A few days ago I wrote a post talking about how I thought I might have borderline personality disorder. From what I’ve read online BPD is pretty similar to PTSD in how it’s caused (although BPD can be genetic, if it is what I have, I feel like it is trauma related.) and how it causes people to act, but with different symptoms. It’s been referred to on more than one site as a “complex PTSD” now I’m not sure if that’s accurate, but it seems about right in my case anyways. I am going to list the symptoms, and how they relate to what I feel, but before that, I want to say this:
” I have done a lot of research over the past couple of days, not just on the disease, but on the loved ones of people with the disease, and I don’t think I will ever be able to fully understand the pain I put my husband through. Unintentionally of course, but it was pain all the same. so dear husband, I am sorry. I don’t think you will ever understand how badly what I’ve done to you. It hurts me to know that I have hurt you. I am so incredibly sorry. I love you so much, and I don’t blame you for leaving. I am so sad that that’s what it came to, but I don’t blame you.”
Okay, now on to the symptoms.
- Make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
ookay, this one is a doozy. I once kept a baby (as opposed to having an abortion) because I thought her father wouldn’t leave me if I did. As a child I would do anything I could to prevent my cousin from going to sleep when I stayed at her house because I thought if she slept she didn’t love me anymore. I also once lost 80 lbs in less than a year so that My boyfriend at the time would love me and never leave. (even though he said I was fine)
- Have a pattern of difficult relationships caused by alternating between extremes of intense admiration and hatred of others.
I idolized my now husband when we first met. I thought he was the next best thing to god himself. As soon as he made one mistake I hated him. nuff said.
- Have an unstable self-image or be unsure of his or her own identity.
I cannot describe myself. other than female. I intensely dislike myself, I don’t really know how to explain this one. I have no identity. I am nothing. I have days where I think I am horrible unlovable, awful and disgusting, that I have no self worth and am undeserving of love, and days when I think I am good.
- Act impulsively in ways that are self-damaging, such as extravagant spending, frequent and unprotected sex with many partners, substance abuse, binge eating, or reckless driving.
I don’t have a credit card because I am afraid I would not be able to control my spending. While not in a committed relationship I have been known to engage in reckless sex. Binge eating used to be bad. I also got married to an ex that I hadn’t been with after 2 weeks of dating, so that was pretty self damaging and impulsive.
- Have recurring suicidal thoughts, make repeated suicide attempts, or cause self-injury through mutilation, such as cutting or burning himself or herself.
I have cut myself, I have bitten myself. I have almost constant suicidal thoughts that I try my hardest not to vocalize.
- Have frequent emotional overreactions or intense mood swings, including feeling depressed, irritable, or anxious. These mood swings usually only last a few hours at a time. In rare cases, they may last a day or two.
ahaha yes. I could list about a million examples here, but I wont. My husband (and from what I’ve read online the partners of every person with BPD, As well as the author of the book by the same name) has described life with me as walking on eggshells.. so there’s that.
- Have long-term feelings of emptiness.
I don’t know what to say here. At first I thought my symptoms were a sign of depression but I’ve experienced apathy and emptyness for awhile. it’s hard to explain with all the insanely hyperactive emotions, but I’ve put it like this “even when I am happy…. I am still a little sad”
- Have inappropriate, fierce anger or problems controlling anger. The person may often display temper tantrums or get into physical fights.
Lets just say it gets worse when I am tired, stressed, if I don’t exercise, and If I drink. Fear about my anger was one the signs for myself, that I needed help. I am scared by how out of control of my emotions I feel.
- Have temporary episodes of feeling suspicious of others without reason (paranoia) or losing a sense of reality.
Oh the paranoia and dissociation. Honestly the dissociation was one of the scariest symptoms and the longest lasting for me. I guess the anger too, but this one is the scariest. for awhile I thought I had altziemers or something, because I couldn’t understand it. Sometimes it feels like I am in a haze or a dream, and sometimes I forget events altogether.
I think the paranoia is one of the things that bothered my husband the most… other than the anger of course. I don’t know how to explain quite how hard that is to deal with. Mostly that he was going to leave/cheat/find someone else(or that he already had) or that he didn’t love me, or even hated me. It wasn’t isolated to just him obviously. I thought/think people in the street/public think horrible things about me. friends. my mother in law. family. Basically everyone I have ever met. There’s always a mistrust of anyone. that they’re going to hurt me.
So basically in some form or another I have all 9 of the 9 symptoms of BPD (5/9 are what’s needed to diagnose it as borderline personality disorder)
From what it seems, I am going to have a long road of therapy and work before me, but there is hope. From what I have read, The vast majority of sufferers never admit that they might have a personality disorder. so they spend their whole lives ruining the lives of themselves and others. Those who seek help have a high success rate, and usually go on to lead healthy productive lives.
I think wikipedia puts it best when describing how the emotions come about… it’s not about malice or inflicting pain on anyone else… at least not intentionally…. it’s about fear and hurt and self preservation, as well as the lack of proper skills for coping and communication.
“Individuals with BPD can be very sensitive to the way others treat them, reacting strongly to perceived criticism or hurtfulness. Their feelings about others often shift from positive to negative, generally after a disappointment or perceived threat of losing someone.
Self-image can also change rapidly from extremely positive to extremely negative. Impulsive behaviors are common, including alcohol or drug abuse, unsafe sex, gambling and recklessness in general. Attachment studies suggest individuals with BPD, while being high in intimacy- or novelty-seeking, can be hyper-alert to signs of rejection or not being valued and tend toward insecure, avoidant or ambivalent, or fearfully preoccupied patterns in relationships.
They tend to view the world generally as dangerous and malevolent, and tend to view themselves as powerless, vulnerable, unacceptable and unsure in self-identity. Individuals with BPD are often described, including by some mental health professionals (and in the DSM-IV),as deliberately manipulative or difficult, but analysis and findings generally trace behaviors to inner pain and turmoil, powerlessness and defensive reactions, or limited coping and communication skills”
so yeah. lot of work.