How Can I Tell if I am Borderline?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I’m eighteen a freshman in college and I’ve experienced or rather noticed dramatic changes with me. I’m extremely impulsive in many aspects of my life along with Sexual promiscuity. I feel constantly restless like I can’t stay at one place very long… I always have to keep moving and running away from things and places. My family has confronted me on my actions, I know something is wrong with me I just don’t know what it is and I’m desperate . I know I need and want help. I experience periods of highs where I’m motivated and feel like I can do anything then I crash and let myself go. Sometimes I have to resist the urge of just getting up in the middle of the night and leaving to anywhere. I’m very distrustful of people at times yet at other times I let my guard down to easily and as always they hurt me. I have a vague history of abuse, both sexually and physically but I don’t think it plays a major role in this, seeing as it no longer upsets me, I think I’ve made peace with my past and yet I still act this way…I’m beyond puzzled. I can relate to some not all of the symptoms of Borderline personality disorder such as: “Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense” and “self Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)” and “Chronic feelings of emptiness”. I need to know desperately what is wrong with me so I can stop engaging in bad situations and hurting my family. Please help me better myself. thank you.

A. It is difficult to give a diagnosis over the Internet. If you want an exact diagnosis then it’s best to make an appointment for an evaluation with a mental health professional. He or she can evaluate you in person and interview you extensively about what you have been experiencing. As you said, you do seem to meet some of the criteria based on your own self-evaluation for borderline personality disorder but to know for certain, you should seek out a professional assessment.

While I cannot offer you a diagnosis over the Internet, I can say that many of the symptoms that you have described are very treatable with therapy. You can learn how to decrease your impulsivity. If you were working with a therapist, he or she can teach you how to think before acting. He or she could also help you to address the concern of promiscuity and can assist you with the other issues that you’re struggling with.

It is fortunate that you have realized that there are issues in your life that need to be addressed. What is especially encouraging is that you recognize that your behavior is harmful to you and others around you. This is truly very insightful. Many people suffer with issues and are unaware that a problem exists. You can’t work to solve a problem or concern if you fail to recognize that one is present.

My suggestion is that you make an appointment for a psychiatric evaluation with a mental health professional. If you attend college, I would highly recommend that you consider having this evaluation at the university’s counseling center. Their services are usually free, confidential, convenient and are commonly staffed with well-trained clinicians. If you do not like this idea, try your local community mental health or outpatient counseling center or call your health insurance company for assistance in locating an evaluation center. Let me know how things turn out. Good luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Jul 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). How Can I Tell if I am Borderline?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/07/21/how-can-i-tell-if-i-am-borderline/