Jade S.’s BPD Story


I am slowly learning that Borderline Personality Disorder is not as bad as I thought it was…and I believe BPD is one of the worst illnesses to exist.  It has affected my life in so many ways I hardly know where to begin.  Beginning at the beginning, my experience with BPD began at age 17, after a psychological examination gave a doctor my diagnosis of BPD, ODD, and other disorders.  However, my experience had really begun years before when my relationship with my family began to fall apart, depression hit, and my habit of self-injury began to manifest itself.  When the doctor gave my parents the long list of problems with me, BPD was just one of many.  We didn’t know anything about it, had never heard of it, and the doctor didn’t explain any of it to us.  He was the first, but not the only, doctor to ignore my diagnoses, thereby threatening my health and my safety.  This didn’t bother him at the time, apparently.  I wish he could see me now.

My symptoms simply increased from there.  After dozens of visits to therapists, a long residential stay at a program for teenagers, and years of cutting and emotional turmoil in college, my parents took a second look at this BPD diagnosis and decided it was the perfect fit for me.  I resisted at first.  I didn’t want to be labeled as anything.  I was rebellious.  Yet after reading the paperwork they had printed from the internet explaining the disorder, I began to realize: this was me.  There was finally a title to my problem.  So began a long and close relationship with BPD that unfortunately may never end.

The ending isn’t so grim.  After graduating from college and having yet another emotional breakdown, my family sent me to see Dr. Leland Heller in Okeechobee, Florida.  He was unlike any doctor I had ever seen or met, and he seemed to know exactly what was wrong with me and how to fix it.  I started on new medications and started down the road to recovery.  Since then, I have improved dramatically enough to be able to take on intense therapy, an internship, and blogging for a magazine, just to name a few of the responsibilities I have been able to take on.  The medicine and Dr. Heller and the therapist he works with have given me a new hope and a new life with Borderline Personality Disorder, one which I don’t have to end with suicide or treat with drugs or self-harm.

Dr. Heller’s treatment is based on a model of BPD as a form of epilepsy in the limbic system of the brain.  Inappropriate firing of neurons requires a treatment of anti-seizure medication (Tegretol) and Prozac, a drug he has worked closely with and swears by, along with antipsychotics for dysphoria.  Dr. Heller also agreed to treat all of the co-morbid disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder and OCPD, which often accompany BPD.  He convinced me that it was important to treat the worst symptoms first, before I tackled therapy to retrain my brain to think positively and to regain some of the self-confidence I had lost from years of living with this disease.

I began group therapy and recovery came in leaps and bounds.  Mindfulness, anger management skills, positive self-talk, repetitive affirmations, self-monitoring skills, etc. have all served to help in my recovery.  I am now free from the worst symptoms of BPD, such as rage and terrible mood swings.  I am able to function relatively normally and I can handle relationships and responsibilities and stress with my medications and skills.  My recovery has truly been a miracle.

And….that’s my story!

Sincerely,

Jade S.

BPD and Self Harm


I am sure most people know what self-harm is, but here are just a few lines of what it is, just incase.

Self-harm is a way of expressing very deep distress. Often, people don’t know why they self-harm. It’s a means of communicating what can’t be put into words or even into thoughts and has been described as an inner scream. Afterwards, some people may feel better able to cope with life again, for a while. It can be referred to as self harm (SH), self injury(SI), deliberable self harm (DSH).

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So now my whole idea of this post was linking BPD and self harm, as one of the common and distressing symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is Self harm. (SH)

There are many methods of self harm, which I don’t want to go into too much detail, but commons methods involve, cutting, scratching, burning and over dosing (without suicidal intent ). When constantly overwhelmed by emotional pain or anxiety, the act of cutting may seem like a welcome distraction. Additionally, self-harm can result in the release of endorphins into the body, which act as natural pain killers. Oddly, then, causing oneself pain can be seen to help relieve it; in reality, of course, much more harm is done than good.

There are some ways of trying to reduce or stop self harming,  by:

Thinking things through – when you are aware that you are feeling the impulse to hurt yourself, take time to reflect on the reasons why, and to think about what will actually come about as a result.

– Putting self-harm off – instead of diving straight into an act that will cause you harm, make a concerted effort to spend five minutes debating the idea first. The next time you find yourself in the same situation, you could try to wait ten minutes, and so on. Over time, you might find that this period of self-reflection helps distract you from what would usually be an impulsive and immediate decision.

Doing something else instead – everyone has perfectly harmless activities that they enjoy doing, and so instead of harming yourself, perhaps try going for a walk or watching a film instead. You may find that this – much safer – activity gives you positive feelings that self-harm wouldn’t have provided.

These are just some of the techniques that might help to overcome.

www.samaritans.org.uk

www.nshn.co.uk

www.bpdworld.org

www.scar-tissue.net

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People with BPD often act very impulsively – be it through alcohol or drug abuse, gambling and over-spending, or promiscuous behaviour – and self-harm is one of the most excruciating expressions of this need for instant gratification. To those untroubled by mental complexities such as BPD, the idea of self-harm might seem excruciating, bizarre or even pointless; however, to many who feel overwhelmed it can seem like a logical and effective way to momentarily relieve the pain that they feel inside. In reality, however, self-harm only adds to and deepens existing problems; unfortunately, the need to deal with the immediate physical threat posed by self-harming behaviour can distract from the complex problems behind it.

I wish that I could give more advice on self harm,  but I am not in a good place and haven’t been for a long time. I have self harmed since 2004, and I got diagnosed with BPD about a month ago. I don’t blame that I self harm because I have BPD, but for me the reasons why I self harm, it used to be to cope, but for a while it’s been to feel. Because I constantly feel empty, so I SH to feel, but the only feeling I get out of it is pain. But I also like my scars.

I am not promoting Self Harm in any way and I am not going to say,’ make sure you clean your wounds and sterile equipment,’ because I know if someone says that to me, I don’t like it, but just take care!!

I use this website, http://www.scar-tissue.net/forum/index.php, you may or may not find it helpful but it is a support forum for people who suffer with Self Harm.

I hope you many find this helpful in some way

xox

Self-Injury Awareness Day


Today is Self-Injury Awareness Day!

According to medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com, self-injury is “a general term for a variety of forms of intentional self-harm without the wish to die. Cutting one’s skin with razors or knives is the most common pattern of self-mutilation. Others include biting, hitting, or bruising oneself; picking or pulling at skin or hair; burning oneself with lighted cigarettes, or amputating parts of the body.” Visit their site to learn more about self-injury causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Here are some facts about self-injuring:

  • 90% of self-injury individuals begin harming themselves during their teen years or younger.
  • Cutting and other self-injury behavior crosses all cultures and socio-economic norms.
  • Cutting and self-injury is a method used by individuals to take care of themselves, their feelings and actions.
  • 40% of all individuals who commit self-injury type behaviors are males.
    Almost 50% of cutters or self-injury individuals have reported being sexually abused.
  • Almost 50% of self-abusers begin at the age of 14 and continue into their 20’s.
  • Some studies indicate that cutting and other self-injury behavior is learned from friends or peers.

(Source: scottcounseling.com)

Do you know the facts? Read these myths about self-harm.

Article: How and Why Do Those With Borderline Personality Disorder Hurt Themselves?

Questions:

There are many self-injury information and support sites out there– what’s your favorite?

Have you found any helpful alternatives to self-harming?

Leave us a comment and let us know!