What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder may not immediately relate to Venice Foodies in your mind. However, in order to better understand me, my struggles and my life, learning a little about it will open your mind to my world. I’ll be writing more in future blogs on my personal experiences.

A huge thank you to Carol Kerber, the guest author for this post!

Have you ever started a job, anxious and eager to dive in, where the excitement carries you through for a while until a project doesn’t progress quite right, or a superior has constructive criticism for you?  All of a sudden, you feel emotions begin to spiral and your enthusiasm turns to fear, anger or defensiveness. You find it difficult to last at any one job for too long.

Similarly, you have witnessed these issues in your relationships with family, friends or significant others.  The relationship begins feeling wonderfully connected and you enjoy the time spent together until paranoia creeps in with feelings of insecurity in their intentions. However, there is little to no reason to feel that way. You may find yourself in a succession of failed relationships where you feel like you gave it your all, but the other person wasn’t trying hard enough, wasn’t as invested as you or wanted to cause misery in your life.

Leaving Before You Are Left

If you find people and possessions you reach for the most are the objects you push away; where you desperately wish for a deeper connection with others, but your thoughts and actions prevent you from creating a consistent bond, you may suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  Day to day life can be a constant struggle and those suffering from BPD often remain undiagnosed, which makes living with this disorder much more difficult.

Borderline Personality Disorder is defined as “a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes a pattern of unstable, intense relationships, distorted self-image, extreme emotions, and impulsiveness.”

The Mayo Clinic

Walking A Tightrope

People suffering from this disorder have a hard time finding balance.  They may initially jump into situations with hope and passion only to just as quickly fall into despair.

In the workplace, this can make it extremely difficult for a person suffering from BPD to consistently perform to their abilities.  They may jump into a new job or project with complete competence and energy, only to have a small criticism or a paranoia take over, which sabotages their ability to focus on the task at hand or to complete a job satisfactorily. It also can make it extremely difficult for them to forge relationships with their co-workers, or to work with others. Holding down a job can be a challenge when pervasive thoughts of inadequacy overtake you.  

Understandably, when you have a distorted view of yourself, coupled with a paranoia of what others think of you, you are often struggling in a distorted environment. Due to this, people who suffer from BPD are also often impulsive and have trouble reigning in their emotions so perceived slights can result in inappropriate outbursts make functioning in the workplace on a day to day basis nearly impossible.

Personal Relationships

Moreover, personal relationships can take a massive hit when you suffer from BPD.  You may find yourself yearning to be close to those around you and putting extra effort and energy into building those connections. On the other hand, a switch can quickly be flipped where you can’t trust those same people and relationships.  There is an ongoing tug of war between yearning and recoiling from your desires.

You co-exist with an almost toxic level of stress which can result in not only the loss of connections and relationships but also can lead you to self-harm. Imagine feeling a compulsion to fill yourself with successes and relationships, just to waver once capacity should be reached.  Hence, you feel an urge to break away and abandon those same bonds and achievements you struggled so hard to reach.

From the outside, those around you are unable to see the constant battle you face, and only see your inconsistencies, reckless behaviors, and mood swings, making personal relationships challenging to maintain.

It’s More Common Than You Think

Borderline Personality Disorder is more common than you may realize. According to Very Well Mind, over four million people suffer from BPD, many of whom are undiagnosed. That is over 1.6 percent of the U.S. population.  If you can relate to the symptoms described above, or you know someone who seems to, there is help. Therapy can significantly help BPD sufferers.  The more we talk about it, the more awareness we can generate so people don’t suffer alone.

Carol Kerber is a married mom with four kids who lives at a horse stable in Ballwin, Missouri. She pursued her undergraduate degree in English at the University of Missouri, and went on to get her teaching certification. She worked in both publishing and education before staying home to raise her kids.


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