Experiences of living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are unique to each person. You generally need to experience 5 of the following symptoms to be diagnosed with BPD:
- Extreme reactions to feeling abandoned – this may involve efforts to avoid being abandoned, or by cutting someone out before they can abandon and hurt you;
- Unstable relationships – you may find that you idealise someone and then quickly swing to intensely disliking them;
- Confused feelings about who you are – not sure who you are or what to think about yourself;
- Being impulsive in ways that could be damaging – for example, spending money, substance abuse and reckless driving, risky sexual behaviour, binge eating;
- Self-harm, suicidal thoughts and behaviours – talking or thinking about suicide, repeatedly harming youself or
- Long-lasting feelings of emptiness and feeling abandoned – a feeling of being completely alone and abandoned, or feeling empty inside;
- Difficulty controlling emotions and anger – getting angry and being unable to control it, reacting out of proportion to the person who trigged the anger, or being unable to control anger resulting in physical fights or fits of rage;
- Overwhelming mood swings and intense emotions – experiencing intense emotional lows (depression) and highs (mania) – this can last anywhere between an hour and days;
- Paranoid thoughts when you’re stressed – being suspicious of others around you, or having a feeling that someone is ‘out to get you’. This may also include the feeling of being detached from your emotions or body.
Everyone is different, some people may only have a few symptoms and others may have them all. Severity differs between people also, some symptoms are worse for some people.
The important thing to remember is that YOUR symptoms and feelings are valid for YOU. Don’t compare yourself to others, everyone is different.