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  • Writer's pictureRebecca

The Symptoms and Signs you may have BPD: My Experience.

Updated: Feb 7

One of the reasons Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and other similar acute mental disorders/illnesses are so hard to diagnose is because it can take a psychiatrist time to get to know you properly to really be able to pinpoint exactly what your condition is, although as it becomes more and better understood, the symptoms of BPD are becoming more easily identified and hence the condition more accurately diagnosed.


However, misdiagnoses do remain somewhat prevalent, yet that time when you finally get a BPD diagnosis it can suddenly feel as though it explains everything about yourself and your mind too – you WILL know if it is correct. Whether you feel distraught, liberated, scared, excited, or something else entirely, THAT is the emotion you need to feel and express in that moment. And then it’s time to get thinking about what to do…


Borderline Personality Disorder - BPD symptons

Whilst I offer NLP online therapy and also work as an NLP life coach, today I just want to share my story of living with BPD, with you.


When I was diagnosed officially with BPD (having been previously suspected as being Bipolar – they did not specify which type), it was like one of those rumbles from a stunning firework display with all the different sounds and noises permeating through my head. I had never met with this particular psychiatrist before and I would never see him again. But he had clearly spent a long time reading up about me and for that I love this man. I sat in his room and listened. He said “some of these may apply to you and some may not”… they ALL did and his list was LONG.


For you though I’m going to take nine of the ‘most common’ symptoms of BPD, and share with you my personal experience of each. It’s my hope that if you’re here and perhaps unsure about yourself, or your diagnosis (or lack of an existence of one), that you may be able to either relate, or find some solace and hope knowing that ‘things’ can be overcome, however unmanageable or outright terrifying they may feel in this exact moment.


Before I start, I have to give a shout out to HelpGuide.org. They feature on my resources page, but specifically I took most of the following symptoms for this list from a great article on their site - adding in of course my honest and true, ‘lived’ experiences for each (I’ll link to their article at the bottom).


For now, If you are pondering or ruminating over the idea you or someone you know may have BPD (or EUPD – they are the same thing), here is my lived experience:


Fear of Abandonment.

People with BPD are often terrified of being left alone which triggers feelings of abandonment, whether this is rational or not.

Through a lot of therapy (including NLP Therapy), I can connect the beginning of this right back to being a baby because I was needy - and it simply is/was not possible to be attached to my mother 24/7. A salient example of displaying signs of this fear for me later in life is that years ago, whenever my fiancée at the time (my ex) would go away/abroad for business – I would lose all self-control and any connection to my rational mind as I felt so terribly alone and discarded. One time he even had to cancel his trip to come to the hospital I had ended up in, only to discover I had escaped.


Being left alone still haunts me but I can do it if I train my mind and prepare myself. Going back to childhood and being the younger sibling also meant that when my sister moved to university, my world crumbled – the school, my parents, even the doctor knew this behaviour was not quite normal, but no-one at the time could put their finger on it.


Unstable Relationships

For me, I could not find a boyfriend that would stay around longer than two weeks or later on a month. I finally found love and spent 2 and a half years with my ex fiancée. I loved him dearly but looking back, and now realising what an actual relationship is, it was chaotic, toxic and fuelled mostly by my BPD and regular drinking. Our arguments were not at all normal, but I did not know what normal was – no one else had ever tried to stay with me before and I did some terrible things. BPD can annunciate and magnify even the smallest of emotions to the point where it can become a rampage, and this, just in itself can causes many a BPD ‘sufferer’ a plethora of difficulties maintaining stable relationships. Every little thing, disagreement, look, touch or even a way I’m cuddled could turn sharply into a storm so strong, it would take days to dissipate.


I met my now husband in June 2017 (the same month I was diagnosed with BPD). He had a rollercoaster ahead of him with my BPD yet we worked hard, together and for many years we have been amazingly stable and have two children, a dog, a home and we are also the best of friends.


Unstable relationships, often a consequence of un-treated BPD.


Impulsive, Self-destructive Behaviours

For those with BPD, acting on impulse is essentially using your emotional mind while your rational mind remains dormant. This isn’t a conscious decision yet in that moment you become utterly consumed and will likely not realise until you either later look back and reflect or someone else tells you.


I once drove my husband’s car into the middle of nowhere, parked it up, walked for a long time through a farmer’s field and stumbled upon a village, bought vodka, drank it straight then called him in the middle of his work day just to tell him. He got a taxi to this village and then the taxi had to help us find the car. We laugh about this now but this is serious stuff if you’re in the midst of it. There were a number of hairy moments for me, especially walking down a country lane into oncoming traffic. And speaking of traffic, I also once jumped out of the passenger side of a car, on a busy road, whilst it was still moving.


Unclear or shifting self-image

Now, this symptom can be very confusing and even more so for the people around you. In your mind you may first love yourself, then you hate yourself, then you want to die, then you want to go and see a plastic surgeon, then you want to go out and show off how amazing you are and how great you look and you’re back on top of the world and then oh, you’re suicidal again as you’re not good enough and will never be enough. BPD can be consuming in this way, it mixes emotions with thought and creates any number of contradictions along the way, which are both mentally tiring and ultimately self-defeating. This is how it has been for me, a complete rollercoaster and menagerie of confusion, self-doubt and loathing.


