosis would actually mean, I guess). Recently I was trying to explain what goes on in my head to a housemate, and he bought up that "it sounds a lot like borderline". Turns out he was diagnosed with BPD a couple years ago, so we had a good talk about it, and I must admit, it makes a lot of sense.
The thing is, I'm not sure how to bring this concern up with my psychologist. Do I just tell her I think I might have BPD? Any advice from people with similar experiences would be great ^^;
I've not really been on in awhile. So, some things have changed though.
I finally stopped accusing my boyfriend of cheating on me. Literally, one day I just told myself I was going to stop. And I did. When I would begin to worry, I would ask myself if he was actually at work late (and if I didn't believe myself, I'd call. If he didn't answer his cell, he was at work. If I needed more assurance. I called his work, which they don't really care if I just ask if he's about to leave.) He's even given me his time cards (they bring them home everyday.) And he made a good point, he goes to work, and comes straight home, everyday. When one of us leaves, we say where we're going. (if we're fighting I sometimes leave without a word.)
But, in a recent counseling appt. my counselor even pointed out that my old insecurities are filling with new ones. The "not being good enough" one is harping on me like fucking crazy and it's annoying, really.
Things have also felt weird because the other day, I almost was done for good. I called my dad to get me, we packed my stuff, and we left. But, I wasn't gonna get to see my boyfriend like normal. My dad told me, it was him or my boyfriend. I chose my boyfriend. I love my boyfriend. Lately though, he's been nagging at me over stupid shit. Like, the air conditioner for example. He wants it on 70 and auto, and I want it on 68 and high. Well, the compromise was 68 and auto, even though it makes him cold sometimes still. We have a window unit in our motel room. I always say, "I don't wanna fight/argue." He doesn't realize when he's nagging/harping on me, sometimes. And the reason because of lack of nicotine needs to stop, IMO. He plans to stop smoking SOON, so yeah. There are times I'll say, "you're nicing (lack of nicotine), and need to calm down." and he normally apologizes and calms down. His insurance has finally kicked in. He's still agreed to get on medication, at least try. He doesn't want to, but he said he would for me. We plan to set him up with my PNP and he's already made an appt. with my counselor (to go alone of course and work on himself.) He likes my counselor, which is understandable, he wants someone he's comfortable with. I'm also not forcing him to see these people, it just happens a lot of them take his insurance. (including my dentist.) But, after me packing up and leaving, then coming back like 15 minutes later things have felt....weird? We went to a counseling appt. that night, we were going to Friday, this happened all this week too no less.
With me still forgetting to take my meds, and taking myself off of lamictal ENTIRELY, I'm kind of wonky. I had a bad breakdown the day I tried to leave, when I came home. To the point of suicidal tendency because my dad disowned me....again.
My anxiety has crept up into my head again, telling me I need to leave my boyfriend. In my heart and my head I know I love him, and I'm pretty sure he loves me. Although, last night was sort of weird? I was laying next to him in bed, getting ready to go to sleep. He pulled up his messenger app and quickly closed out of it when he realized I was watching him, I guess? I asked, "what was that about?" and he says, "I accidentally opened my messenger. Trying to look at my facebook feed." I just said oh. I asked him about it again, and he said the same thing just a little irritated. He then went into his contacts, and I was trying to go to sleep again. I opened my eyes, again. He was looking for someone. I asked who he was looking for, his initial response was "I don't know." so I asked again, and asked why he was in his contacts. He stated he was looking for the contact info of an admin who's on a website he uses, because he forgot his password and wanted to get on there on his phone. I just realized though, like ten minutes ago, he uses that website on this laptop. (we share his computer). His login is saved into the browser, I'm sure. He never remembers passwords to a lot of things, really. We both have our own accounts on the laptop, password protected. I'm just worried he's cheating on me online. When I brought that up, he's like, "who would do that? what's the point?" I said, "well some people end up meeting and stuff...." he just said, "that's still stupid. there's no point." I guess he didn't realize you can talk to someone online who does live in the same city? I don't know. I ask to see his phone, and he hands me it. He'll ask why sometimes, and if I straight up say to go through it, he hands it over. I knew his password to his old phone, the last four of his social. (Which I also know because of gov't. assistance and helping him apply for his insurance.) Granted, he doesn't like me snooping through his things. I don't think he even has a lock on the new phone? We just got new phones Thursday. If I ask who he's talking to, on the phone, or text, or Facebook he usually tells me. If I ask how he knows them, if they have a past, etc. he tells me. My insecurities have crept in telling me I'm not good enough. I compare myself to other girls he thinks are cute. I compare myself to the fact he prefers Latina and Japanse/Asian/Chinese women over white women. (I'm a white female.) I compare myself to the women he watches in porn. I always compare myself. It's weird. I'm comfortable in my skin, with my size, etc. I think I'm about average in the face? My self esteem fluctuates though. Am I being totally unrealistic or do I have reason to worry? Might I also add, once my phone broke I seized the computer to get on my social network accounts. I'm on it more than him, really. When I think about it. If he's up later than me on his phone, I hear him playing games (or watching porn to get off so he can sleep, if I've said I'm not in the mood). Any time I compare myself, or bring myself down, he says, "hey that's the woman I love you're talking about." or that "you're beautiful, more beautiful than any porn star, or girl I think is cute...because I LOVE you. Not them."
