Experience with Borderline Pers. Disorder?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by justjanelle, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    DD (18 y.o.)has just been diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and Borderline Personality Disorder. (plus she has anxiety attacks, an eating disorder, and has been cutting herself for 2 or 3 years). She began treatment with a new counselor and a psychiatrist just last week and they are agreed on the diagnosis.

    Actually, this may be a good thing because after several years of drama we finally have something to grab onto and begin to treat -- DH believed it was all behavioral before and that with proper discipline she could control these behaviors. I knew it wasn't purely behavioral, but nothing we as a family, or 2 previous counselors did seemed to help.

    After DD got the diagnosis, I read up on BPD on Wikipedia, and as I read I just thought to myself, "YES. This is my DD!" I wish it hadn't taken so long to figure it out.

    I wondered if anyone here had any experience with the best ways we, as her family, can help her with these conditions. I mean, in addition to getting her to the psychiatrist and counselor on a regular basis. Maybe there's a book you could recommend? Or something from personal experience?

    She has also recently admitted that she has an eating disorder, which she has denied before (she's 5 ft. 7 in. and weighs 110 pounds). Does anyone have any advice on that? I'd like to know things like whether it's better to encourage her to eat, to ignore what she does/doesn't eat, to allow her or not to allow her to weigh herself, etc.

    Of course, I'll be trying to make an appointment with her counselor separately to get his viewpoint on this, but so many people here are so knowledgeable about so many medical issues I just hoped to get a little insight.



    [This Message was Edited on 01/30/2007]
  2. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    Unfortunately, I do have experience with this. My daughter's been dx with this although I'm not so sure of the diagnosis. I'm leaning towards schizophrenia...

    Mine is also a cutter although she hasn't had a bad episode of it since May. She cut one time recently in Dec, thinking the 'devil' would leave her alone if she did this for him.

    Her age is a huge problem and we're now facing the possiblility of trying to take over guardianship of my daughter although we just saw a new psych who does not agree with us on this subject. (Our GP of almost 4 years does though)

    However, my daughter isn't capable of living like an adult, she's been back home with us for almost a year now.
    She isn't capable of taking care of herself, ...she can't handle any more that what she already does.

    A recent med changed has helped with the cutting, TG, because when my daughter did it, it was extensive. (Although the recent slip was very minor in comparison)

    There are some good books on BPD, "Stop walking on Eggshells" is one although I tend to think these books lead the family to believe that the person has control of more of their actions than they actually do have.

    Advice.....I've learned so much this past year since she's been back home. I once used to scold her for not cleaning the dishes properly (as a teen) yet now I see that she's just not really capable. She has so much going on in her head....little things like dirty dishes just slip right by her.

    I do her laundry because she thinks the devil lives downstairs near the laundry room. I used to think she was just being lazy.

    Find out what your (daughter's?) behaviors mean. Then you can pick and choose which ones to worry about and which one's you can deal with.

    I'd rather do my daughter's laundry than put her through the hell she must feel trying to conquer her fears of the 'devil' downstairs.

    Do you know what caused your daughter's illness? Was she abused as a child? Most are/were, mine included. It was in a before and after school program when she was 5 years old.

    Your daughter will need to sign you in for information at the doc's offices. You need this, otherwise the privacy issues come up and you won't have a leg to stand on when she needs help.

    My daughter's docs kept trying to change medications and we went through months of hell with this and the reactions she had to these meds. Gabapentin had her hallucinating badly, both audio and visual. Resperadol and Wellbutrin too.

    Keep her med compliant if you can. I do my daughter's medications up each week in weekly reminder plastic cases and they stay on my kitchen counter. That way I can check to see if she's taken them, although I usually remind her every day.

    Keep her doc appt compliant too if you can. That's one thing my daughter won't do on her own. She won't call for an appt because since she hears voices, talking on the phone is difficult for her when she doesn't know who's going to be on the other end of the line. (see what I mean about finding out the "why's" of the behaviors??)

    Find out if your daughter needs an AIDS test, one of the ramifications of this illness is that they don't care about their bodies and taking care to prevent sexually transmitted diseases is NOT high on their priority lists. I also had my daughter put on birth control again since using condoms wasn't high on her list of things to do. A baby would almost be a tragedy....

    I'll probably think of more things later, but for the moment, I think it's enough for now.


    Nancy B
  3. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    for your insight.

