Every now and then I take a look at the diagnostic criteria and apply it to my situation to see if there’s progress and/or whether I still meet enough of it to be classed as ‘Borderline’. I don’t care too much for fitting into a box (my therapists have pretty much said even Non-BPD’s are bound to meet some of the criteria if not all the time then at least some of the time). But I find it helpful as a guide and to pinpoint areas I still need to work on. So, here goes
1.Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. People with Borderline Personality Disorder often experience intense fears of abandonment, which can have a serious effect on their self-image and behavior, as well as their ability to maintain relationships. – To be honest, I’m not sure if I meet this as it only really manifests in romantic relationships for me. Having said, this last break up has been the most successful so far in that, I didn’t cling and after saying what I had to blocked and deleted and used healthy coping strategies to get through the time (no self harm!).
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. One of the most marked traits of people suffering from BPD is unstable relationships. They will jump from one relationship to another, never really settling down. Sometimes they will put their partner on a pedestal, almost to the point of worshipping them. If something goes wrong, they will demonize the other person. They lack perspective on situations – people are either very good or very bad. These same behaviors apply to all relationships, not just romantic relationships. I don’t think I meet this, especially outside romantic relationships. I have friendships and family bonds where I do not swing back and forth. I did struggle to ‘like’ a colleague earlier this year but I was able to see she was neither to be idolised or demonised, she just had her own character flaws like all of us. I also didn’t demonise my last bf (yay win!) but that may have been because he was so good to me that even our arguments were more like conversations.
3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. People with Borderline Personality Disorder will often experiment with lifestyles and switch jobs, never quite figuring out who they really are and what they want to do in life. Sadly, yes. I have found some things out about myself over the years, likes, dislikes, hobbies I enjoy, I kind of know what I want to do as a job, but still, I’d prefer to do nothing at all. So it still applies I guess, which sucks.
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging. Such self-damaging behaviors include eating disorders, substance abuse, gambling, and promiscuity. People with BPD often engage in several impulsive behaviors. – Not anymore baby! The eating disorder thing is a bit latent at the moment as I’m concentrating on just eating when I’m hungry, whether I’m eating enough I’m not sure, I’m just not calorie counting these days and that feels good 🙂
5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats, or self-mutilating behavior. People with BPD often struggle with suicidal thoughts and ideations, as well as suicide attempts. They also frequently engage in self-harmful behaviors in an attempt to make themselves feel better emotionally. – I get some kind of ‘what’s the point in life’ talk or ‘why do I bother’, but noooope this is no longer me. I am 14 months free of my last self harm incident 🙂
6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days). “People with BPD do not have good stress management skills,”. “They are very sensitive to their surroundings, causing an emotional roller coaster ride.” – Yes I do have a marked reactivity of mood, and the random hours of feeling so down/empty for no reason to the point of feeling suicidal. I don’t know if it’s the Quetiapine as it’s been about 2 weeks but pretty much most of my day is spent feeling ‘even’ a kind of quiet happiness, and I LOVE this feeling. I can actually sit it one place and concentrate and just ‘be’ I still struggle to be mindful, but hopefully, this isn’t me anymore.
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness. Because people with Borderline Personality Disorder can feel empty and alone, they may use relationships to fill the “void” in their life. – I have done this before so many times. However, I’m not doing this lately and I don’t feel so empty as I spend my days doing things I know are good for me. I also have a slow desire to keep writing on this blog, recovery, and looking at doing a Masters soon, all these plans tell me emptiness can’t be the only thing I’m feeling otherwise, what would be the point ?
8. Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights). People with BPD are always facing an internal conflict that can often result in displays of anger. “The two extremes are most apparent in relationships, where they vacillate between loving and hating others.” Nope! Not anymore. My ex said to me at one point that I’m better at controlling my emotions/anger than non BPD’s. Anger was the hardest one in the past, but I don’t think this is a problem anymore as it has been 14 months since my last ‘rage’ episode the longest ever. Yay DBT 🙂
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms. When people with Borderline Personality Disorder find themselves in a very stressful situation that they have an intense reaction to but can’t resolve, they may exhibit symptoms of paranoia as a way to cope. They may also dissociate in order to escape intense emotional pain. – I don’t get the paranoia, I get it sometimes when people say something and I interpret it negatively. I find myself thinking ‘was she trying to be rude, or was she genuinely asking me that?’ ‘was she being sarcastic or nice?’ whatever the case is, but then I either ask others what they think so I can get another interpretation on the matter, or I use check the facts to come up with other interpretations. I don’t think I meet the paranoia part of this. I do notice the tendency to try to dissociate in stressful situations (usually at work when I HAVE to do something and I’m stressing about performance/time/feedback) BUT, I am working on mindfulness and I notice it ‘brings me into myself’ and into what I’m doing at the time. It’s not severe by a stretch. I am however, going to work more on my mindfulness to prevent it from happening as often.
So where am I at? I may or may not meet 1, I meet 3, may or may not meet 6 (time will tell, especially when I get back to work), possibly 7 I don’t feel ’empty’ so often but I don’t feel so ‘happy’ or ‘content’ long enough to say I don’t fit it, I don’t think I am severe enough for 9, but if I do put 9 I have enough symptoms to still be considered ‘BPD’.
All in all, I think I meet BPD still by a stretch of 1 or 2 of the criteria. I can also see how in all the ones I do meet, I meet them with ‘less severity’ than I used to and have made progress in recovery in all of them. Which is a great feeling (Go me!) I just hope I keep going further and further. I literally want to beat this BPD’s ass.