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Forums / Staying well / Managing Borderline Personality Disorder

Topic: Managing Borderline Personality Disorder

  1. AGrace
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    12 June 2014

    Hi,

    I was looking through some of the posts and couldnt find any related to Borderline Personality Disorder. 

    I was diagnosed at the end of the year along with Anxiety and Depression. I was hoping to reach out to anyone in a similar situation to get some advice on how to deal with living with this condition.  I left my employment last year so I could focus on my health which has been useful but now I feel anxious about ever being able to go back to work full time, having children, and doing day to day things whilst managing my illness. To add to this, not doing those things leaves me feeling a little useless. 

    Does anyone have some advice, or personal experience with this?

    Thanks. 

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Jo3
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    12 June 2014 in reply to AGrace

    Hi AGrace

    I have BPD.  I was diagnosed 4 yrs ago, also suffering depression, anxiety as as result of being sexually abused as a child over 30 yrs ago.

     I am now 48, married 28 yrs with three children (22,21,18). I work part time, changed my career 2 yrs ago and cutting back my hours as I couldn't handle working full time.

    I have been seeing a psychologist for the past four years and recently admitted to hospital for a break and change of meds.  I also see a psychiatrist once a month.

    I was quite shocked to know that I am suffering BPD, but am glad in a way because now I can have treatment, doing dialetical behaviour therapy (DBT) fortnightly with my psych.

     I also attend a BPD support group in Melbourne which have monthly meetings. If you live in Melbourne, I can give you the details of next meeting.  This has been a great support because I know that I am not the only one suffering BPD.  There are others in this group and we are all supportive of each other.

     Are you seeing someone eg. pysch or having therapy/treatment.

    Looking forward to chatting with you again

    Jo

    2 people found this helpful
  3. AGrace
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    13 June 2014 in reply to Jo3

    Hi Jo3,

    Thanks for your reply. It was refreshing to hear that as a BPD survivor you're working and raising a family.

    I see a Psychiatrists and Psychologist weekly and attend group therapies through the hospital im usually admitted into. I will start DBT group in September. How are you finding this form of therapy?

    I would love the details of the Melbourne BPD support group!

    I think one of my biggest fears about having children is the potential need of stopping medications. Not sure if anyone else has been through this experience???

    All advice gratefully received. 

    AGrace

  4. Jo3
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    13 June 2014 in reply to AGrace

    Hi AGrace,

    I am finding the DBT therapy okay.  Mind you it is taking a long time for it to sink in as my concentration level is not that great.  But I am starting to use the tools that I have learnt from the DBT therapy.  I still have a long way to go, only just covered 2 chapters of the book.  

    The Melbourne support group for BPD is - borderlinesuport.com.au  

    If you google that it will take you to the website and there is lots of information and the dates for the next monthly meeting.  Meet last Monday of each month at 6pm at the CAE Building in Flinders Lane, Melbourne.  Sometimes there are only a few that come but it is a very worthwhile and informative and support group.  If you decide to come you need to register first - you can do that on that website. 

    Wishing you all the best,

    Take care

    Jo

    3 people found this helpful
  5. white knight
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    13 June 2014 in reply to Jo3

    Hi Agrace and Jo,

    I am extremely happy with both of you ladies.

    My mother I suspected has BPD and I no longer see her. She never sought help and the effects of her condition on us kids was devastating.  Yet both of you are seeking a support group and medical assistance. Good on you.

    Here you are Jo, with all of your issues lately, helping another sufferer. So proud of you.

  6. Jo3
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    13 June 2014 in reply to white knight

    Thanks WK,

    Thanks for your continued support.

    AGrace - I am happy to chat again with you anytime.  There are also some good books to read on BPD.  One is called The Buddha and the Borderline; and Get me out of Here by Rachel Reiland.  Both books are good reading.

    Take care AGrace

    Jo

    1 person found this helpful
  7. AGrace
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    15 June 2014 in reply to Jo3

    Hi Jo3

    Thanks. I read The Buddha and The Borderline - agreed, avery good read but I haven't read the other,  so I will. Im going to try to attend the BPD support group at the end of the month.

