July 30th, 2014 3:04 PM
Recently, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I did not know what BPD was and how I developed symptoms for such disorder, but while I was hospitalized I was assessed using the DSM-V diagnostic criteria and an in-person interview with a psychiatrist which revealed several symptoms for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), bipolar tendencies (I did not show enough symptoms to be diagnosed with Type I or Type II Bipolar disorder but showed symptoms of manic/hypo-manic episodes) and the famous BPD.
What exactly is Borderline Personality Disorder? BPD is a very serious mental disorder which results in unstable relationships with other people, instability in mood and behavior. This can lead to impulsive behavior and suicide. I do not want to give a full lecture on the reigns of BPD, but you can find out more information about the disorder here. I do want to acknowledge the key symptoms for my BPD that were found during my assessment.
At the end of my assessment with my psychiatrist from the psychiatric hospital he found the following symptoms:
**Note: Below is a summary of the diagnosis for my Borderline Personality Disorder from my psychiatrist. I am not a mental health professional and the symptoms shown below may or may not apply to you if you believe you may have BPD. I recommend you to use this as an informational and if you question whether you may have BPD I highly recommend you to see a mental health professional or a psychiatrist to follow-up with the symptoms and description listed on the website above for BPD.**
- Serious fear of abandonment from loved ones, significant others, and people.
- Severe suicidal ideation/self harm behavior (may cut or bruise self due to abandonment, loneliness, insecurity, and lack of attention). Patient has made 2 suicide attempts due to unstable relationships with other people in the past.
- Impulsive behavior (Patient acknowledges and shows that she has engaged in excessive spending sprees, excessive eating, and reckless behavior).
- Struggles with self-esteem and self-image issues (Unstable self-image, believes that she is not worthy to live or be with other people in life due to self-image and perception of who she is).
- Variance in mood swings during short periods of time when she engages with other people who tend to upset her. Sometimes she gets highly agitated, sensitive, and annoyed by other people for no reason and tend to switch moods. She will shut down and push people away as a result of her instability in mood.
- Constantly feels worthlessness, hopelessness, emptiness, and constant loneliness; experience and show unknown sadness during different periods in a day or week which may be triggered by other people.
- Tends to lose patience quickly with others when she does not get her way and this results in loss of her temper and physical fights with other people.
After going over my diagnosis with my current out-patient psychiatrist, she asked me to walk her through some examples of times I experienced some of the symptoms I was diagnosed with above so she could get the feel of my BPD and the severity and damage it has caused me to function mentally and emotionally with not only myself but other people.
Below are a few experiences I’ve had in the past that were caused by my Borderline Personality Disorder. However, at the time I was unaware of my actions and did not know between the ages of 13-21 that I had BPD. After my diagnosis, I was able to connect the dots to some of my severe actions, self-harm, and constant suicidal threats/attempts.
- My psychiatrist wanted to know if I had shown any signs of attachment and fear of abandonment as a young girl and since I could not recall my behaviors at such a young age she asked my mother to sit in on a session to walk her through my childhood. My mom noticed that between ~8 mos to 5 years of age I was overly attached to her and had to be with her every second of the day; to the point where I actually would sit in the bathroom with her as she showered because I did not want her to leave me alone by myself. This showed some fear of abandonment but nothing too extreme where my psychiatrist could note the beginning of my BPD.
- As I got older it was very hard for me to maintain long-term relationships with friends because I could not bear the lack of attention from them, their unwillingness to understand why I was “awkward” and “weird” at times, and my constant paranoia that they did not like me for who I was and that they ignored me for no apparent reason, but in reality they were not doing those things; I convinced myself that they were.
- It was not until middle school where I noticed that I had a difficult time connecting with my classmates and making friends. I felt embarrassed to eat lunch with the other students in the cafeteria because I perceived myself as “fat” and “ugly” and this lead to anorexia nervosa between the ages of 13 and 14. In 8th grade and parts of high school I would actually eat my lunch in the girls bathroom (sometimes skip lunch) to avoid feeling that I did not fit in with others; I was paranoid and thought that everyone was looking at me because on the inside I felt “different”.
- I had a best friend from 4th to 6th grade who lived in my neighborhood and that relationship ended abruptly because I convinced myself she did not like me for who I was at the time and talked about me behind my back to other people but in reality she did not. I would verbally fight with her and threaten our friendship, and threaten to cut myself, so she would not leave me.
- 8th grade year I met a boy at a summer camp and became really attached to his personality. We talked every day however I became overbearing, needy, and annoying because if he did not talk to me I would assume he was talking to other girls or ignoring me because I was “weird”. I changed my personality to become someone I was not to “make him like me” based on the crowd he associated himself with. Beginning of my freshmen year in high school we talked and I thought he was going to ask me to be his girlfriend but months later I found out he started to date another girl. So I threatened to kill myself to make him “come back” to me. He called my mother and told her about my suicidal threats and self harm. I did cut myself for 2 months straight during this rough period because I was hurt and in pain. This lead to my first hospitalization in 2008.
- In high school I met two girls at a summer program and we all clicked instantly. Months into our friendship they stopped talking to me and I felt lonely and angry when they did not include me in fun events they planned. Of course I found out about their gatherings via social media and this angered me and I became frustrated. So one night I drank a ‘small swig’ of bleach to try to kill myself because the two girls left me and did not want to be my friend anymore. But I also should note that during our friendship I did push them away because of my extreme sadness and rocky mood swings.
- My freshmen year in college I met another guy in a class and from afar I was really attracted to him and approached him to get to know him. We talked frequently throughout my first two years of college. My feelings for him grew throughout the months , however I could tell he was not genuinely into me because I came off very needy, annoying at times, pushy, awkward, and weird. I would argue with him a lot about obscure things which lead to some impulsive and violent behavior. One time during our friendship I took a kitchen knife and tried to cut and harm myself in his presence and he fought with me to get the knife back but I refused. After that altercation I did self harm (cut) for a short period of time. One evening he took me to go babysitting and I started to argue with him in the car and I got really upset and angry to the point where I opened the car door in mid drive with the intention to jump out of the moving vehicle. With this person I made several suicidal threats throughout the duration of our friendship.
And the list of examples goes on and on and on. My psychiatrist did an excellent job using Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to map out my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during episodes where I began to feel the symptoms of my BPD. The examples above were developed by the CBT model to first knowledge the thought I had in the moment followed by how I felt due to those thoughts and how my thoughts and feelings affect my behavior in that specific situation.
Once my psychiatrist and I were able to map out those impulsive behaviors we moved onto using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) a cognitive behavioral approach to help develop basic social skills and problem solving skills to use during my rocky relationships with others and extreme mood swing episodes. Currently I am working on learning acceptance skills for moments where I feel like rejection or abandonment are coming on and emotion regulation techniques which helps me with my chronic suicidal ideation, threats, attempts and self harm.
I plan to continue my DBT treatment with both my therapist/psychiatrist and take my prescribed medications in hopes to build stronger relationships with people in the future and also mend my broken friendships from the past.