    We're feeling overwhelmed right now, but also for the first time in a long time somewhat hopeful that with this new diagnosis she can make some improvement.

    The whole family has been through the wringer with this, even though my daughter has been coping the best she can. It's heart-wrenching to see such a bright, talented pretty girl go through such a terrible thing. And the previous counselors seemed to focus only on therapy/meds for depression and anxiety, which did not seem to help her at all.

    Nancy, regarding the cutting -- should I be taking steps to keep sharp objects from her? I don't know what to do here. Although her cutting is not considered severe it is still a sad and horrible thing.

    Best wishes,
  4. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    In my opinion, if there's a will....there's a way.

    I basically refuse to try to keep sharp objects hidden (as if I have anything to do with this) although I do try to minimize them on my daughter's side of the house. (We have a 6 level house and she has her own level to herself)

    I sew...which means I have all kinds of scissors, cutting blades etc in my sewing room. I have numerous sharp knives in my kitchen too as we all do.

    My daughter used a picture hanger, you know....the plastic kind with 4 small nails on the back of it that you hammer into the wall to hang a picture. When I realized this, I knew there was no way I could stop her from doing this if she REALLY wanted to.

    We also shave our legs, yes she has a razor too.

    So I focused on trying to eliminate the behavior instead of trying the impossible task of eliminating all sharp objects from the entire house.

    Cutting is usually a pressure/pain release function that for some reason, they see as a viable outlet. I don't...and remind her often when she says it helps that it apparently doesn't or she wouldn't have to do it hundreds of times each incident.

    However, I do try to quickly remove and put back sharp knives and pizza cutters when we do dishes. I know it probably means nothing, but it makes me feel better to try in some small way to remove temtation.

    To me it comes down to this.....choices and responsibility for them. If she chooses to do this, it's her choice and her responsibility. There's really nothing I can do to stop her and I WON'T take responsibility for it.

    If she ever chooses to end things, I can't take responsibility for that either. She's 20 years old and I can't be there every minute of every day. She has to choose wellness, choose to medicate everyday and choose to seek help.

    In a way, it came with acceptance of who she is...she's mentally ill. That meant grieving for the woman we thought she'd be. It meant saying good-bye to the way we thought things would go. It means lowering our level of expectations for her and her life.

    She wanted to be an astro-physicist. Now we're happy if she can make it through one college course at a time without a major breakdown or incident. (She was in the IB program in high school too, taking college courses and doing quite well at one time)

    We no longer expect her to take care of every day tasks that all of us adults are responsible for. This eases her mind so she can focus on wellness. No pressure....

    It's the best I can do. When you put the responsibility of wellness on their shoulders, it changes things. If nothing else, it puts the power to try to get well in their hands. Because as much as we worry and wish things are different, it's their lives that are affected, and they often know it or eventually come to the realization that their hopes and dreams are altered too.

    So please, don't take responsibility for this....I know it's not my fault, it just happened. I have a dear friend with a very schizophrenic son who's very wise and she has a saying that I repeat over and over.

    "It is what it is, it just is"....


    Nancy B

    PS. I truly hope that no one is offended by the honesty in this post. When you have a child going through this, it can be very reassuring to have someone who understands and may have some insight for you. My intent is not to offend, just to help someone who's in the same boat I was a few years ago.
  5. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    One more thing.....and I hope I don't offend here either...

    Unless of course you somehow caused the abuse that's usually to blame for a condition such as this....one of the hardest things to learn is this:

    It isn't about you....If you try to hide every single sharp object in your house yet your daugher finds a way to cut, you'll blame yourself because you 'missed something'.

    But you can't do that, cause it isn't about you, it's about her.

    And no one can live that way, it's just too hard. So learn to let go of blame and guilt, it serves no purpose. With my daughter we know exactly what caused this, when it started and how it happened.

    Finding fault serves no purpose. Focus your energies on teaching her to choose wellness, for herself....not for anyone else.


    Nancy B

  6. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    Thank you again for your insightful replies. I hope they were not too hard for you to write, and I am certainly finding them helpful (and in a strange way reassuring, if you know what I mean? If someone else can handle it, so can I. And your advice on the cutting sounds very sensible.)

    Regarding the onset. Looking back, I think it came on gradually during her pre-teen and teen years (mainly depression and anxiety) but the worst of it started about 2 years ago. That's when things really started getting bad. She revealed to me just a few weeks ago (during a massive meltdown when I found illegal substances in her room) that she had been raped several times by a boyfriend about the time I noticed the worst of the problems starting. She had said nothing about it at the time (and told me then all about how she was upset because she suspected he was cheating on her before they broke up.)