    AGrace

  8. Jo3
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    15 June 2014 in reply to AGrace

    Hi AGrace

    that will be good if you go to the support group meeting. 

    Take care,

    Jo

  9. Hayley
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    21 June 2014 in reply to AGrace

    Hi AGrace,

    I am so excited to hear that you are due to start DBT in September! 

    I myself have BPD, Depression and Anxiety and I am currently in DBT (Dialectal Behavioural Therapy). 

    I am based in WA and for me this includes attending a weekly DBT Group through my local hospital as well as weekly appointments with a Clinical Psychologist who has training in DBT. Phone Coaching is also available through my Clinical Psychologist.

    For me this therapy has given me life skills that i practice and use everyday. It;s given me a choice to be able to live my life differently. 

    Most likely you will cover the four core groups of Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation and Distress Tolerance. Mindfulness practice is the basis for which all core groups run. 

    I am really excited for you please let me know how you get on. Be prepared you get homework, well we did in the form of Diary Cards lol but its all part of the therapy.

    I too left my full-time employment to focus on my health. This group will require commitment and time and I found having the time and energy to focus on this right now is important for me and more than enough for what I can handle right now.

    Take things day by day, focus on the group coming up as I have found everything else like employment etc I will deal with in time.

    Take care & Good luck 

  10. Straight&Alert
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    1 July 2014 in reply to white knight
    white knight said:

     

    My mother I suspected has BPD and I no longer see her. She never sought help and the effects of her condition on us kids was devastating.  Yet both of you are seeking a support group and medical assistance. Good on you.

    I hear this.It was my father not mother though.It did totally ruin my life sadly.This all came out 5-6 years ago and the clincher to it is I finally (after being alone forever) connected with a girl who a few months after meeting told me she had BPD.It did make a few things she said & did make a bit more sense.

     

    I'm torn between staying & going.

    Staying because I don't care what she has I love her anyway. ... but I love her so much that if leaving her was the best thing I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    Going because I don't know if I can live with this again.As potentially selfish as that sounds 

    She knows a bit of my backstory but I don't know how much she fully grasps of it.We rarely talk although I think we should I feel I'm more in a role of a kind of 'safe place' where she isn't required to think or anything.I'm really not sure if I'm doing the right thing sometimes?

    It's good to see Jo you managed a long lasting relationship but I do wonder if you think it'd been different if you were diagnosed when you were 20 instead? Like would you,or anyone else,even contemplate a relationship with someone knowing this? Not immediately or at the sake of your own treatment ect of course.

    I'm about to turn 40 and this is the closest I've ever been to having any sort of relationship with another human being ever so it's a little bit important :) 

    Apologies if this reads like a "Dear Abbey' letter I'm looking for advice/guidance (beyond the usual be supportive ect) on how to deal with this. as my own anxiety is somewhat running rampant over worrying I'll completely mess it up like I did with my father by not knowing or understanding anything.


  11. AGrace
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    1 July 2014 in reply to Straight&Alert

    Hi Straight&Alert,

    I'll refrain from any further warm and fuzzies!

    I can't tell you whether to stay in your relationship or not. That's up to you to decide. However it would be wise to make an informed decision. 

    Your girlfriend is more than just her illness. I can also say that there is a possibility of recovery for her. The traits (there are 9, to qualify for diagnosis you need at least 5) are skills that she missed out on learning for any number of reasons when she was a child. There are skills based therapies such as Dialectical Behaviour Therapy that aim to teach these skills, and if put into practice its highly likely that she will no longer qualify for diagnosis. Its also important to know that every human experiences some of the traits at some point in their lives, perhaps just not to the same extreme.

    So my suggestions before ending the relationship:

    Get educated - Visit sites such as borderlinesupport.com.au, mindaustralia.org.au, sane.org, & dialecticalbehaviourtherapy.com for information on the illness, the treatments, and information for carers. There are also a number of books you can read such as Loving Someone With Borderline Personality Disorder, co-written by the lady who developed Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. 

