Welcome to my weekly A-Z of Mental Illness. Each week I will be writing about a mental health topic that correlates with a letter of the alphabet. I have a few people doing guest posts along the way as well, just so you don’t have to listen to me drone on every week. I hope that through this alphabet of Mental Illness I will be able to spread a bit more awareness.
B is for Borderline. The first time that I had heard of Borderline Personality Disorder was when I was 15 and glancing through my chart while waiting for a doctors appointment. I lived in a small town and occasionally the receptionist would give the patients their charts to take into the dr with them. This was also before a computerised system. After I finished my Dr’s appointment, I did the only thing you do when you see a word you don’t know, I goggled it.
It didn’t look ‘nice’ and certainly did not paint a good picture for my future. Upon questioning my psychologist about, she said that it was not a definite diagnosis because of my age. Most Psychiatrists do not like to label children with psychiatric disorders in case it is simply a normal part of their development. A lot of the traits displayed by a borderline are very similar to a normal bratty teenager, because, well, a borderline is often caught in a time warp.
Borderlines have often experienced some kind of abuse, which can make them revert to child like coping mechanisms. Emotion regulation is a big issue for people with borderline, or rather lack of. Everyone, at some stage in their life, has trouble with regulating their emotions. The difference with a person who has Borderline Personality Disorder is that they have never been taught or had the support to develop coping skills for these emotions. In turn they then resort to risky behaviour, manipulation and self harm.
Since I have started seeing a psychologist again, I have begun to question the Borderline Diagnosis. While I still struggle with self harm, I do not fit many of the other criteria. For more information click HERE As I get older, I have started to grow into myself more and do not face a lot of the same struggles that I did when I was first diagnosed officially at 18. I still struggle with a sense of self and emotion regulation but they are things that I am working on.
Up until a few years ago, Borderline was considered a mental health death sentence. Borderline Personality Disorder was a blight on the Mental Health system that was not able to be ‘fixed’. Now there is a therapy called Dialectal Behaviour Therapy which is proving successful in helping patients with Borderline. DBT combines aspects of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with mindfulness. It is broken down into four components: Mindfulness Skills, Distress Tolerance Skills, Emotion Regulation and Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills. You can find more information on DBT HERE.
Great and very informative post. I was talking to a psychiatrist friend recently and she was surprised when she heard that my mum got worse as she grew older, as she said normally people get better as they age. So that’s good news for you anyway! xxx
I guess without the proper treatment and support it could continue to get worse.
Really informative post Tegan. Nice one. Useful link too. Out of interest, do you know what meds they prescribe for BPD in conjunction with DBT? Or is it purely DBT that is the ideal treatment?
There isn’t any one specific type of drug to treat Borderline. They tend to just treat the symptoms as they arise. So it does depend on the person, but usually Antidepressants are the first port of call. I have been on Anitpsychotics in the past as well, when the delusions and paranoia etc have become too much.
I’m still torn about the whole BPD diagnosis. It’s so hard to educate clients and tell them you have a personality disorder — like there is something inherently wrong with them. However, when I got trained in DBT last year, the trainer had a very nice way of explaining it to her clients. It’s more around difficulties with emotions, cognitions and behaviours consequently affecting interpersonal relationships as well. Glad you are doing an A-Z on mental illness…should be very informative for people out there! Hopped over from FYBF!
After 10 years, I have a psychologist who is committed to making a change and that is how she described BPD. I have seen articles that are calling for the name to be changed to Emotion Regulation Disorder or Emotion Instability Disorder, which I think describes the struggles behind BPD much better. When I first saw Borderline Personality Disorder, I thought borderline, on the borderline of what exactly? It’s a difficult disorder to explain.
Very interesting Tegan. I have had a long history of not being able to regulate my emotions. I was a tantrum thrower well into my 30s!
I’ve done a bit of DBT but the best therapy I’ve had is Schema Therapy. Are you familiar with it? I have a schema, which I’m writing about at the moment, called Insufficient Self Control Schema. It is all about emotion control but also ties in with addiction. I wonder if it also relates to BPD?
I’ve never heard of Schema Therapy but will have a look at it. Thanks for the info
Every week I am a little bit more enlightened – thanks for sharing T x
Happy to spread a little knowledge 🙂
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