So, I’m reading a new book. Rachel Reiland’s Get Me Out of Here. It is about a young woman’s battle with borderline personality disorder. I’m on about page 300 of 400+ pages. I would encourage anyone going through severe depression (and their family, friends, etc), whether borderline or not, to read this book. While yes part of the purpose of the book is to chronicle Rachel’s life with BPD, it also describes the fight from a dark place to one of light. It also describes her counseling sessions and the relationship she forms with her counselor. I brought it with me to my last counseling appointment, to read while I was waiting for my appointment time. My counselor picked it up and asked if I thought if I had borderline personality disorder. My response was that I didn’t care. It was a lie. I’ve never been officially diagnosed, but sometimes I wonder.
The DSM IV criteria for diagnosing borderline personality disorder are (I’ve included notes about myself):
A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impusivity beginniny by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5. (oh my gosh, as long as things are going ok in mine and my husband’s relationship, I am ok. But geez, it can get rough. I’m so scared of being alone. I’m scared that if I tell people the truth that they will leave me. So when it looks like friends will leave, I’m happy. I force myself to be happy so friends won’t leave me. Unfortunately, most of them catch on to this, and I’m left friendless anyway)
2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. (i do this to friends and myself, counselor, peers. it’s like i find someone i want to confide in, and do so (usually through email). all of a sudden they are my hero. however, if they disagree or tell me something bad, they are my enemy. i want to break up with them. nothing in between.)
3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. (is this where I say I am pure evil? i forget, i know it fits into one of these criteria. i feel so mixed up on different levels. i don’t know what I want to do with my life. one minute i know i can do something, the next i know i can’t. sometimes i feel like my thoughts and values wane as much as kerry’s does)
4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior (I self injure, probably a lot more than I let on with my counselor. I don’t know why I do it, I just do. It’s like I am in a trance or something.)
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). (i had always counted this one out as one of the criteria i met, until i looked up dysphoria. if i’m right in calling depressed mood as dysphoria, then i fit this one too. anytime anything goes wrong, i automatically want to kill myself. i fall so fast, it’s so intense.)
7. chronic feelings of emptiness (I have felt this emptiness some time now. it’s hard to describe but definitely there. it’s like this overwhelming boredom, loneliness, that won’t go away. even when people are there with me, i still feel so lonely.)
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 (everytime I cut I am in dissociating. It’s like I am in a trance (ha, see the comment above on number 5. I’m outside looking in. I don’t really have control of my actions. Something usually triggers it. A sad song, a sad movie, fight with friend, etc)