    Get Treatment - Is your girlfriend undergoing therapy at the moment? Borderlines usually respond best to a culmination of treatments, group therapy, DBT, individual therapy, antidepressants and anti psychotics (mood stabilisers). Not knowing where you live its difficult to suggest a treatment venue. Also consider support for yourself, even if just a monthly check in with her Psychiatrist/Psychologist: you need to be cared for too. You may even like to speak with someone about growing up with your father.

    Make sure you are not her only carer - Its difficult to be the only person your girlfriend has to turn to in times of need. Engage friends, family, her treatment team to be there for her when you cant.

    Finally I'd say make your relationship about more than just the disorder. It sounds like you love your girlfriend so she must have many qualities that are admirable. Despite treatment, my partner and I still go out, we travel, we enjoy spending time together, we have individual hobbies.

    I hope this has been helpful. 1 in 4 people are diagnosed every year with BPD, 23% of admissions to Psychiatric hospitals are for patients with BPD, so you and your girlfriend are not alone.

    AGrace

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  12. Jo3
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    1 July 2014 in reply to Straight&Alert

    Hi Straight&Alert

    AGrace has written a fantastic reply to you.  Nothing else to say but get as much information as you can on BPD.  

    Hope things work out for you and your partner

    Jo

  13. geoff
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    1 July 2014 in reply to Straight&Alert
    dear SA, well what AGrace has said to you is so good I can't really add to it, although she has had a very difficult time now a little bit but certainly over the years, and her continual response to so many people is just terrific, because I can tell how she has changed from when she first came here until now, and there has been a huge improvement in actual replies to people, and her involvement has been fantastic. Geoff.
  14. AGrace
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    1 July 2014 in reply to geoff

    Thank you Jo & Geoff,

    What wonderful comments!

    You guys do such an incredible job as well and I find this truly inspiring. Hopefully with such caring and insightful people here we can try to make a dent in bringing hope and awareness to mental health:)

    AG

  15. joey
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    12 July 2014 in reply to AGrace

    I have BPD (or I used to, not sure if I meet the criteria anymore but I definitely still have milder symptoms). I did DBT finishing almost 2 years ago and it did change my life. Things still aren't easy but I manage. I haven't posted here for awhile because I was finding it unhelpful for my own mental health but I do pop by occasionally and talking about BPD/DBT is something I enjoy. I enjoy it because it reminds me of where I came from and how much my life changed in a year. Pre DBT I had trialled a lot of different medications and nothing worked. I have not been in melds since about 4 months into DBT. I do still see a psychologist but maybe once a more or less. 

     

    DBT kind of helped with everything. Although I was always high functioning (aka always had a job so no one thought there was a problem) I had (and to and extent still do) problems with black and white thinking, poor relationships and a complete inability to interpret people. I still have these issues but it's to a lesser extent and sometimes I can work out the right thing to do or say. 

    Yeah anyway good luck with DBT it will help you a lot and I still have some friends from the program. It's amazing meeting people that finally get how chaotic your world is. 

    I may pop back and if I do would love to talk about DBT. But I can't guarantee when or how long I will be here as I need to look after myself. 

    Joey. 

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  16. Jo3
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    12 July 2014 in reply to joey

    Hey Joey

    It's so nice to hear from you.  I can understand what you're saying about staying away because I have felt that at times as well.  I am still doing DBT with my regular therapist, actually at the moment we are working on self judgement stance and validation.  It's a slow process but I am learning, just hope I stick with it.

    Take care Joey, so nice to hear from you.

    Jo

  17. AGrace
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    12 July 2014 in reply to joey

    Hi Joey,

    I really appreciate your reply. Thanks for stopping by:)

    AG

  18. ABeautifulMind
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    24 July 2014

    Hello,

    I am new to this forum and wanted to post a question. I am pretty sure I have Borderline Personality Disorder based off of my behavior over the past several years. My husband is about ready to divorce me because I can't stop talking to ex boyfriends and other men because of my need to not be lonely.

    I have had self harming episodes since my early 20's and continue to feel the urge, although I have only done it once in the last two years. I am seeing a psychologist this Friday and hope to get to the bottom of what's going on in my head. I constantly feel alone and the need for companionship.

