Borderline Personality Disorder

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental illness categorized as a personality disorder. Personality disroders are 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.(Webmd) BPD specifically is characterized by unstable thoughts and feelings regarding ones self-image and there for thinking, feeling, and behaving ways that greatly effect ones ability to function.

In order to be diagnosed with BPD, patients must exhibit at least 5 of the following signs and symptoms according to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Treatment Revision) definition. Please do not try and diagnose yourself. If you think you may have mental health issues please seek help from a medical professional. They are trained to look for and diagnose problems. So many mental health diagnoses share similar symptoms.

Unstable self-image characterized by drastic and rapid changes in self perceptions, goals, dreams, likes, dislikes and their own value as a person. (For instance, I tend to put myself in rolls. When my brother-in-laws ex-girlfriend offered to make the cake for my sister-in-laws birthday, I lost all sense of worth in terms of my family. That was my job and if someone was better than me or taking that role from me, I felt I have no value.)
Unstable Personal Relationships. This is often caused by idealization and devaluation. People with BPD tend to have black and white thinking. Some days I adore my brother-in-law and can't imagine what life would be like without him around, other days I can't stand him, I think my husband should stop enabling certain behaviors and I can't say on nice thing about him. Apparently, I also do with quite often with my mother-in-law and my own husband. Sometimes I can idealize and devalue them at the same time. On therapist pointed out that I flopped back and forth about my mother-in-law 5 or 6 times in a matter of three sentences.

Unstable Emotions. This is the mood swing part of BPD. Emotions seem to change rapidly and intensely in response to situations and stresses that might seem minor to others. This can include anger, joy, euphoria, anxiety, and depression (including panic attacks). For instance, if my kids track mud in the house, no big deal really, but I may (or may not) fly off the handle and explode as if they have burned down the house. Where normal people have a mechanism in their brain to regulate the intensity of their emotions, individuals with BPD have a broken mechanism that rarely if ever functions correctly. (I also used to have panic attacks in Wal-Mart if I was by myself and there were more than 2 other people in the same aisle as myself.)

Desperate Effort to Avoid Abandonment whether real or imagine. I don't see this in myself much anymore, but I use to. This explains the tendency of a BPD sufferer to become overly clingy and needy or to sabotage a relationship so that they are doing the leaving rather than being rejected.

Significant Impulsivity. This accounts for addictive and self-harming behaviors such as inappropriate sexual behavior, alcoholism, gambling problems, drug use, spending money, eating habits, and driving habits. I like to spend, I used to drink a lot, and I was rather promiscuous before I got married. I also used to dabble in drug use and have been in 5 accidents, 4 of which were my fault.

Recurring Suicidal Thoughts of Behaviors. If you or a loved one are having suicidal thought or engaging in phsycial self-harm, please seek help. Call someone. If you think you have no one call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at1-800-273-8255. I personally don't see this as a problem for myself I have not had a seriously suicidal thought in more than 7 years. However, in October 2011 I did attempt to harm myself in an attempt to manipulate my husband. My thought was that he wouldn't even notice if I seriously hurt myself. We had been fighting it and it was an emotionally driven stupid decisions. I have an ugly little scar to prove it and I regret the choice everyday.

Chronic Feelings of Emptiness. This is hard to describe even though I suffer from this. It's kind of like an ongoing feeling of drifting purposefulness mixed with a void of emotion.

Anger. Inappropriate or intense anger or difficulty managing anger when it occurs. I definitely have this problem. I am genuinely surprised the neighbors have not called the cops for a domestic disturbance. I mostly scream at Larch, but sometimes my kids also.
Transient, stress-related paranoia or severe dissociation (lapses in memory). Um, I'm not sure how to go about explaining this one. I know that I occasionally go into a state of dissociation and while I don't remember clearly, I sort of remember whats going on in my head. However, I don't generally remember what is going on around me or even a conversation I may have been listening to.

BPD is generally treated with psychotherapy and sometimes medication to alleviate symptoms until life skills can be learned to help one cope. There is no cure for BPD and though one may be able to stop therapy after a significant amount of time, any major change or stress might send an individual into relapse.

Resources for more information on BPD
Borderline Personality Disorder Research Foundation
340 West 12th Street
New York, NY 10014
Phone: 212-421-5244
Fax: 212-421-5243
Web site:

Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center
New York Presbyterian Hospital -- Westchester Division
21 Bloomingdale Road
White Plains, NY 10605
Phone: 888-694-2273
Web site:

Borderline Personality Disorder
Web site:

Borderline Personality Disorder Today
Web site:

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Colonial Place Three
2107 Wilson Boulevard Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22201-3042
Phone: 1-800-950-NAMI 1-800-950-6264 hotline for help with depression
Fax: 703-524-9094
TDD: 703-516-7227
Web site:

National Borderline Personality Disorder Resource and Referral Center

National Education Alliance for BPD
PO Box 974
Rye, New York 10580
\Web site:

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
6001 Executive Boulevard
Room 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Phone: 866-615-6464 toll-free
Fax: 301-443-4279
TDD: 866-415-8051 toll-free
Web site: