Saturday, February 19, 2005

Self Diagnosis 1: Borderline Personality Disorder

I seem to be engaged in a constant search for a diagnosis.  John Bradshaw has written that the desire to "know" is itself indicative of the shame-based personality.  Such folks read self-help books, journal, blog, etc., in a quest to gain self-knowledge as a method of relief.  This certainly applies to myself.  Another guru of mine, Dr. M. Scott Peck, has written that the neurotic personality is the one that feels he is wrong in the world, whereas the character-disordered personality feels as though the world is wrong and he is victimized by it.  I fall into the neurotic spectrum.  While I have had one official diagnosis: dysthymia, it doesn't cover all the bases of what I experience.  I found one condition on the internet that certainly covers more ground than "chronic low grade depression." 

Borderline Personality Disorder.  "A person with a borderline personality disorder often experiences a repetitive pattern of disorganization and instability in self-image, mood, behavior and close personal relationships. This can cause significant distress or impairment in friendships and work. A person with this disorder can often be bright and intelligent, and appear warm, friendly and competent. They sometimes can maintain this appearance for a number of years until their defense structure crumbles, usually around a stressful situation like the breakup of a romantic relationship or the death of a parent."  (Richard J. Corelli, M.D. Stanford University).

Symptoms of BPD: "Relationships with others are intense but stormy and unstable with marked shifts of feelings and difficulties in maintaining intimate, close connections. The person may manipulate others and often has difficulty with trusting others. There is also emotional instability with marked and frequent shifts to an empty lonely depression or to irritability and anxiety. There may be unpredictable and impulsive behavior which might include excessive spending, promiscuity, gambling, drug or alcohol abuse, shoplifting, overeating or physically self-damaging actions such as suicide gestures. The person may show inappropriate and intense anger or rage with temper tantrums, constant brooding and resentment, feelings of deprivation, and a loss of control or fear of loss of control over angry feelings. There are also identity disturbances with confusion and uncertainty about self-identity, sexuality, life goals and values, career choices, friendships. There is a deep-seated feeling that one is flawed, defective, damaged or bad in some way, with a tendency to go to extremes in thinking, feeling or behavior. Under extreme stress or in severe cases there can be brief psychotic episodes with loss of contact with reality or bizarre behavior or symptoms. Even in less severe instances, there is often significant disruption of relationships and work performance. The depression which accompanies this disorder can cause much suffering and can lead to serious suicide attempts."  (Richard J. Corelli, M.D. Stanford University)

It's the lability of mood encompassed in this description that applies to me.  The anger and rage I experience, especially around memories of past abuse.  In another post, I wrote about this possibly being the result of formication, and the anger and rage is experienced first, and the subconscious mind puts up pictures in order to justify the emotion.

Certainly the inability to form intimate relationships applies to me.  While I have never (at least consciously) lost contact with reality, I certainly have had shifts in reality so profound as to alter my perceptions as powerfully as say an earthquake does.  While I don't have a tremendously difficult time with self-mutilation, I do have onychophagia, which is form of that condition.

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