Monday, December 29, 2008


Okay, so here’s a theory. My mother and my grandmother have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). My niece will probably be diagnosed with it when she is old enough to be. This is obviously a brain disorder that runs in the family. My sisters and I all exhibit symptoms of the disorder, whether from being raised by my mother or because we have a little bit of it in our brains too. Doesn’t it make sense that we would? Whether it came from genetic or environmental factors, it’s there. It needs attention. The medical world tells me it’s treatable. My mother is receiving counseling and treatment, but all I’m doing for me is taking medications that offer some relief and give me some coping skills. What about the root of the problem? Here’s what I’m talking about:

As quoted from the DSM-IV, the first criterion of BPD indicates "frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5."

"Individuals with BPD make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition, and behavior. These individuals are very sensitive to environmental circumstances. They experience intense abandonment fears and inappropriate anger even when faced with a realistic time-limited separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans (e.g. sudden despair in reaction to a clinician’s announcing the end of the hour; panic or fury when someone important to them is just a few minutes late or must cancel an appointment)."

Take Thursday night, for instance. I went over to MJ’s house to see her Christmas presents. I wasn’t completely comfortable there (I never really am, but I can put on a good face), but I enjoyed the short visit, I saw that they were preparing for dinner and I excused myself. As soon as I was outside, I just felt this overwhelming sadness. I felt empty. I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to stay, with a friend who has detached from me and with a family where I don’t feel welcome. Why? I couldn’t really figure it out.

So I don’t have BPD in all its severity, but maybe I experience some of its effects. I do fear abandonment, whatever that may mean in my specific experience. I don’t like it when I have to go separate ways from someone I love. I fight it, I try to deny it, I reluctantly deal with it, but my emotions are affected by it. I hold onto people with white knuckles, or I refuse to get close to them at all. Is this the behavior of someone with a normally functioning brain?

1 comment:

  1. I think you just want to love and feel loved back. Nothing is wrong with that! Nothing is "wrong" with you!


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