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    The devastating impact of borderline personality disorder: The mental illness that makes you feel empty, angry and suicidal

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    Do you often feel like you don’t know who you are or what you want? Do you have intense and unstable relationships that swing from love to hate? Do you fear being alone or abandoned by others? Do you act on impulse and do things that you regret later? Do you harm yourself or think about ending your life?

    If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, you may have borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is a mental illness that affects how you think, feel and behave. It can make your life a living hell and ruin your relationships with others.

    grayscale photo of person's back

    BPD is not your fault. It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors that are beyond your control. Some of the factors that may contribute to BPD are:

    • Having a family member with BPD or another mental illness

    • Experiencing trauma, abuse or neglect in childhood

    • Having a stressful or chaotic upbringing

    • Having brain abnormalities that affect your emotions and impulses

    BPD is not a hopeless condition. There are treatments that can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. The main treatment for BPD is psychotherapy, which is a type of counseling that helps you understand yourself and your emotions better. Psychotherapy can also teach you skills to cope with stress, regulate your emotions, and improve your relationships.

    One of the most effective forms of psychotherapy for BPD is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT is a specialized therapy that helps you balance acceptance and change. DBT teaches you four sets of skills:

    • Mindfulness: Being aware of the present moment without judgment

    • Distress tolerance: Dealing with difficult situations without making them worse

    • Emotion regulation: Identifying and managing your emotions in healthy ways

    • Interpersonal effectiveness: Communicating and interacting with others effectively

    In addition to psychotherapy, medication can also help some people with BPD. Medication can reduce symptoms such as depression, anxiety, anger and impulsivity. Some of the medications that may be prescribed for BPD are antidepressants, antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. However, medication alone is not enough to treat BPD. It should be used along with psychotherapy and self-care.

    Self-care is vital for people with BPD to cope with their condition. Self-care means taking care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Some of the ways to practice self-care are:

    a man holds his head while sitting on a sofa

    • Joining a support group where you can share your experiences and feelings with others who understand

    • Trying out new hobbies or activities that make you happy and fulfilled
    • Developing and maintaining healthy social relationships with people who respect and support you

    • Seeking help when you need it from friends, family or professionals

    BPD affects about 1.6% of adults in the U.S., according to the NIMH.

    However, many people with BPD are not diagnosed or are misdiagnosed with other mental disorders. This can delay treatment and worsen outcomes.

    BPD can have serious consequences if left untreated. People with BPD have a higher risk of self-harm and suicide than the general population. They may also suffer from other mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and antisocial personality disorder.

    If you have BPD and are thinking of harming yourself or attempting suicide, please get help immediately. You can call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741.

    BPD is a complex and stigmatized disorder that affects millions of people. It can cause immense pain and suffering for those who have it and their loved ones. However, there is hope for recovery and a better life for people with BPD. With proper diagnosis, treatment and support, they can learn to live satisfying lives.

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