Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Description of BPD

These two videos provide a good description of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Remember that not all nine criteria need to be present to warrant a psychiatrist's diagnosis of BPD.

I have a few comments to add. When the vlogger discusses impulsive and self-sabotaging behavior, she mentions the usual suspects, like reckless promiscuity and gambling. Another behavior that is seldom cited, but could also equally qualify, is self-described "video-game addiction." This could involve playing an online video game like World of Warcraft for hours and hours on end (e.g., 18 consecutive hours) at the expense of necessary life activities.

Also, when the vlogger discusses anger, what is mentioned is the extreme exhibition of aggression. That has been documented in diagnosed cases of BPD, but it is not the only form of intense anger that can be felt by someone with BPD. What is also possible is that the person with BPD holds everything inward and refrains from expressing the aggression, but nevertheless feels it on the inside. Anger toward another person can manifest in an extreme withdrawal of affection from that person. This phenomenon still fits the "intense, inappropriate anger" criterion for BPD. It comes with what is called "the quiet version of BPD."

Anyhow, I find these videos helpful and recommend them.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

An Announcement About the Posts on BPD

I originally didn't want my postings about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) to appear on this blog. Later I might take these postings and put them in "draft" mode, effectively removing them from public viewing on this blog. However, those same postings will remain visible at my other blog, "Letters to Derna," over here. That is where I plan on keeping them.

Additional Comments on Borderline Personality Disorder

This blog post won't be the usual integrated essay that I normally write. It is just a series of comments pertaining to BPD.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD, or "body dysmorphia") is a condition in which the sufferer frequently feels a very painful or disorientating sense of alienation from one's own natural-born physical features. One can look in the mirror and think, "Who is that? This is wrong. This is all wrong." One can even see oneself as ugly, no matter how much others assure one that one is the opposite of ugly.

When 70 patients diagnosed with BPD were surveyed, 54.3 percent of them reported also having Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Gender Identity Confusion
Moreover, this other survey was given to both patients diagnosed with BPD and psychotherapy patients not diagnosed with any personality disorder.

The applicability of various categories of identity confusion to their own lives was rated on a scale of 1-7, 1 meaning hardly applicable.

Gender identity confusion refers to frequent and distressing uncertainty over which gender one wants to be. This does not refer to someone being born one sex and always or even consistently desiring to be the opposite sex. Rather, gender identity confusion refers to persistent indecision on the matter.

When it comes to the prevalence of gender identity confusion, the average of the answers for the BPD patients was 2.42, while the average of the answers for the psychotherapy-patients-not​-diagnosed-with-any-person​ality-disorder was 1.66. That means that the prevalence of gender identity confusion is low for both groups. However, note that this suggests that those with BPD are 45 percent likelier to experience gender identity confusion than the general population.

Indecision on Sexual Orientation (Same Survey)
Moreover, the presence of uncertainty about one's own sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual) is low for both those with BPD and those who do not have it. However, the survey suggests that those with BPD are about 31 percent likelier to have this uncertainty than those without BPD.

YouTube Cartoon About BPD Symptoms
Here is an eccentric cartoon on YouTube that describes some of the symptoms.

Concluding Remarks
Naturally, there is nothing inherently wrong -- in either the psychological or moral sense -- about experiencing uncertainty about one's gender identity or sexual orientation. Nor should one feel ashamed about having body dysmorphia.

To the degree that one is distressed by having any of these conditions, a return to psychiatric care can be very beneficial. It's worth it. :'-)

An Announcement About This and Other Posts About BPD on This Blog
I originally didn't want my postings about BPD to appear on this blog. Later I might take these postings and put them in "draft" mode, effectively removing them from public viewing on this blog. However, those same postings will remain visible at my other blog, "Letters to Derna," over here. That is where I plan on keeping them.

UPDATE from Wednesday, October 19, 2011: On my Facebook page about BPD, I had a helpful exchange with someone back on March 16, 2011, on the subjects of Borderline Personality Disorder, gender identity confusion, and confusion on sexual orientation. That specific exchange is over here. Of course, it is important to bear in mind that someone confused over gender identity is not necessarily undecided on sexual orientation, and someone undecided on sexual orientation is not necessarily confused about gender identity. Moreover, someone can have BPD and not be confused in either area.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Groundhog Day Curse Can Be Broken

Stuart K. Hayashi

In 1994, Bill Murray starred in the excellent comedic fantasy Groundhog Day. In the movie, Murray's character is cursed to keep re-living the same day, February 2, over and over again. When he wakes up every day, it's February 2 and everyone acts exactly the same. Only Murray is aware that the same disastrous events are repeating.

Murray's character is not a bad person (though some people, who do not understand him, tell him that he is bitchy); he doesn't seek to hurt anyone. However, he is caught in a dysfunctional behavioral pattern that is emotionally damaging to both himself and others. Fortunately, he finally comes to understand that he does have control over his own choices. Rather than be changed by external factors impinging upon him, Murray makes a long-term commitment to changing for the better -- choosing to celebrate life and sunny happiness. By making better choices, he is able to break the curse and end the time loop.

A similar pattern sometimes occurs with those experiencing undiagnosed, currently-untreated Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). One with this condition can continue a pattern of anxious attachment and self-sabotage, particularly in matters of love and relationships. It starts off so happy, but then one allows one's insecurities and emotional instability to sabotage it. One can then feel so vulnerable to heartbreak that one becomes too debilitated for the relationship to progress to the next stage. Then one can emotionally withdraw from the current partner while turning a lot of attention to some other object of fixation. The process can repeat itself.

The pattern of self-sabotage can change subsequent to someone strongly choosing to change it. This does not happen overnight, of course; it is a progression of baby steps to which one maintains commitment. In the case of someone with undiagnosed, currently-untreated BPD, I do not think this can be done by sheer will alone; it also requires guidance from an expert -- a psychiatric professional. It involves training in gaining a stable sense of identity. One promising sort of treatment is Jeffrey Young's Schema Therapy.

To enter -- or return to -- psychiatric care is not easy. Nor is it easy to look for a proper diagnosis. All this takes a lot of time, energy, and work. The therapy sessions can stir up a lot of unpleasant emotions and memories. It may initially seem easier to try to repress and evade those feelings and memories. Such an evasion is untenable in the long run; one can only vanquish those haunters-of-the-mind by confronting them with the guidance of a mental health expert. In the end, truly lasting happiness can result; loving and trusting relationships can be maintained. In the end, it is worth it. What is at stake is whether one will continue living the rest of one's life in insecurity and self-image instability, or find peace with oneself and others. It is a life-saving decision. Such happiness is the single most important project or enterprise one can work on. :'-) <3

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BPD Treatments on Oahu

Stuart K. Hayashi

Psychology Today has a website that helps readers search for therapists in their region who are specialized in treating their particular condition. I ran such a search for Oahu. To my chagrin, there is only one psychotherapist in Honolulu who lists herself as being able to treat BPD (see here). I wish there was a whole lot of psychotherapists competing to treat BPD patients. The one therapist listed also treats issues relating to gender identity.