Pervasive feelings of confusion and instability can become an everyday experience in the life of someone with borderline personality disorder, or BPD. Imagine living every day on a roller coaster and never knowing if you'll experience high highs or low lows. If you have BPD, these constantly changing emotions can leave you feeling scared and defenseless. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to diagnose BPD as it's often confused with other mood disorders like bipolar disorder.
If everything in your life feels unstable — relationships, your mood and even the way you think — then it's time to find the truth. Receiving a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder may feel daunting, but it's the first step to feeling better. If you're not sure if you or a loved one has BPD, then it's important to understand the symptoms associated with this mental health disorder and seek professional help.
1. Unstable Behavior
The main symptom associated with BPD is a pattern of unstable behavior. This characteristic shows itself in all areas of life, from how you view yourself to how you perceive other people and circumstances. The main ways that instability manifests itself in those with BPD include:
- Intense relationships where how you feel about someone changes dramatically, such as idealizing them one second to devaluing them the next
- An unstable self-image, which interferes with your identity
- Unstable emotions that fluctuate between depression, irritability and anxiety that last for hours or even days
2. Panicked Efforts to Avoid Abandonment
Whether it's real or imagined, you might often have intense fears of abandonment which can cause you to lash out at others. Sometimes you may feel that those you love are rejecting you. Other times there's intense anxiety over the slightest change in your external conditions. That's because those with BPD often have an acute sensitivity to environmental circumstances.
Feelings of abandonment affect the way those with BPD feel and behave. For instance, if someone you love is running a few minutes late, do you get panicked? Does the thought of being alone terrify you?
3. Impulsive Behavior
Another symptom of borderline personality disorder is impulsive actions. This symptom can show itself in many ways depending on the person, such as:
- Going on a spending spree
- Engaging in risky sexual behavior
- Binge eating or drinking
- Driving recklessly
- Developing a substance abuse problem
4. Suicidal or Self-Harmful Behavior
One of the more scary symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder is thinking about or actually harming yourself. Whether it's a cry for help or stems from feelings of self-loathing, these behaviors are terrifying for those close to you. Some people with BPD hurt themselves, such as engaging in cutting. Others think about, threaten or even attempt suicide.
5. Severe Dissociative Symptoms
If you feel removed from the circumstances in your life or even your own emotions, then you are experiencing feelings of disassociation. Whether this only happens when you're stressed or has become a recurrent problem, this could lead you to feel empty inside.
It's Okay to Ask for Help
If you've received a BPD diagnosis or you're unsure if you have the condition, there is help for you. With the right treatment and support, those with borderline personality disorder can improve their circumstances. The first step, however, is seeking help.
Brookhaven Retreat is a treatment facility for women only that specializes in the treatment of mental health problems like BPD. Our beautiful facility located in the foothills of Tennessee's Smoky Mountains is the perfect place to confront your BPD with the compassionate assistance of our highly qualified staff. If you're ready to make a change and get help, contact us today.