I asked my friend Sydney on twitter if she could write a little about Borderline Personality Disorder, since she is diagnosed with it. She said she would, and if you have any questions for Sydney, you can write them in the comments section on this post. Here is what Sydney wrote:
My current therapist told our DBT group that her college professors said to her, “There are two people you never want to treat- people with substance abuse disorders, and people with borderline personality disorder.” My therapist, Carla, explains that that was what made her want to treat people like us- people with borderline personality.
Borderline personality, described as simply as possible, has proven to be somewhat biological- but is mostly developed through years of invalidation and/or abuse. We’re treated a way that makes us feel like we don’t matter, like we’re not important to the people we need to be important to- and it gives us the belief that we are worthless. Through that feeling, we develop extremely unstable emotions- which is why, sometimes, borderline personality can be misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder or major depression. And because of these unstable emotions, most borderlines develop substance abuse, spending, or self-harm problems, as well as other impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. Many borderlines have also attempted- or succeeded- in suicide.
I was diagnosed with borderline personality in early 2013, at the age of 21. I began to see a therapist once a week that soon transitioned me to dialectical behavior therapy for people with borderline personality. Borderline cannot be cured, but with DBT, we learn to live with our illness. DBT teaches us a set of skills under four categories- mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotion regulation. We’re taught these skills to get a handle on our emotions and keep us from suffering from them as we so often do.
I graduated from DBT about two months ago. I’ve learned a lot of skills from the group, and have changed a lot in the year since I started. I am not where I want to be yet in terms of my recovery, but the skills I have learned in DBT are helping me get there.