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.