    Some background: my mother passed away when I was 15, along with my grandmother and my grandmother and grandfather, all by the time I was 17. I attribute most of my anger and depression and loneliness to this. 

    If anyone has any experience with this disorder I would love to hear about it. I am a very successful person and I have two college degrees. I just have this dark side of me that is getting out of control.

    Thanks in advance

  19. AGrace
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    24 July 2014 in reply to ABeautifulMind

    Hi ABM,

    If you think that you may have BPD then it's best to get this diagnosed by your Psychologist or Psychiatrist. You can actually ask to do diagnostic testing to wee if you meet the criteria. There are 9 criteria for BPD, I'll list them in a moment. To be diagnosed you need to fulfill 5/9. If you meet a few of the criteria they class this as having Borderline Traits.

    1) Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.      

    2) A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between  extremes of idealization and devaluation.

    3) Identity disturbance:  markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

    4) Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)

    5) Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.

    6) Affective [mood] instability.

    7) Chronic feelings of emptiness.

    8) Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).

    9) Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

    If you would like some more information on BPD there is a good website if you google borderline support, you can also visit the NAMI site, or BPD world. Happy to answer any queries for you. The symptoms that you have described definitely fit, however as I said it's best to get a professional diagnosis. Sadly there's no real cure for BPD, however antidepressants and antipsychotics do help alleviate the symptoms. There is also a psychoeducational program designed specifically for BPD patients called Dialectical behgaviour therapy. You can find out more about the therapy by googling Marsha Linehan DBT.

    Good luck with the Psychologist. If you don't get anywhere with them, my advice would be to see a Psychiatrist. It may also be worthwhile getting your husband to visit some of these sights to give him an idea of what you are going through, and how he can best support you.

    AGrace

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  20. CatAttack
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    24 October 2015 in reply to AGrace
    Hi AGrace, I've been clinically diagnosed with BPD for the past 15yrs. I am always unsure weather I'll 'make it' in the real world or just fall apart and crumble. For the past yr I've been volunteering and it has helped me so much. I volun'tr in an animal shelter mainly in kennels (dogs) and not only have I found that I can manage day to day things I now know just how strong and reliable I can be. That said I have days where I'm literally in a cage bawling my eyes out and wondering what the hell i'm doing. Sometimes I want to quit and just go back to my old ways - not leaving the house, over eating and basically being a zombie, but then I get a kiss from one of the dogs and I see in their eyes that I'm here for a reason even if that is simply being there for them. I've never been in a relationship and get worried a lot that i'll never find anyone that will love me but I have no control over that. My moods are what are really the hardest thing about my illness - being high, then dropping so far down and then getting higher and higher only to drop further and further down. I don't know if any of this is going to help you in anyway I just wanted you to know that it is possible to live with this illness and I have been doing that for the past 15yrs. Don't give up cos' with every low there is always another high waiting just round the corner. I know people can be judgemental but that's what drew me here. I wanted to hear from people like me and beable to voice my fears and hopes and stupid thoughts that won't leave my head. This is my first post and i'm not sure if i'm doing any of this right but I hope you can read this and find something in what I've written helpful in some way. All the best
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  21. Gyspy_pom
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    26 October 2015 in reply to CatAttack

    Hi CatAttack,

    This is my first post which I felt the need to write as your story sounds very similar to mine. Regarding your diagnosis, I am not even sure what it is as I too am supposed to be the same except that a few years ago I was Bi-polar and before that Manic Depressive. I was told they are all the same thing and have given up trying to understand.

    Your work is such a good idea and every happy moment is a blessing. I count my blessings every day and feel so selfish because I am so miserable most of the time. I wonder if you go out when you are not working? I hate leaving my flat but so enjoy being anywhere else. I would be interested to know what you do when you are not working and if you have a special place which relaxes you. I find that taking a snack to the river is calming. May even bump into someone, one never knows. 

    I hope to find a post from you soon with some news. Will keep you in my thoughts.

