Borderline Personality Disorder does not have to be a life sentence! So many people are misinformed especially professionals and I feel it is a disservice to persons afflicted with this disorder including their family and friends to think there is no hope. There is! It is challenging finding the right treatment let alone even finding the medical, psychiatric and psychological professional who is up to date with the most recent information and wants to work with a person with BPD.
I am not talking about studies in professional journals and NOT at all talking about books…some are great reads and informative but the danger in many cases is that the reader may not realize that as they reading the “perspective” of a few people that may or may not be valid…it is often outdated. That’s right no longer the “whole story”, there are missing pieces.
I have been working on a youth crisis line for fifteen years, have volunteered in various capacities in mental health and most recently in 2013 I followed an educational training for caregivers at AmiQuebec. The clinical psychologist giving the training had over seven years experience working with persons troubled with BPD and over fifteen years as a clinical psychologist; she was the first professional I have ever heard speak in such a positive and helpful way. I hear many professionals as well as any other person making blanket statements like, “Oh, she/he will never get better…may improve a bit but never get better.” Many doctors are exhausted treating patients with BPD and too often over medicate them which may exasperate their condition furthermore.
Dangers of over-medicating a “personality disorder “ that is NOT a brain chemical imbalance such as bi-Polar disorder or Depression for example can all too often make things worse and more difficult for a therapist to find the proper treatment. I understand that some medications are prescribed for the symptoms and yet it would probably be more effective treatment done in a multidisciplinary form with psychiatric, psychological and behavioral approaches…everyone working together to help this person.
The article I am referring to discusses the success rate at over 70% will recover completely. To me, when you say no one with BPD will recover is like saying a child with a short temper will never become a emotionally stable adult.
Dr. Butterworth was able to give caregivers tools to help their loved ones, create boundaries and help their relative learn to manage their condition on their own eventually. What astounded me was hearing that it is not always necessary to dig deep to find out WHY a person behaves like this…not all persons with BPD have come from families lacking attention, love or have experienced trauma. Really!! What I learned in this training was the “perception” of a young baby, young child and older youth can be unconsciously be interpreted one way and it may not have been the “real” or “whole” story.
Imagine a young toddler is sleeping in her crib and suddenly the family cat jumps in the crib.
Scenario I: The parent rushes in to the room shouting at the cat and shoos it away, waking up the child who is screaming from sheer fright.
Scenario II: The parent tiptoes gingerly into the room and takes cat in his/her arms and walks out of the bedroom of a “still” sleeping toddler.
I found that very interesting and encouraging; yes, I truly believed it for I know of persons personally who were raised with love but how the person’s view on his past was not what most family members remember being that way. We know now, in fact, when siblings are discussing their family past how different or slightly different each interpreted their past.
I also saw the majority of persons in attendance were caring caregivers who would come in the worst winter weather, slippery roads many couples, siblings, grandchildren…It is not a surprise to see this since mental illness affects everyone.
Learning more about true facts and how to help someone with Borderline Personality Disorder has allowed me to be more helpful to persons reaching out to our service.
I encourage you to read some of the articles below especially this one as a start here and you will want to read more.
© Cheryl-Lynn 2015/01/20
Resources: AmiQuebec – Montreal – Support for English population, for caregivers in Quebec.
Canadian Mental Health Ass. – What is Borderline Personality Disorder (a must read to remove the stigma on mental health and BPD)