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The Paradox of Love and Hate: Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

January 6,2017 By: Mansi poddar

Neha was in her college years when she first gave in to substance abuse and self-harm. She had a history of recreational drug use, difficult, unstable relationships and romantic difficulties. She lived with a deep and harrowing fear of abandonment which often drove her partners away.  She felt she could not manage her emotions and no one really got her. Seeing her suffering, her family consulted a Psychotherapist and found out Neha struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder.

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What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder is an illness marked by unstable moods, behaviors, relationships and self-image.

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Symptoms:·
Extreme reactions to abandonment, whether real or perceived Pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family or loved ones, often swinging between extreme love and idolization to utter dislike.

  • Distorted and unstable self-image, struggles with sense of self
  • Impulsive and dangerous behaviors (binge eating, reckless driving, excessive spending, etc.)
  • Self-abuse, self-harm and suicidal tendencies
  • Frequent changes of moods, each lasting for a mere few hours
  • Chronic feeling of emptiness, worthlessness and boredom
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms(loss of contact with reality)

For an accurate diagnosis, it is expected that the individual experience at least five of these symptoms since adolescence or early adulthood and the symptoms are spread throughout many areas of the individual’s life. DO NOT SELF DIAGNOSE.  It is important a professional Psychotherapist conduct this interview.

On the brighter side, most individuals with BPD are high-functioning, intelligent, artistic, highly sensitive, empathetic and overwhelmingly charming, despite having all those issues. Having been through a lot, they sure know how to tackle situations head on!

The way forward:

For Neha, accepting that she was suffering from a personality disorder was the toughest. When she did, she found her family standing strong with her. That encouraged her and she started to respond well to treatment. It took her time but with time, her behavior got stable and she started feeling much better.

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It is essential to understand that BPD or for that matter any mental illness is as real as physical illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, or hypertension.

It is imperative that the person accepts that he needs help. The physical symptoms of BPD (like extreme anxiety) can be treated by medication, but tackling BPD requires psychotherapy and self-help

Do not hesitate to contact me if you feel you or someone you love are struggling with BPD. It is manageable and your quality of life will increase.