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Help for "BPD traits"?

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I don't have a BPD diagnosis and maybe never would meet the criteria for full-on BPD, but I do have traits of BPD, I think, and would like some advice.

Even when the mania and depression is all smoothed out, I still have blips where I struggle. I don't have anger issues or severe abandonment fears, and I don't really do the black and white thinking, but I definitely have issues with disliking myself and I've overdosed a few times. I'm also extremely sensitive to negative evaluation and am incredibly self conscious. I also experience magical thinking. And sometimes I read descriptions if people with BPD and think, whoa, that sounds like me!

I'd like to work on these issues and was wondering where I should start.

I have some DBT books which I've found pretty helpful, but I've never fully dived into them. I think I'm scared. Maybe I'm frightened of liking myself. I don't know, that makes no sense. But I know that I'm tired of the self loathing and anxiety and hating who I am and all of the guilt.

Also, the reactions of the people around me when I reveal that I think I have BPD traits worries me. Even doctors have said terrible things to me -- like "oh no, you're such a nice person, you're definitely not a Borderline". this just makes me more anxious. I don't understand why people lack empathy when it comes to people w/ BPD. But the fact that I relate to a lot of BPD issues makes me feel vaguely broken.

But I think after a few years of suffering from these symptoms, I am ready to start working on them properly. I was just wondering where one without an official diagnosis should start.

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Having a lot of anxiety and disliking yourself is not really so unique to BPD that it can't be explained by your other diagnoses.   I am somewhat confused about how this is related to BPD.


That being said, DBT can be useful for a variety of concerns.  It is normal to have mixed feelings about getting better.  What you do is weigh up how much you want to get better against how much you don't, and if you would prefer to be better, take the steps.  This is a good thing to address in therapy.

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Yes. BPD is extremely stigmatized.

One thing that I did for dealing with perceived stigma was that I started using workbooks on my own. I did that for a few years, until I felt that I had hit a limit with what they could do for me. Then I felt brave enough to battle the stigma because I already knew the words, which felt like armor against it.

I know that you're scared to do that on your own, which is why having someone help you can be nice. Either way you'll have to do something scary. Which one do you think would be more manageable for you, right now?

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Tryp -- maybe I didn't explain myself well. I can be impulsive, hate criticism, am overly sensitive, sometimes I feel a type of void inside of me... I scoured books and Internet articles and related a lot with people who have BPD, so that's why I put this post here. I didn't know where else it would go. But it could just be symptoms of anxiety, bipolar, general low self esteem...

I don't know, I struggle with hypochondria and sometimes I can jump the gun a bit. Maybe these problems are not BPD related at all.

WinterRosie -- I think right now I'm going to attempt to work through a workbook by myself first. I don't know why this is so frightening to me, because I went through a DBT workbook a year ago and it really helped me for a while.

One of my other issues is that, like I said, I am a hypochondriac. So I don't know if I'm imagining things, exaggerating them... What if I'm just afraid that I have another MI and symptoms are manifesting because of that fear? I don't know.

Just very confused right now. (But at least I'm not manic or depressed.)

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The thing is - at this point does it matter to you if you have a diagnosis of BPD or not?


If the most important thing to you is to know absolutely if you have it or not, ask your pdoc about it.


If the most important thing to you is feeling better, then focus on identifying the symptoms that are causing you the most misery and take them up in therapy.


Either way, you are who you are.  Someone telling you that you have BPD wouldn't change who you are right now.  It's not like cancer or something where if you have it and don't realize, it can kill you.  You can probably get along perfectly well focusing on the symptoms in therapy.

Edited by tryp
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Hmm, that's a good point. A diagnosis doesn't change who I am.

I think right now, what is most important is relief from the symptoms. Especially the anxiety.

I'm going to work through the DBT workbook again and bring up my problems in therapy.


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You don't need to have borderline personality disorder or traits to gain benefits from DBT, it can help with symptoms of other mental illnesses too that relate to emotional regulation, relationships, thinking styles. I'm pretty sure only half of the girls in my DBT group were actually borderlines, the other half had chronic depression or anxiety or a different personality disorder, but we all got benefit from it. So definitely dive into the DBT books, its hard work but worth it! 

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DBT is designed for people who have trouble regulating their emotions, tolerating distress, and so on.   Lots of people fit this description and can benefit from DBT.  You don't have to have any diagnosis at all.  My kid even does DBT, because all kids need to learn to deal with their emotions, and his mother (me) isn't the greatest teacher of this particular subject area, so he was having problems.  This doesn't mean there is anything wrong with my kid, it just means he can use help learning skills.  It is just so awesome that our DBT place has a program for kids so that he can learn this now, before he is older and gets even more confused about himself.

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I'm confused why you're using the word "mania." I don't really think it has a huge part in BPD. There can be times that feel like mania, but trust me, my boyfriend is bipolar and I've sure seen my fair share of that. I have BPD and have mania-type episodes but it has to do with your environment more or less than what your brain is doing. At least, this has been my experience with a bipolar loved one and my own personal experience with BPD.


Bipolar and BPD are quite similar, but I think it mainly has to do with how much does your environment affect you? Do you stay up for nights on end and have extremely productive times and then have extremely low times? Do you "black out" at all or find yourself confused about what you were doing? Do you self-harm? How many times have you gone to the hospital? Do you ever feel like you have to self-harm or do something extreme to bring yourself back to reality? (This might be overwhelming, but if you find a good psychiatrist/psychologist, there'll be a lot of questions. Answer honestly.)


Something that has helped me figure out what's happening is to write my experiences down. When my friend said "this isn't ok" did I accept it or flip out? If I woke up depressed but then got a text from my boyfriend about how much he loves me, my day suddenly flipped completely around.... etc.


And honestly, everybody else is right, you don't necessarily NEED a diagnosis. But from what you're saying, it's almost like you want to be sick. And trust me, that's not a good place to be. Focus on treating symptoms, staying positive, and think of a life without anxiety. You will get there; with hard work, a good support system, a few falls, and some professional helping hands to get you back on your feet, you'll get to "normal" - where you're not paranoid/anxious about being "sick."


PS.... don't keep researching. The more you look into things like this, the more crazy it makes you and the worse you feel about yourself. Just find a therapist. That's where you information needs to come from.


Good luck :)

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