I hate the fact that he's pretty much everything I want in a man. His charm. His looks. his personality. All of it. I know though, too that MI relationships tend to take more work. I'm trying to give the nagging thing a chance until he starts therapy and medications. I mean, he did say I really don't wanna take meds but I will for you, if you want us to try it. I appreciate that, a lot. I just feel like an insecure ugly potato.
The many moods of BPD This is by no means comprehensive, but I thought I'd throw a little information out there.
What is a personality disorder? Most people could define a mood disorder like Bipolar I, at least in general terms. They understand that BPI has extremes of depression and mania, and sometimes people go psychotic or try to kill themselves. Often they are great artists and great sufferers. It has classically been the most recognizable psychological disorder to the point that it has been used colloquially to describe simple mood swings that everyone experiences. Despite our awareness, mental illness is still stigmatized and misjudged. I have Bipolar II, for instance, which presents differently (I don't get full blown mania with psychotic symptoms usually), but simply by saying Bipolar, a lot of people just assume you're "nuts." Maybe I am, but I don't swing cats around or believe in tinfoil hats or eat dryer sheets, and I don't hurt anybody. We all have our own kind of nuts. Borderline is a lot like BPII, with mood swings and suicidality, but it is classified as a personality rather than a mood disorder.
Personality disorders are often misunderstood. The DSM-V says this: "A personality disorder is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment" (645). The name "personality disorder" is itself a remnant of earlier psychiatric academia as is the name Borderline. "Borderline personality disorder is a pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity" (645). And in "Cluster B...individuals with these disorders often appear dramatic, emotional, or erratic" (646). I think the name Borderline came about because they thought it was a crossover of psychosis and neurosis. People have suggested changing the name to "Emotion Dysregulation Disorder," but at this point it may be too stuck. The sad thing about BPD is that it is so vilified in both media and by the general public. When I was first doing research about BPD I came across some disturbing forums and book titles.
"Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder." "Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying your Relationship" "Stop Caretaking the Borderline of Narcissist: How to End the Drama and get on with Life" "Borderline Disorder: 50 Solutions for Surviving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder" "Personality Disorders: Borderline Personality Disorder: Beauty Queen or Emotional Terrorist?" This one is so good I have to quote the Amazon "blurb": "People who suffer from BPD aren’t the only one in distress. Needless to say, those who surround them, including friends and family are affected, too. Borderline Personality Disorder is a tough nut to crack. The drastic shifts from one emotion to another, an abrupt change in decisions and episodes of identity disturbances are what you have to deal with. Are you in love with a beauty queen one minute and an emotional terrorist the next? Does he or she adore you one minute and then seem to despise you just as quickly for seemingly nothing? Are you damned if you do and damned it you don't? You may be dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is a serious, exhausting and sometimes soul-sucking personality disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder Beauty Queen Or Terrorist will help you face everyday life with somebody who has it. You can still develop a healthy relationship and provide support for these people if you have a deeper understanding of BPD. If you are at wit’s end and seem to be at the edge of the rope, hang in there, this book might just be the book you’re looking for! Discussion Includes The Following: • What Is Borderline Personality Disorder? • What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder? • How Is Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosed? • How Is Borderline Personality Disorder Treated? • How To Cope With Someone Who Has Borderline Personality Disorder Learn the 10 Steps on how to cope with BPD! Don't suffer anymore. Purchase Now!" When I was first diagnosed, a friend I met with BPD told me to stay away from Borderline forums because they are full of angry significant others who just want to bash their partners because of their BPD. I understand better than most how frustrating BPD is, and I also understand how frustrating it must be for the people around me, but I am certainly not an emotional terrorist, nor do I think anyone with Borderline is.