    She claims she was basically self-medicating with the substances in question, although she was on anti-depressants and also getting counseling. Sadly, we've been lied to and deceived by her to such an extent these last few years that I don't even know whether I can believe her now about the rapes. And that's a horrible thing to doubt her word on.

    But it did lead us to insist on a change of therapist as the old one was obviously not doing much good. That turned out for the best in getting this new diagnosis, so we're hoping that she can at last get the help she needs.

    Best wishes,

    [This Message was Edited on 02/01/2007]
  7. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    You certainly CAN believe her about the rapes. In fact she may be minimizing what happened to her too. BPD's often don't care much about their bodies so horrible things that we can only imagine can and do happen to them.

    Ouch has hit the nail on the head with her information. (Thanks Ouch!).....

    My daughter is also ADHD and has Fibro too. She's also been very promiscuous (sp?) sexually and has been abused there as well, other than what happened to her when she was 5.

    It's amazing what the young guys call sex these days. I've seen the bruises too....it's horrifying.

    And no, it doesn't bother me to write this....although I do try in some ways to protect her privacy and had my sign in name changed in order to do so.

    I refuse to feel badly about her mental illness, nor do we try to hide it, cover it up, or even pretend that it's not there. Like I said before, it is what it is.

    Please believe your daughter, she isn't doing this stuff on purpose. She's sick, allow yourself to be the safe place she can come to.


    Nancy B
  8. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    I'm planning to delete this entire thread in a couple of days, just for safety so it doesn't hang around in internet space.

    You all have been so helpful.

    Best wishes,
  9. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    What you have posted accurately describes at least a large part of what my daughter is going through.

    Unfortunately, the "love/hate" thing seems to be that she loves her friends (who are a *really* bad crowd) and puts the hate on us at home. Particularly her dad and I -- there are days when we can hardly look at her without setting her off about something we've done wrong and how we hate her and how worthless she is.

    The low self-esteem, the positive/negative thinking, the clinging to relationships (esp. boyfriends) even when they turn abusive -- all of that fits.

    I hope someday she's able to see herself for the wonderful person she really is, and to see how much we love her.

    Best wishes,
  10. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    Yes, that's part of what we're going through too.

    On the one hand she hates me so much, but on the other hand she can barely let me get a shower without checking where I am and what I'm doing. It's hard to understand.

    I'll talk to my husband and her drs. about SSI.



    [This Message was Edited on 02/01/2007]
  11. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    Regarding the boyfriend issue....it's probably because of the way your daughter feels about herself. That's why the great ones are passed up and the lowlifes are perfect.

    I used to wonder the same thing about my daughter until I realized the depths of her feelings towards herself. She was battling the very right to be on this earth and I was wondering why she'd let men do what they did to her.

    Kind of makes sense if you think about it...


    Nancy B

    And Janelle, if you need to change your sign in name to protect either you or your daughter's privacy, go ahead and write to Pro Health. They can help you to do that.

    Once you've changed your username, all posts will be under the new name. That's what I did too.

    But eliminating this thread means that anyone else who needs this kind of help won't be able to find it. You're not alone in this problem here, unfortunately.


    Nancy B
  12. LittleBluestem

    LittleBluestem New Member

    Those eating disorders can be wicked. I had a friend with one several years ago. I did some researching to find out what I should do, as her friend. As I recall, encouraging her to eat was a no-no. Ignoring what she did or didn’t eat was the thing to do. Basically, there is not much that can be done if the person will not admit that they have a problem, which my friend would not. Since your daughter is now admitting that she has an eating disorder, things should go better.

    A local hospital had a support group for family and friends of people with eating disorders. I went to a few times, but had to quit when I began taking a class that met the same night. Is there a support group for family where your daughter is being treated? That would be a good source of information.[This Message was Edited on 02/03/2007]
  13. ksp56

    ksp56 Member

    I was date raped, by a boyfriend, when I was 17. I thought I had 'lead' him on, and somehow I was at fault. I have carried this with me until last fall, at age 50. Never telling anyone. I was so ashamed. In fact, this is the first time I've told anyone other than my husband.

    Something triggered the memory, this past fall. While I thought I wasn't to blame, I still questioned myself. I called a rape crisis line. They validated my feelings, which helped me come to terms with that time in my life. There were many pent up tears, and also tears of rejoicing. I could let that part of my life go.

