To some, this title sounds scary. I have to admit, when it left my therapist’s mouth I was caught off-guard. What does this mean? What’s a personality disorder? It sounds permanent.
Although, I haven’t heard my therapist say that I definitely have this, she’s been speculating it since after our first meeting. Since then, we’ve gone through the criteria. It’s hard to say one way or another on some of them. There’s a lot of conditions, and a lot of subjectivity on my part on if I consider some of my behaviors as problematic. After talking through it, so far I am up to 5 of the 9 as “for sure”.
I believe we looked at the criteria outlined in the DSM-IV. The criteria is as follows:
- frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
- a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
- identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
- impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). This does not include suicidal or self-harming behavior
- recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
- affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood – intense feelings that can last from a few hours to a few days
- chronic feelings of emptiness
- inappropriate intense anger or difficulty controlling anger
- transient, stress-related paranoid ideas or severe dissociative symptoms
At this time, I won’t be discussing which 5 are “for sure”, but that only 5 are needed for a diagnosis of BPD.
Recently, a friend shared a youtube video that does a decent job explaining what it is like to have this mental illness. It has some problematic parts, but overall does a decent job providing a visualization of the criteria above.
I highly recommend giving it a watch if only to try and understand what I may be dealing with on a daily basis.
Now, my diagnosis is far from finished. It takes a period of time to have passed with monitoring my emotional states and behaviors. However, it is likely that it is more than BPD. I’ve been given a starting point and a more stable basis to stand on. I cannot tell you how helpful it is to have a name to call it, and to be able to research it.
In the meantime, I hope to be able to get better at dealing with this. My therapist believes that this is a curable illness, but it takes extensive behavioral therapy. And, that won’t happen overnight.
Please know that I am always doing my best, regardless of how that looks externally.
Thank you all for reading and educating yourselves. I appreciate all of your love and support.
Criteria from: Spectrum BPD