For someone suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BP) and for the parents, siblings, partner or children of those having BP, it is usually a frustrating journey literally from hell to nowhere....your very own emotional roller coaster ride!
How would you know if someone suffers from BP?
The patients of BP usually would be seen by a Psychiatrist during one of these scenarios....they have become suicidal, attempt to cut their wrists, burn themselves or are threatening to kill themselves or family members because they hate them! This may have been happening for some time before family members realize it to be a Psychiatric disorder.
It is pretty scary for the family. BP patients can get completely out of control with rage, the very family members they idolized may suddenly be the hated ones. So, they are suicidal and depressed. But it is more than just plain Depression. They are literally on a path of self destruction. They tend to over idolize people and a seemingly small remark can make them get into a rage and lead to self destructive behaviors. They become uncontrollable and unmanageable- one minute ago they were fine and the next minute you might find them suicidal or homicidal!
Most of these behaviors occur with family members only and to outsiders they may appear either happy individuals or sometimes shy or under confident , that's all! Because of this trait they are usually labelled as being 'manipulative' by family members who get frustrated by their mood swings and constant suicide threats...
They also tend to go from one failed relationship to another and usually these relationships are abusive...they tend to get into relationships with controlling, demanding and abusive people and may do almost anything to cling to the relationship...or sometimes just as suddenly their idolization can turn to bitter hatred leading usually to self destructive behaviors in the form of Alcoholism or drug abuse or drug overdose...
While the diagnosis may be based on history of the symptoms described above , Psychological tests like Rorschach and MMPI personality tests may also aid in concluding the diagnosis of BP.
Usually a history of childhood neglect and/or abuse is there.
Even prior to the diagnosis and definitely after the diagnosis, these patients go from one Psychiatrist to the other or from one counselor to another in the hope of getting relief. While it has been proved that people with BP have imbalances in their brain chemicals(Neurotransmitters), medication may at most help in controlling aggression or alleviating Depression to some extent. Also, as symptoms vary at different times it becomes a mess of a number of anti-psychotics, anti- depressants, mood stabilizers , etc..
But there is hope...Specific therapies like Dialectical Behavior Therapy( DBT) , Rational Emotive Therapy and NLP(Neuro-Linguistic Programming) based techniques can help patients and families deal with BP.
The goal of therapy is multi-fold.
- First and foremost, is Emotion regulation, bringing about control on our emotions through various mindfulness techniques , NLP based techniques and understanding how our perceptions cause us distress.
- Second, would be impulse control through simple techniques like body scan and 3 minute breathing technique. Learning to identify triggers and moving from reactivity to responsiveness. Try this 'Step out of the waterfall' technique for impulse control..as you feel yourself falling into a cascade of negativity like a cascading waterfall, imagine stepping out of the waterfall and observing calmly the rushing water go by...soon you will realize that the negative impulse did not last....you can now think about things affecting you calmly.
- Third, is to bring about improvement in Interpersonal relationships and lastly, to improve self- image. These patients usually have a love-hate relationship with family members as well as suffer from self-loathing. They are dialectical in their thinking patterns, opposing thoughts co-exist within them . This can be handled by correcting faulty belief systems usually developed in childhood due to neglect or abuse.
The road ahead may be long and arduous but together we can succeed!