Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

I am beginning to think my husband has been misdiagnosed or perhaps has a multiple diagnosis. As a bad day becomes worse I see that he exhibits more behaviors that are similar to BPD than bipolar II.  From the website dual diagnosis I copied the following: 

Understanding the Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD), in particular, can be one such illness that zaps a person of energy, self-esteem, and hope for a better tomorrow.

A Look at Borderline Personality Disorder: Symptoms

Similar to some symptoms of bipolar disorder or anxiety, persons with borderline personality disorder often have intense mood swings frequently mixed with paranoia. A signifier of this illness is an extreme instability in relationships, self-image, and behavior. Based on information from the National Institute of Mental Health, some sufferers of BPD often have psychotic episodes as well, and three-quarters of the BPD population are thought to practice self-injury. The illness is thought to affect an estimated 2 percent of the population (1.6 percent), with females more likely to be diagnosed (about 75 percent).

The DMS-IV outlines nine symptoms that identify borderline personality disorder. In order to be diagnosed by a mental health care profession, one needs to be at least 18 years of age and exhibit five or more of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme reactions to real or perceived abandonment. The feeling of being abandoned is perhaps one of the most indicative markers of borderline personality disorder. Whether real or imagined, a person suffering from BPD may show intense, often inappropriate, reactions when he/she feels abandoned.
  • Torrid relationships. A person with borderline personality disorder often has intense emotions about friends and others close to him/her, in particular lovers or caretakers, which may correlate to fear of abandonment. Feelings may constitute extreme love (idealization) or hate (devaluation) and are subject to change without notice or predicating event. People with BPD may also seem overly reliant or dependent upon friends, lovers, or family members.
  • Distorted self-image. Often feeling like he/she is “bad” or “evil,” a person with BPD may show signs of low self-worth or value. This disturbance in perceived identity is frequently negative or pessimistic and can shift suddenly. For example, someone with BPD may have extreme feelings about how they are unloved or worthless triggered by an event in which a friend is five minutes late for a lunch date.
  • Impulsive or dangerous behavior. Impulsive or risky behavior often includes sex, substance abuse, binges, or charging a lot of money on credit cards. These behaviors are often considered to be dangerously impulsive and can put oneself or others at risk.
  • Recurring suicidal thoughts. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that living with BPD can manifest into destructive behavior, such as self-harm (cutting) or suicide attempt.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom. Those suffering from BPD may often feel disillusioned or unfulfilled with their places in life.
  • Inappropriate anger. Referring to the earlier example about a lunch date, a person with BPD may yell at a friend for being late. It’s possible that, going to back to unstable relationships, he/she may immediately switch feelings about that person and illustrate devaluation as a result.
  • Intense and highly unstable moods. Those with BPD often display unpredictable and erratic behavior as the result of varying moods.
  • Stress-related paranoia or dissociative symptoms. This symptom is marked by a loss of reality or perception.

This is my life and yet my heart aches for my husband. I experience the rollercoaster of emotional chaos yet he lives it. It is in him. In his heart, in his mind playing on repeat. I can see it and walk away.  I can cry for an hour in the shower then curl in bed, face the wall and attempt to sleep hoping morning brings a changed attitude or words of forgiveness from an accusatory spouse. But I am the lucky one. I have general anxiety disorder, mild depression that is at bay, recognizable, yet non-limiting ptsd and widespread pain. That is so manageable compared to what my husband must be experiencing. I try and tell myself this every time he speaks a cutting word or makes a claim of infidelity. I tell myself, ‘he must be feeling pretty crappy to make me feel so crappy.’  And I know that he is not responsible for how I react to something; but inside of me I feel a bit of blame that maybe I wouldn’t be feeling so hated, neglected, unwanted, ugly, unloved, worthless, miserable, stagnant, and lost if he wasn’t so sporadic with his emotions.  

Well, that folks is my life. My day. My nights. Thank God in heaven this isn’t everyday, but I think sometimes that is what makes it so bad….the unpredictability of it all. 

Working slowly in me; doing my best for my family; holding to my personal bill of rights, one line at a time. 


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