     

     

  22. CatAttack
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    27 October 2015 in reply to Gyspy_pom

    Hi Gyspy_pom,

                                  Thanks for your thoughts on my post. To be honest I was having a very bad day and I felt so alone that I ended up signing up to this chat room. I normally wouldn't do anything like this but as I said it was a bad day and sometimes the only people to talk to are the one's who have experienced similar things. To answer your question I do go out when I'm not @work but it has taken a long time for me to get to this point. I shut myself off from everyone I knew so badly that when I was ready to start living again they were nowhere to be seen. I can't blame them, some tried very hard to reach out to me but I pushed them away even further. Getting back to your question I love the beach. It feels so open and free and I love seeing the dogs splashing around in  the water, running around on the sand and I often picture the dogs @work who are locked up day after day getting the chance to do this. It's often hard to explain to people the connection I feel with my ''babies''. I see them in their cages and I know what it's like to wish for nothing more than to be let out. Having being hospitalised quite a bit it has shown me how much we take our freedom of day-to-day living for granted. Being able to go for a walk or to have a shower without someone watch you or even to eat dinner with a proper knife and fork (not plastic) is so important that I feel very much the same way the dogs seem to. I don't pretend to know what they feel but I know what I feel and sometimes it is like I'm suffocating. I want so badly to be normal but I don't know how to be. I hate that I'm 30y/o have no one special in my life, don't have children and I don't even have a career. My sisters are married with kids and have great jobs. Everyone says that my time will come but I often wonder when that will be - and if that will be too late.

    Please take care of yourself. Keep going to the river as you seem to enjoy that and remember that even when all else feels tired and done something new comes round the corner.

                          Much thanks, CatAttck

  23. Ros H
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    3 January 2016 in reply to Jo3

    HI

     

    I am trying to find the borderline groups in Victoria but can not find them on shack which is what the mentioned links to.  Can someone pls help me ta Ros

  24. hope4joy
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    4 January 2016 in reply to Ros H

    Hey, 

    its really nice to see a thread on here about BPD, something I was diagnosed with about 3 years ago. I've done an intensive DBT group and been in counselling and so many other things, and luckily so many of the symptoms have markedly reduced, especially my ability to cope in healthy ways with strong disturbing emotions. And I hardly disassociate anymore which is great. But my depression seems to linger and linger and at times get very much worse. I'm quite confused about the best way to treat depression with BPD, have been reading up on it. Just wondering if anyone has suggestions on what worked for you? Treating the depression alongside BPD?

    Thanks, Christina :) 

     

  25. aingeal
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    17 January 2016 in reply to hope4joy

    Hi Christina,

    I experience depression alongside BPD, it is a symptom of bipolar II that I manage. The highs and lows can linger and stay with me for weeks at a time challenging my ability to focus and concentrate on things I need to get done. The depression also brings in self harm thoughts that linger on the outskirts of my thinking - though without intention. I also get teary and soppy and feel like I need hugs. My lows are kind of like a wall that sits inbetween what I'd like to do, and my motivation to do it and at times it seems inpenetrable.

    Over the past few weeks my mood has been low so I've reached out to others for support. It's starting to lift now, but work as fallen a bit behind in the mean time - which I'm now playing catch up with with a presentation due tomorrow (procastination).

    I plan ahead and put things in place to look forward to. If it does get to hard, I'll give myself the day off to rest.

    I'm not on meds at the moment but it they are something that I would consider if my mood doesn't lift to a point where I can't apply myself consistantly.Talking to one my support network helps as well (something I did today actually). Music is something that helps lift my mood and I'll put on a record or at work, my iPod.

    Like you I've read up on both and it does help me to understand the condition more objectively - it helps remind me that it is an condition; its not how I choose to be.

    Have you spoken to your medical team about it at all? What have they told you? What have  you tried that has worked in the past to help lift your mood?

    livelife xx

    ange

     

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  26. hope4joy
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    19 January 2016 in reply to aingeal

    Hi Ange,

    its really nice to find your words here. Wow, I really hear you about describing that wall of depression/ low mood, that can seem impenetrable between what one would like to do and the motivation to do it. I sometimes use the expression that the hurdle was simply too high. For example when I'm depressed I can catch up with old friends but the hurdle is too high to meet up with new folks - or if I force myself I can do it but typically I'm sort of frozen inside and don't connect or enjoy it. I really hear you about the power of planning ahead... this impacts my mood greatly, and also impacts my motivation and drive to get out of bed each day, and occasionally to simply take some time out. 

