It has been our experience at Brookhaven that Borderline Personality Disorder rarely occurs as a diagnosis on it's own. It influences how you feel, how you think, how you behave, and how your relationships and interactions with others take place.
Usually women struggling with this disorder are often challenged with many other difficulties at the same time, which is why it is so often very difficult to identify BPD. There are a number of disorders that commonly co-occur with BPD. It is noticeable that there may also be problems coping with anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol use. Eating disorders also are common among individuals with BPD along with body dissatisfaction issues. Trying to avoid emotional pain is the underlying reason why unhealthy escape tools are used in the effort to survive and feel okay. The temporary relief of the emotional escape tools is what feeds the continuum.
Women with BPD often experience difficult relationships that seem to be made up of arguments, break ups and sometimes abuse, but also have intense fears of being abandoned. They experience negative emotions that are overwhelming, frequently feeling they will never be able to cope. The women we treat for this have little sense of self, are often suspicious that they are the center of other peoples negative conversations, and feel unsupported. It seems that the depression is almost a side effect of having BPD, yet the depression stems from the symptoms of BPD.
Many clients come to Brookhaven having been mis-diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The apparent similarities in the disorders can sometimes be confused. Both disorders have mood swings for example. There is, however, a definite difference between the mood swings in bipolar disorder and those in BPD. The curve of bipolar disorders usually take perhaps a couple of days feeling elated followed by a significant drop of mood into depression. A woman with BPD might shift from mood to mood in a matter of minutes or hours along with impulsive behaviors.
The behaviors in relationships for the woman with BPD can feel like you are in a 'roll', like a raging fire that only stops when it reaches water. Often the woman with it does not understand the pattern itself but finds it sad, isolating and depressing. It is important that a woman with this diagnosis has a very comprehensive treatment as the diagnoses usually accompanying it are often emotional, and the tools used to treat BPD can have a very positive effect on the other issues.
It is essential to learn the coping skills and living skills to understand and empower yourself. We believe that you have to learn to manage this disorder or 'it' will manage you.