Throughout my life, one moment I’ve been the life of the party, say at a nightclub, the next, crumpled in a corner hating myself and wishing I were dead (say, the nightclub toilets). To you – that may be what you are just used to in your head. So, I would ask those who are close to you and spend the most time with you and see if they notice this about you.


Slef image plays an important role in overcoming BPD


Self-Harm

This is unfortunately, quite a common symptom. I’ve never cut, or burned myself on purpose (which for many acts as a catalyst to ‘take the pain away’ from one place – like the mind, and shift it to another), but instead it manifested itself in two very serious suicide attempts as well as the more ‘constant’ of drinking so much each day I would black-out.


Although Self-harm alone can be linked to any number of psychological nuances, in combination with others on this list, it's rare to have BPD without some modicum of self-harm attached.


Extreme Emotional Swings

Again, if these are a norm for you or you do not realise that they are extreme, it is those close to you that you need to ask – they must be honest about this. When I used to have the bigger emotional swings, I would scream so loud, cry so hard and feel like I wanted to rip all my hair or pull all my teeth out/bite my lips so hard they would cease to be lips. Ten minutes later, I’d be skipping along out to the shops to tell someone about how sad I felt earlier and how great I feel now and what a lovely day it was. Furthermore, the lines between love and hate used to become extremely blurred for me and it was often the people I loved the most that I ended up directing the most hate towards and believe me, I was (and likely still am) capable of saying (and doing) some extremely hurtful/hateful things when I'm caught in a moment This, is BPD.


Emotional swings. From jumping for joy to the lowest of lows

Chronic Feelings of Emptiness

I want to differentiate this from the symptoms of unfettered loneliness and abandonment as they are most definitely different and worthy of their own ‘space’.

This one is harder to articulate, but it’s as if there is a deep internal void that can never be filled, no matter what you try, even if you ‘believe’ something can fill that void, once you get to that point, it often won’t be and that in itself can be self-destructive as it means you’re constantly chasing the impossible as opposed to living in the present. The ‘void’ acts as a reflection of self-worth.


In my example, I wanted children my ENTIRE life. When my first little one was born and my void was not filled, I actually became more and more unwell until 3 months into her little life, I was admitted to The Priory. I met others with the void that does not fill – nothing ever being enough. One day in the last two years, at some point, that void filled, and I have not felt emptiness since. I ‘think’ that a part of it is coming to an acceptance that living with a void, can in fact become the first piece in the puzzle of the solution to filling/or forgetting about it. Maybe it will come back, maybe it won’t but if I can do it, so can you.


Explosive Anger

Because BPD heightens or adds extremities all your emotions, it means that when one of your triggers happens and you switch into anger – IT EXPLODES. For me, rudeness or any kind of percieved injustice, no matter how ‘minor’ as compared to the ‘norm’ really, really triggered me (and to some extent, still does). I used to scream down the phone or in person to people. Once, I screamed to my bank on the phone that I was going to kill myself (I did not feel suicidal – I was angry). I hung up the phone and went to sleep then suddenly, around 15-20 police officers with rifles had surrounded the house and 2 had managed to break into a window. All to stop me from killing myself… which I had never actually intended to do.


Explosive anger is one of the most salient symptons of BPD

Feeling Suspicious or Out of Touch with Reality

This is a symptom or sign that could relate to many mental health related conditions or issues, but if you show many other symptoms in this list too then it’s more likely (but not guaranteed) to relate to having BPD. I have been suspicious in the past that I have fully believed that those flies with the green/blue shell are actually government flies, sent to spy on me (perfectly rational, right?). Another is when my then partner (now husband) went off to a wedding one-time to be a groomsman, I was convinced that rather than going to be there for one of his best friends, that he actually went to sleep with the bridesmaids, despite never giving me any inclination to think that he would ever betray my trust. Safe to say, he didn’t really end up enjoying himself much (I’ll leave it to you to figure out why…oh, BPD).


On the flip-side, I’ve not really experienced being out of touch with reality apart from when I’ve been incredibly drunk but, I wanted to keep this example to show you that you don’t have to have all of the symptoms to be considered to have BPD yourself.


And Finally

Well, firstly, if you’ve made it this far then give yourself a pat on the back!

I hope this helps and feel free to giggle at some of my stories. They are all true, they happened but I am in a good place now and let’s face it – they’re funny (now)! There are of course many other signs or symptoms but these should be enough to know whether you want to speak to a psychiatrist to see if you can get a diagnosis or otherwise.


Alternatively, if you think some one on one NLP online therapy could help, then feel free to book in for a free call. It'll last no longer than 30 minutes and is simply to meet, chat and figure out if we’re right for each other.





Oh, and here’s the link to the article I mentioned at the beginning: CLICK HERE


For now, I wish you well,


Rebecca x

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