My emotional state can change very quickly, pushing me from euphoric happiness to crushing despair within the space of a few hours.
Things You Only Know: If you have a borderline personality disorder
THE DEBRIEF: YOU’LL EXPERIENCE EXTREME EMOTIONS AND MAY GO THROUGH PERIODS WHERE YOU TOTALLY LOSE TOUCH WITH REALITY…
I’m lying in a hospital bed and I have little memory of how I got there. I sit up and suddenly realise that I have my second year university exams in a matter of weeks. The panic hits me. I have to revise. I have to do well. What am I doing here? I remember a blur of booze and pills and tears. I reach for the tube in my wrist and I start pulling it out. I’m pulling and pulling and there seems to be yards of tubing inside me. I finally get it all out and the hospital bed is soaked in blood. I get dressed, blood staining the arm of my coat. I run out of the hospital, get on the bus and go back to my flat to revise.
Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental illness that manifests itself in a range of distressing symptoms and abnormal behaviours. It’s been recently recognised as a disorder of mood that affects how the sufferer is able to relate to other people – if you have BPD, you’ll experience extreme emotions and may go through periods where you totally lose touch with reality. Between 60% and 70% of BPD sufferers will attempt suicide at some point during their lives – which is a terrifying though for me.
Your emotions get really crazy
When I’m explaining BPD to people for the first time, I usually describe it as having overwhelming emotions that are very difficult to deal with. My emotional state can change very quickly, pushing me from euphoric happiness to crushing despair within the space of a few hours. My feelings always seem completely valid to me, when they usually aren’t grounded in reality at all. After a perfectly nice evening with friends, I might still go home and burst into tears because I feel like I said all the wrong things and none of the people I was with really liked me. I have to trust my partner when he tells me that my assessment of the situation isn’t correct, and my feelings aren’t rational. My emotions can feel like huge waves breaking over me, knocking the wind out of my chest and pushing me underwater.
“Emotional empathy refers to feeling another person’s emotion,” Richard-Mornas said. “While cognitive empathy is the ability to adopt the other person’s point of view, or ‘put oneself in his/her shoes,’ without necessarily experiencing any emotion.”
Brain Surgery To Remove Amygdala Leads To Woman’s ‘Hyper Empathy’
By Bahar Gholipour, Staff Writer
In a strange case, a woman developed “hyper empathy” after having a part of her brain called the amygdala removed in an effort to treat her severe epilepsy, according to a report of her case. Empathy is the ability to recognize another person’s emotions.
The case was especially unusual because the amygdala is involved in recognizing emotions, and removing it would be expected to make it harder rather than easier for a person to read others’ emotions, according to the researchers involved in her case.
During the woman’s surgery, doctors removed parts of her temporal lobe, including the amygdala, from one side of the brain. The surgery is a common treatment for people with severe forms of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) who don’t respond to medication.
After the surgery, the seizures she had suffered multiple times a day stopped. But the woman reported a “new, spectacular emotional arousal,” that has persisted for 13 years to this date, the researchers said.
Borderline personality disorder is not the same as bipolar disorder.
Hope in fight against borderline disorder
April 2, 2015, 9:40 am
It is almost impossible to write about this important issue in a calm and reflective way. The “issues” of self-harm, chaotic or risky behaviour, and overwhelming emotional instability and distress are often too raw for individuals, families and care services to discuss calmly.
The important themes of adolescent self-harm, youth suicide and emotionally volatile young adults who struggle to engage with services continue to attract public attention and often overwhelm us as a community.
But among these struggles, there is hope. There are established and effective therapies, and the majority of young people with existing or emerging features of borderline personality disorder go on to lead meaningful lives.
Borderline personality disorder is characterised by unstable relationships, volatile emotions and self-esteem, and impulsive behaviour. Feelings of emptiness and abandonment, as well as self-harming, are common. The impact on function can be significant, and the emotional distress severe.
Borderline personality disorder is not the same as bipolar disorder. Less than one in 50 people have borderline personality disorder but more people than this have milder symptoms which are not as intrusive. Tragically, about 10 per cent of people with borderline personality disorder suicide in their lifetime — it’s not a low risk.
Stigma is very common in BPD — not only by the general public, but even among mental health clinicians, who feel they have to create distance to protect themselves.
Stigmatizing Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder
Batya Swift Yasgur, MA, LMSW
April 03, 2015
Ms. G, a 29-year-old cashier, consulted a psychiatrist about “mood swings,” volatility, depression, and loneliness. Initially, the psychiatrist was empathetic. Encouraged by the psychiatrist’s accepting attitude, Ms. G revealed that during a recent hospitalization, she received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD). The psychiatrist became distant and formal during the remainder of the session. Ms. G did not keep her second appointment. Instead, she presented to the emergency department following a suicide attempt.
This is not an uncommon scenario, according to Ron Aviram, PhD, a New York City-based psychologist and an adjunct associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York.
“Stigma is very common in BPD — not only by the general public, but even among mental health clinicians, who feel they have to create distance to protect themselves,” Aviram told Psychiatry Advisor. Distancing may “inadvertently contribute to the patient’s self-injury and early withdrawal from treatment” by exacerbating existing feelings of unworthiness, self-loathing, invalidation, and rejection, he added.
Numerous studies have shown that mental health clinicians are not immune to negative attitudes toward patients with BPD. For example, a recent study of 710 mental health professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and nurses) found that many psychiatrists held negative attitudes toward patients with BPD and reported being “less likely to hospitalize a patient with BPD than a patient with major depressive disorder.”