This is a particularly great breakdown of it: NIMH: BPD. Winona Ryder's character in "Girl, Interrupted" was supposedly borderline and it is actually believeable. Marsha Linehan is the current BPD guru and her book from the early '80s Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder is still the standard text. She pioneered Dialectical Behavior Therapy, the most accepted method of treatment for BPD patients, but it is also being used for a huge variety of different issues that standard therapies haven't treated. They recently released a second edition of her companion handbook that has been updated and is very useful.
DBT teaches four main modules: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation. These seem to be the most difficult issues for someone with Borderline. Mindfulness is useful for all humans, but it is particularly useful for people who tend to dissociate or feel empty because it is a concrete way to bring you back to your body and focus on the world at hand vs. the world in your head. I try to meditate a couple times a day. I am not always successful, but when I am I feel much more grounded. Handling distress is like drowning. People with BPD have extreme emotions, and distress can feel like it's the end of the world, every time. Distress can be caused by minor issues too but because we react so extremely, what might have been a small concern becomes something large we have to work through. For instance, if you've lost a job it might trigger a spiral of depression, feeling worthless, guilt, shame, self harm, and potentially suicidal ideation or action. Learning to sit with the feelings associated with disappointment and hurt is the goal of distress tolerance, and DBT offers lots of fun advice on how to do that. I will share some of that in a different post.
Interpersonal skills may be the most complex and complicated issue someone with Borderline has to face. I know for me I am always questioning my relationships. They can be extremely volatile, I can fixate on people, I get incredibly angry, I don't listen properly, I get so focused on being "bad" and the root of the cause that I don't actually hear the other person. My pdoc at the last psych ward said this was my main issue. At the time I wasn't sure, but he may have been right. People affect me intensely. Somebody simply not responding to me can send me into a spiral of guilt and self-loathing that is truly incredible. When Husband and I argue I tend to catastrophize and imagine that our relationship is over and that I should probably kill myself. As soon as we make up though, those feelings dissipate.
Emotion regulation is a big problem. I have mood swings (usually long lasting ones unless I'm rapid cycling) because of the BPII, but I have quick and intense mood swings because of the BPD. I can be screaming, fighting, and crying one minute, and then a few minutes later I'm fine and can carry out my day. It shocks Husband when that happens. It's the only way I know how to function. I can't handle staying with the bad emotion so I have to change it to something new.
Self-harm and suicidality are huge issues for people with BPD. I've been a cutter since I was 13. I've done some major damage, requiring stitches on at least a handful of occasions because I cut too deep. I was never trying to slit my wrists to die, just to feel the pain. That has a lot of motivations: sometimes it's because I was numb and wanted to feel anything, sometimes I felt like I hated myself and deserved to hurt, sometimes it was so spontaneous and impulsive that I don't really know the motivation other than anger and the inability to sit through difficult emotions.
Suicidal ideation has been my life. Since I was a teenager my mind has been preoccupied with suicide for a predominant amount of my mental life. There is a difference between ideation and intent, I should note. It's like fantasizing vs. making a plan to actually commit suicide. I have attempted suicide on a few occasions. Clearly none of them worked, thankfully. The last was the most serious and hopefully the last time that it happens. I've never been more serious than trying to break my neck, but there's lots more on that in my journal.
Borderline is a condition of extremes. Happiness, sadness, frustration, pain, confusion... and it is very misunderstood. I hope that the more the media addresses these issues and people educate themselves, that treatments can improve and people will actually seek them out.
This post may be updated as I do more research.