    You asked about what my doctors have said and also what I've found has helped lift my mood. To the first part, my psychiatrist reckons that I'm progressing well but that therapy to help BPD can take 6 or 7 years - I'm 2 years in to roughly weekly sessions. I know i've seen lots of positive changes in coping skills but am not sure that 4 more years of therapy is the way forward. In total I've done counselling and 'personal growth' stuff since early 2010... which for me feels like an eternity! I've also just started on an anti depressant, something i've resisted for years, but i figure it is time to properly give meds a chance to see if they can help lift my baseline. The problem with my GP and other people in my life is that they often see me as high functioning and cannot appreciate how much emotional distress and isolation I have at times, I guess I put in a wonderful facade. 

    And as to what works to lift mood? Something as simple as a nice social engagement or two on each weekend helps. An art project has really helped on a few occasions in the past when I didn't want to interact with others. Forcing myself to do more and more socialising each week has helped. Increasing my yoga practice can help. I guess trying to be kind and forgive myself can help, forgive myself for being depressed and being in a rut. I guess at the moment I feel somewhat stuck in how to move forward - I don't want to go back but have little willingness to go forward. I hope I find this willingness soon. I also hope this post hasn't read as too bleak. You mentioned Ange that you've had a rough few weeks. Where are you at now? Anything you are doing that is helping raise your mood? Do you know what triggers your lows?

    Kind wishes, Christina 

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  27. xmin
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    1 February 2016 in reply to AGrace

    Hi AGrace, 

    I was diagnosed with depression, then anxiety, and finally most recently bpd. The very little I'd heard about it was scary, more so than depression or anxiety. Still coming to terms with what it all means and trying not to feel like my future is stamped out before me, in a doomed to repeat the same mistakes/fall into the same bad patterns way. 

  28. hope4joy
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    1 February 2016 in reply to xmin

    Hi xmin,

    I've also been diagnosed with bpd (and anxiety and depression) and i just wanted to share that while there is still terrible stigma and negative views around bpd, there is also strong research that recovery is possible, and i've been lucky to find some doctors that support this view. So please don't get help from people who have out of date limited views of bpd. Also, i found much of the literature talks about bpd in negative stigmatising ways - so for a while i decided to only read books on overcoming trauma instead - as bpd can also be called complex trauma. I found the trauma books really resonated and were much more compassionate and respectful and affirming. I'm not sure what city you're in but there are some bpd support groups in some states.

    Kind wishes, Christina 

  29. xmin
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    5 February 2016 in reply to AGrace
    Hi Christina, 

    Luckily my psychologist addressed those points in my session, she said to try not to focus on the negative stereotypes. I'm feeling a little up and down about it. I'm mostly scared about being able to maintain a long term relationship, especially as I've recently become single. I thought about it, and I'm not sure how well I'd do in a support group. I'm not really a people person, haha. 

    Thanks for your kind and supportive words!
  30. Ladyhawke
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    Ladyhawke avatar
    219 posts
    6 February 2016 in reply to xmin

    Hi xmin

    ​I was diagnosed with BPD around the middle of last year. I had already been in treatment for major depressive and anxiety disorder for 20 years, so when I received the diagnosis of BPD, it really came as a shock, although it did explain why I had had certain issues to deal with during my life. Like many others, I had a very negative stereotype of BPD.

    In terms of treating the BPD with my depression, I was prescribed a low dose mood stabiliser by my psychiatrist,  which has given me some relief from the mood swings.

    I spent quite a deal of time researching the disorder and asking my psychiatrists many questions. I found a number of books that were very helpful and very positive in their approach. One I turn to often is: 'Borderline Personality Demystified: An Essential Guide for Understanding and Living with BPD' by Robert O. Friedal, MD. It is readily available online from any major book supplier.

    There is a great deal of information available on the disorder. I found the more I educated myself on what I was dealing with, the greater control felt.

    Hope this has helped you a little.

     

    lh.

    1 person found this helpful

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