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Readers Respond: How Do You Describe Your Symptoms?

Responses: 31


Updated April 28, 2009

The symptoms of BPD can be very hard to understand for someone who has not experienced them. How do you let other people know what it feels like to have BPD? Do you have a particular way of explaining your symptoms to let others know what it is like to have the disorder?

In a Fish Bowl

Ever since I can remember, I have felt as though I was watching someone else live my life as opposed to actually living. My emotions are so turbulent it utterly exhausts me. I dread going in public, and being social is a nightmare for me. I feel as though I am drowning when I am in a crowded room. People's smiles make me want to puke. It's because I'm jealous that it seems so easy for them. The happy ones. My paranoia and dissociative symptoms continue to worsen. My existence is a view from inside a fishbowl. Too frozen by my fear of this invisible force that continually constructs my demise. My rage, this painful emptiness. I don't know how to overcome it.
—Guest vicarious

Suffered since childhood...

I never knew it was called borderline personality disorder! I actually had no idea that there was even a name for this! I've had all of those relationship problems that were listed... I collect disability because of my bipolar II disorder and at one point, about 4 years ago, they accidentally sent me my office file, with everything in it, from the first job I had to my mental breakdowns, to different doctors I'd seen! I was astonished to say the least, that social security let that file out of their hands and sight. When I called them to tell them I had it, they told me to return it as soon as possible and not to read the contents! Yeah, okay. NOT! I read that file cover to cover and for the first time saw that my first diagnosis was indeed bipolar II, but I also had a second diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. That's when I started researching it a little bit. I now know that I suffered since I was a little girl. I was always depressed, anxious, uptight, scared and nervous.

BPD from the outside. part 2

The carers need straight answers to the problems. Changing names can be misleading for the carer. A child who suffered spastic colon many years ago now has the name of IBS. Many people years ago did not know of spastic colon but a growing number are understanding of the name IBS. Changing names does not change the symptoms nor does change treatment. A lot of name changes may help some to side step a stigma label but it can cause pain for a great deal of people outside of the sufferer. Years ago I had never heard of BPD but now with the symptoms being made available perhaps we can be a help instead of feeling guilty. The GP's may have some of the warning signs in their arsenal but if the sufferer does not inform the GP then how is he able to get the diagnosis right. We have to start working TOGETHER. We have to also be non-judgemental, with the condition having such a high suicide rate the sufferers life is at stake.

BPD from the outside. part 1

My daughter has been showing 6 out of 9 of the symptoms of BPD for many years. Impulsivity, anger, splitting and so forth. With so much going on with a person who has mental issues the family can feel like the H-bomb has been dropped, then weeks or days later things calm down. With the fact that many suffer in silence help can and does go amiss. Is that intentional? No. As parents we want the best for our family and sometimes we do not see, literally, the harm that is unfolding. Many can say that they can see the path that the BPD sufferer has been taking. These experts have to see that they are the experts because they have learnt to recognise the symptoms. We by-standers have to learn from others sometimes years later from websites like this. Parents, lovers and friends are not always with the sufferer 24 hours a day so they have to try and put the puzzle together without an instruction manual. Do parents feel as though they are guilty for the problem? Yes they do.

Everything in this article "clicked"

Reading over this article, I was astounded that all the issues I have been experiencing for the past 6 years were just explained within a few paragraphs on a website. I was emotionally abused from age 5 to age 16, started cutting when I was 16, and since have started having promiscuous sex with random people. I sleep with them, then never call them again- that way, they can't reject me. I have attempted suicide a couple of times- but have been able to avoid being noticed and being hospitalized. I have been to a couple of psychiatrists, who diagnosed me with ADHD and "Adjustment disorder". I constantly feel like everything is unreal and am looking through a window at myself. I'm trying to find help, but am broke, and unsure of where to get free/inexpensive assistance.
—Guest Katie

Trying to help myself

I was raised in an abusive household where I could never communicate feelings with my parents. Also, I was made fun of by other kids in school for acting different. I wasn't really blessed with the social skill that other children had, so I withdrew into my own world. After a while, I didn't even relate to other people. I felt like an outside observer looking in. In college, I had a few turbulent relationships. I would have so many mood swings a day...I would feel in love with a boyfriend, then I would find ways to devaluate him and I would hate him and plan ways to leave him, then I would get depressed and think about killing myself...then my depression would vanish and I would feel empty. At times I would get set off by something small like a feeling that my boyfriend was ignoring me, then I would feel so enraged that I would barely be able to control my temper. I have broken things, physically attacked people, and attempted suicide. Now I am trying to turn my life around.
—Guest what can i do

How Do You Describe Your Symptoms?

I am very sexually competitive. I befriend women only to sleep with the ex and current boyfriends or husbands. I do this to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and so forth. I get men to give me large gifts of money, cash so there is no paper trail and then I dump them so I do not have to work fulltime. When they ask for their money back after I have tricked them, I call the police and get restraining orders out on them. I do that to women who get in my face and tell me off. I don't care if I ruin them! I have had problems with drugs and alcohol all my adult life. "I get into my bottles" of wine and then call men I think have dumped me late at night and threaten to kill myself so they come over and sleep with me, then I dump them. I do not care that I gave up custody of my only child a son to my ex who caught me sleeping with my brother, it gives me freedom to do what I do best. Deep down I do hate myself even though outwardly I act like all I love is myself.

