Borderline Personality Disorder,  Parenting

Mother chronicles daughter’s tragic struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder

Not long after she drew the gruesome accident picture at the age of nine, Colleen told her parents that she wanted to die. Many suicide attempts followed.

Calgary mother chronicles daughter’s tragic struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder


When Colleen Porter was nine years old, her parents were summoned to school because of a picture she had drawn with crayons.

Students had been asked to create something that pleased them, an exercise that usually produced predictable and mundane results. Not for Colleen.

“It was a drawing of a car accident,” says Fran L. Porter, Colleen’s mother and author of the book When the Ship Has No Stabilizers: Our Daughter’s Tempestuous Voyage Through Borderline Personality Disorder (Crossfield Publishing, 274 Pages, $30).

“She had these bodies all over the road. She had red crayon all over the page and she had written at the bottom of the page: ‘This is a bad accident. Bodies are lying all over the road. There is blood everywhere.’ So we could see that her mind was not working properly.”

It was not the first indication that something was wrong. By that point, Colleen’s assistant principal had already raised alarm about her behaviour. She was running with a troublemaking crowd and seemed unusually obsessed, especially for a nine year old, over the dark work of Edgar Allan Poe.

Even as a baby, Colleen showed troubling signs. In the crib, she would become violently startled whenever she was touched. Throughout her young childhood, she would be overly clingy one minute and resistant to touch the next.

Recent research has pinpointed these two extremes as being characteristic of borderline personality disorder.

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One Comment

  • Janet Lapointe

    I believe my 17 yo daughter has BPD. She’s always been difficult, demanding and controlling since she was a very young child. All of a sudden I woke up one day and felt like my baby girl had been taken from me. She’s hostile, negative, angry, hyper critical, verbally and physically abusive. Spends astronomical amounts of money. To the point where I can’t pay my mortgage and my bills. She doesn’t care. My husband completely blames me and says it’s just a result of being spoiled. I try to tell him no, it’s more than that. Her behavior is not “normal”. She is able to turn it on and off in front of other people. I don’t know where to turn.

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