    I told my husband, after he returned home from being out of the country. His support and love gives me strength.

    From personal experience, my family, and I know the difficulty of dealing with a mental illness. I am also, BP.

    Life can get very out of control if not diagnosed properly. I lived my life with the super highs and major lows. I actually enjoyed many parts of the ups. Not until I went into a major and long depression, was I diagnosed BP. Thank heaven! While life is always a struggle, and whose isn't, it is more manageable. I was 43 before being diagnosed.

    My prayers are with your daughter, you and the rest of your family. Keep in mind, you are doing all that you can. With a proper diagnosis, you are certainly on the right track. It sounds as if you are a caring and loving mom.

    Prayers and best wishes,


    [This Message was Edited on 02/03/2007]
    [This Message was Edited on 02/03/2007]
  14. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    One of the earliest symptoms we saw from my daughter was that she was just SO emotional -- way beyond what seemed normal or reasonable for the circumstances.

    For example, if someone said something mildly critical ("Your hair is kind of curly today".) she would be crying and saying how she hates her hair, and nobody else has horrible hair like hers and why is she such a freak.

    If we say we love her she says "No you don't" or "You're my mom so you think you have to say that." She rejects our compliments the same way.

    It's always all about her. She used to be so empathetic. Now she can't seem to think about other people at all.

    For example she's decided she wants a pet. This is not practical. I'm allergic to cats and dogs, and I refuse to have rodents or reptiles in the house. Moreover she hopes to go out of state to college in the fall so she would have the pet for only 6 months and then it would be my responsibility. It wouldn't be fair to me or to the animal. Her response? That I should take allergy pills. And if I loved her at all I'd let her do this. And we have had the exact same conversation at least a dozen times and she just cannot let it go.

    At the same time, she somehow finds everything that goes wrong to be her fault. Even if she had nothing to do with it she blames herself. And seems to think that others blame her for it too.

    She jumps right from one intense (and bad) relationship right into the next. She can't go a week without a boyfriend, and must be in constant contact -- she gets a panic attack if she can't find her phone.

    Ali, you've said you see some of the symptoms of BPD in yourself. Are you seeing This kind of symptom? Because from what I've read and been told so far the over-emotional response is a big part of it.

    As for your hating to be in the same room with your mother, I find that absolutely understandable under the circumstances. Why would anyone want to spend time with their abuser? It sounds like you were just trying to protect yourself as best you could, whether that was by leaving the room or lieing when you felt it was necessary. I see that as a survival mechanism on your part.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Best wishes,

    [This Message was Edited on 02/03/2007]
  15. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    Kim, thank you for sharing your experience. I'm so sorry to hear you were also a victim of date rape. It has got to be such a difficult thing to overcome. I hope getting counseling now will help my daughter. You sound like a very strong person to have dealt with so much on your own for so long.

    LittleBlueStem, I'm going to call around and see what support groups hospitals around here may offer, in addition to talking to her counselor about the eating disorder/cutting/BPD. Thank you for the idea.

    Best wishes,

    [This Message was Edited on 02/03/2007]
  16. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    I'd be very careful about sending your daughter out of state for college in the fall.

    We let our daughter move to the states for college and she just spiralled downhill there. Too much, too much responsibility, too much everything.

    And colleges will now kick kids out for seeking psychiatric help instead of helping them.

    Try to make sure she's on meds that are helping her, or keeping her level before considering letting her out on her own. I know it's hard, we even kept our daughter home an extra year knowing she wasn't ready to leave but we still went through hell those 10 months that she was gone.


    Nancy B
  17. justjanelle

    justjanelle New Member

    My husband and I have discussed that very issue. We just don't see any way she can be ready by fall.

    However our daughter seems to think it's a foregone conclusion and says the therapist thinks "if she works hard and makes good progress" she could be ready.

    We'll see.

    Still, it's good to have a goal to work toward. And if she isn't ready we'll deal with the meltdown when the time comes to refuse her.

    Best wishes,
  18. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    this is not an easy thing to overcome...it will take work on her part mostly....she needs to realize she wants the help.

    you have been given good advice...nami w/help.

    thinking of you

  19. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    A psychiatrist named Gutheil wrote some articles in the American Journal of Psychiatry on BDP and the difficulties for the therapist in treating BDP. I personally found them insightful, though they are written from the psychiatrist's experiences and point of view.

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