Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. It’s like a never-ending emotional roller-coaster ride. Overwhelmed, if one is unable to think straight, then one may say hurtful things or act out in dangerous ways that result in guilt later on.
There are also co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders, substance abuse and other personality disorders.
The most important symptoms of BPD are as follows:
- Fear of abandonment: Such people may plead, cling, initiate fights or even jealously track their loved one’s movements.
- Unstable relationships: Their relationships are intense and short-lived with intense feelings of distrust.
- Unclear self-image: One’s sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you despise yourself.
- Impulsive and self-destructive behaviors: One may engage in harmful, sensation-seeking behaviors (binge shopping or drug indulgence) especially when you are upset. Also, there is a high incidence of suicidal behavior and thoughts.
- Intense mood swings: Unstable emotions and moods are common, especially the feeling of emptiness and anger. Small things can trigger such negativity, but they tend to pass fairly quickly.
There are effective treatments and coping skills that can help one feel better and be in control.
- The importance of finding the right therapist: The support and guidance of an experienced therapist can make a huge difference in treatment.
- Therapies: Psychotherapy is considered best for treatment as it aims to address the emotional-dysregulation associated with the condition.
- Medication: Although there are medications, very little research has shown it to be helpful. What’s more, in the U.S., the FDA has not approved any medications for BPD. This doesn’t mean that medication is never helpful, especially if one suffers from co-occurring disorder (depression) or anxiety.
- Hospitalization: Short-term hospitalization may be necessary during times of extreme stress or suicidal behavior.
- Healthy lifestyle: Maintaining a balanced routine, like meals and sleep and some forms of exercise or hobbies help in keeping stress levels low.
- Support: One must have a strong support system, family, and friends who are aware of BPD and thus can equip themselves with the skills of understanding and be aiding.
- Be kind to yourself: The best medicine of all is being easy towards oneself. Having BPD isn’t one’s fault, but one can change how it affects one’s life. Thoroughly learn about the disorder, your trigger points and stick with the treatment plan as per discussed with the therapist.
For people with BPD, almost everything is unstable: their relationships, their moods, their thinking, their behavior, and even their identity. It’s a frightening and painful way to live.