Diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterized by intense instability in mood, actions, self-image, & personal relationships. Its symptoms fall within four groups: impaired emotional control, harmful impulsivity, impaired perception & reasoning, & disrupted relationships.
Emotional responses are extreme, poorly regulated, & rapidly changing. Impulsive behaviours can be harmful, such as reckless driving & substance abuse. Self-image is unstable & sense of identity is poor. Misperceptions lead to suspicion & paranoia. Stress is simply too difficult to handle most days. Personal relationships are turbulent because, with BPD, episodes interfere, varying from extreme fear of abandonment to excessive anger & a desire for isolation & to push people away.
Borderline personality disorder usually begins during adolescence or early adulthood. Five of nine symptoms of BPD must be present & persistent (an “enduring pattern”) to be diagnosed, according to the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV). I experience all nine symptoms regularly, as I have for the past seven & a half years.
(The following descriptions are the nine symptoms explained.)
I have extreme reactions to abandonment, though it’s often all in my head, an imaginative paranoia overcoming all faith I have in those I love so deeply. I’ve learned to expect negative & harmful attitudes & behaviours from others. Voices intensely feed my paranoid, negative, fearful thoughts. I flip out, panic evident in my mindset, rage or sorrow smeared across my face. I grow frantic in my efforts to sustain friendships while attempting to avoid being clinging, particularly with romantic interests. I must also take care not to quickly become overly dependent on somebody, as it happens so easily with me. My relationships with people are extreme & intense, rapidly & unexpectedly switching from extreme closeness & love to extreme dislike or anger.
My distorted & unstable sense of self drags me down far too frequently. My feelings, opinions, values, & plans & goals for the future change on the flip of a dime. I often engage in impulsive & dangerous behaviours, including reckless driving & substance abuse, as previously mentioned. In a three & a half year period, I moved twenty-one times, living with a total of thirty different people. All of this is initially thrilling, but the instability eventually ruins me.
My moods are intense & highly changeable, episodes lasting from a few hours to a few days. Emotional responses are exaggerated, unstable, & poorly regulated. Anger, anxiety, & depression are the most common emotions dramatically triggered. Some call it emotional storms; others call it overreacting. I call it simply being crazy.
My recurring suicidal behaviors & self-harming behavior is another telltale sign of borderline personality disorder. Other symptomatic traits include chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom, intense & uncontrollable anger, & having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as derealization (which I address in another blog).
Efforts to avoid abandonment, unstable & intense interpersonal relationships, identity disturbance, impulsivity, suicidality, mood instability, chronic emptiness, inappropriate & intense anger, & paranoid ideation or dissociation all point to borderline personality disorder.
When under stress, all logic & reason, particularly in social situations, become seriously compromised due to my mental disorders. My memory is also impaired. I occasionally experience a terrifying panic attack. Seemingly mundane events trigger symptoms. For example, I sometimes feel angry & distressed over minor separations with those close to me, such as a sudden change of plans.
My life is a big ol’ box of crazy, & I’m only just beginning to identify what lies within its walls.