A Work In Progress: The Road to Recovery

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    People with Borderline Personality Disorder never recover; if they do, they never really had Borderline Personality Disorder. I cannot tell people how many times I have read that and heard that. I have come across research studies that followed people with the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and they have shown otherwise. At the end of a six year period around 70% of people with the BPD diagnosis, that actively worked on recovery, did not meet the criteria for BPD anymore. I am one of those people that actively work toward recovery.

    First, I do receive treatment--I do counseling. I personally do not receive formal Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which is considered the best treatment for BPD. However, I practice the principles from it. I am very mindful about how I come across to others (I mentally evaluate conversations that I have/had). I try and stay positive, but allow myself to cry and vent when I need to.

    Second, I surround myself with people and friends that I can be open and honest about my diagnosis and they still like me and are supportive. That goes a long way, especially in keeping a positive outlook on life.

    Third, I get involved. I am involved with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) which is a very positive organization that realizes the importance of utilizing people with a mental illness to educate the public on mental illness and advocate for themselves and others living with a mental illness. I not only involve myself with organizations dealing with mental illness, but other organizations of interest. I do it not only help my community but widen my social circle, so if I need someone (remember BPD can bring feelings of needing to be with someone), I do not pick the same person (that can wear a person down). I am involving myself with an activity, so I am not getting bored and lonely.

    Fourth, I stay on a very strict schedule and routine. I wake up about the same time every morning--whether I have to get something done or not. I try and do thing as soon as they need to be done. It helps with the anxiety. I am not sure if many people are aware of why Borderline Personality Disorder is called "Borderline"--it was originally a borderline between psychosis and neurosis/being neurotic. Neurotic can mean many things; however, the basis for it is being marked by anxiety. I also have a planner that I write everything down in.

    The aforementioned things are how I stay on track towards recovery. I probably will not ever consider myself completely recovered because I could slip back into old behaviors.

    If anyone else has any tips on how they deal with BPD is a positive manner, please share.
    pinkiepieRN, marydc, TXRN2, and 4 others like this.
  2. 6 Comments so far...

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    I just learned something I didn't know before---how 'borderline' came to be called that. I think if more people knew this, the diagnosis wouldn't sound so awful and the stigma perhaps not as bad.

    The DSM-V that's coming out soon changes the language to Emotional Dysregulation Disorder, or so I've heard. How do you feel about this change? To me, it sounds less threatening, but I don't have BPD so I can't judge.

    Thank you for this informative article!
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    Yeah. The term neurosis is actually not used anymore in the psych field. It is now termed anxiety disorders (OCD, GAD, etc.) The psychosis from BPD often comes from stress--if under a lot of stress, people with BPD can dissociate and actually start to hallucinate.

    I don't mind Emotional Dysregulation Disorder; however, I have also heard that they have thought about the name Emotionally Unstable Disorder--if they called it that, I would not tell people I have that. I would call it BPD, still. That makes it sound even worse. Like we will go off on anyone and everyone. That is not true.
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    It's great that you've posted this, especially about therapy reducing symptoms to a near undetectable level. For people who need to see concrete signs of improvement, like lab values and such, this is a start. I'm certainly not saying that just because outcomes may not always be clearly measurable doesn't make a disorder more or less real. I am glad we are moving towards showing this information in science.

    There was a TED talk recently about how most of the diseases with better outcomes now are a result of earlier detection and intervention. We are working towards being able to show physical brain and chemical differences and working towards a more evidence based treatment modality.

    I know good things about DBT and attended a few group therapy session based in DBT. With mental illness (and anything really), we have to be our own advocates for change and treatment!
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    Therapy + medications = a much better outcome for many.

    It's too bad that most psychiatrists no longer have time to do therapy---it's usually a 15-minute med check three or four times per year, then you have to go to someone else for therapy. I'm lucky in that my doctor does both and is available for 60-minute sessions; he uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which is a popular type for people with mood disorders. This teaches patients to replace maladaptive thinking patterns with healthier ones; a common theme in my own therapy is to stop owning other peoples' issues and to treat myself with the same compassion with which I treat my patients.

    For personality disorders, DBT is used more often. It would be interesting to learn more about it from members who are going through or have been through it. Anyone care to share?
    pinkiepieRN likes this.
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    I have a lovely therapist that I "click" with and actually declined therapy with my former psychiatrist. Yeah, hearing from someone who has had formal DBT would be nice.
    pinkiepieRN and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    Had a slightly modified form of DBT when I was sixteen. (I think there's a formal teen DBT course now.) Group, individual, even the 24/7 access to my therapist if needed. it helped with my more impulsive behaviors and the idea of radical acceptance blew my mind although I wasn't able to use it in any meaningful way r/t my anorexia for several more years. Ultimately I think what helped best was the intensity of both the therapy and the relationships I developed displaced the intensity of my emotions and behaviors around my emotions. Kinda like how a lot of drunks go to meetings to help fill time that they'd otherwise be drinking.
    VivaLasViejas and pinkiepieRN like this.


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