It Feels Like Constant Fear

I have been diagnosed with BPD for over 10 years now. When I am experiencing symptoms, I feel very scared. Like almost petrified that no one loves me. It is so lonely and dark. It feels out of control and everything starts spinning. I have irrational thoughts about people not liking me and then it turns into self hate and then the cutting. I have been living a functioning life without medication for some time, but still have "down days." It feels like everyone is against me. My fear of being alone can be compared to that of people fearing heights or snakes or other more common irrational fears. My irrational fear is the judgment of others. I fear they will deem me not good enough and thus leave. Then it turns to self hate and the only thing that feels better is to cut. It is a release of emotion that nothing else can compare to. I have done drugs, counseling, exercise, reading, etc. God is about the only thing that has even close to the same calm
—Guest Tara

Always been the odd one

Normal life? What's normal? I never knew. It's the grace of God that I have an amazing husband who loves me. I have good things in my life, but as far as I can remember, I've been the odd one, the strange one, never knew who I was, never knew how to live and felt oppressed, not having a sense of self or how to relate to others. And consequently, that led to people taking advantage of me and rejecting me. I would love to be able to forget about my past, but there are days when I relive all the crazy things I have been through over and over again. I know that the abundant life is NOT torment, yet how to get out of it is another matter. I'm so tired of the mental roadblocks, the feeling lost and abandoned, the fear that tries to swallow up my life.

It's Better Knowing I'm Not the Only One

I'm not sure what it is, but somehow I knew in early childhood I was different from the other kids. Being raised by a narcissistic parent I now realize puts me in a high risk category. One thing going for me was a higher IQ and being reflective, I think I have a higher level of self awareness than some. Sometimes I feel like I'm not "real". I feel everything, but sometimes nothing at all. I wish I could let my knowledge dictate my behaviors instead of whatever fickle feeling/emotion I am experiencing at the moment. I have been diagnosed with ADHD, major depression, IBS and I used to have anxiety attacks. I just heard of BPD 2 yrs ago, and I cried after I wasn't in front of people. I knew that was essentially an underlying issue. Literally everything on the symptom list applied to me, but I am able to fake reasonable normalcy in public. I'm too scared to tell a counselor I think I have this, but I am fundamentally flawed. It's better than it used to be.
—Guest Mel Adjusted

Messed up

I haven't gotten any diagnosis, but I think I might have bpd. I've always, been a bit "different" and I've had issues with angst and depression for as long as I can remember. But I've always had friends and been fairly outgoing. I might have had arguments with people, but I was never angry, mostly happy and well functioning. In my late teens I started taking drugs and drank a lot, got all new friends and I think my personality changed a lot, I started getting social phobias, anxiety paranoia and all that stuff. I started to lose control of my identity, I would kinda "mirror" people because I didn't really know who i was. Fast forward to now I'm 25. I'm angry most of the time, my moods can change in a second for no apparent reason, from being "jolly" to wanting to kill myself and everyone else. All of my social interactions seems strained. I constantly evaluate everyone around me, so people can be okay one day, and the next I think they're horrible human beings.
—Guest Dapper

Snapped out

I struggle with intense changes in mood, feelings of emptiness, difficulty with transitions, and general distrust and paranoia. I am so much better than I used to be. In high school there were a lot of grounding factors, mostly that living with my parents and being a very dedicated student prevent even my most intense relationships from throwing my life totally off balance. In college it changed. I though relationships gave me a home and safety. In reality, I was using people and allowing them to use me. These relationships were dependent and turbulent. This climaxed with the ultimate borderline relationship. At first, I was "the CLINGER" and we were best friends and meant everything to each other. We were both so damaged, I thought he would never leave me. However, we were never "in a relationship" because I was confused about my sexuality and was dating women. When my "best friend" started reciprocating interest in one of his classmates, I moved into the "HATER" phase.
—Guest Trying

my life

my real dad beat me up for the first 4 years of my life and every day i live with the fact that every girl i get with i push away and i now what im doin but i cant stop it. im mad one min and happy the next i yell at every one around me for no reson at all its hard liven with what we have but i live day by day and i try to kill myself 4 weeks ago because my wife left me for some other guy i feel so dead inside nowing that she did this to me and im tryin to move on
—Guest duster

Ouch that hurts

The bit about feeling like an alien really hit home with me. I remember being 11 years old, isolated in rural IN and unable to make friends. I told the teacher that I felt like an alien. It has gotten worse over the years (I'm 43 now) and I was diagnosed with depression and BPD in 1991. I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2002 and the BPD was still present. I too am an all or nothing type person, but I trust my husband even though sometimes I think he is too controlling of me. In saner moments, I realize he is handling the finances and such for my own good. I have been guilty of going on spending sprees before and of binge eating. My emotions are a roller coaster even though I am seeing a psychiatrist every three months. My meds help but they don't take away the pain completely. I wish I could work but I can't so now I am a homemaker and I feel like I am a very bad one. My family is trying to help and so far they have been my lifeline.
—Guest Loremaster


I have been living with severe depression, low confidence, fear, anger, self-harm, self-hate, loneliness, emptiness, and pain. I even have severe panic attacks and basically self destruct when I have to go out in public. I have suffered in silence with all of this for well over 5 years (since I was 12) and I go through the same amount of pain every day. I have only just started my long term treatment with a physiologist yet I feel like I will never be normal or really know who I am, instead I have spent the last 5 years putting a smile on my face and pretending I'm okay. I have to go to college were I don't fit in on a course I picked just to look 'normal' and I experience extreme paranoia, anxiety, pain, suicide thoughts every minute I'm in college but i am trying to lead a 'fake' normality to seem normal to other people. I ask my self other and other why I am here and yet I don't know there is no place for me in this world. I just don't fit... i am invisible and dead inside.
—Guest confused

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