I May Be Borderline, But My Symptoms Don’t Quite Match
I was an exchange student in Italy for a year. When I was there people went after things that sort of make me who I am. I get angry really easily, not explosively so, but it happens so often and it’s so obvious that it can cause problems with the few people who know me very well. I’m extremely impulsive and yet I’m not. I have really strong urges to do all sorts of less than positive things like sleeping with random people and getting drunk. Usually I stomp them down, but the thing is when I do this, I’m like a shell. I can’t stop myself from doing it without stopping everything. I stop socializing. I can’t concentrate. I cut myself. I’ve used this as a way to try and manipulate others although I don’t do it for this reason. I try to tell people about it so that they won’t leave me. I can daydream for hours. I know that I’m in my head, but at the same time I get so engrossed that I can’t get myself out. I think about suicide all the time. I used to be able to make friends so easily, but when they got to know me, they always just left. I’ve stopped trying anymore. I still make a friend every once in awhile, but it doesn’t ever last. I’m so sad. I can be happy, but these moments of happiness are so short and they usually morph into something sad or hostile. A psychiatrist in Italy gave me the tentative diagnosis of BPD, and I see myself in this diagnosis. I know what I want to do with my life, but I can’t decide how or when or anything like that. My personality changes with everyone I’m with. I have mood swings although for the past month or two I am mostly sad. I’m suicidal. I’m manipulative. My relationships never really last. I don’t know what to do.
I’m just a kid. I don’t have insurance. I have a clinically depressed mother who is always drunk and doesn’t want to help. I don’t know where to go for help, and I don’t even know what exactly is wrong. Can you tell me? Please help.
A. As you may already know, I cannot offer a diagnosis of the basis of a short letter. Ideally, you should be evaluated by a mental health professional who can interview you in-depth and collect a thorough personal and psychological history.
You noted that some of your symptoms are characteristic of borderline personality disorder but you also believe that some do not quite match. It seems that many of your symptoms do match including:
- Mood instability
- Periods of disassociation
- Suicidal ideation
- Difficulty maintaining friendships
To be officially diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, an individual would technically need to match five of the nine diagnostic criteria of the disorder. You match at least four and possibly more.
Another contributing complication in your life is the fact that your mother is an alcoholic and “doesn’t want to help.” She didn’t (and apparently still can’t) provide you with the necessary guidance and emotional-psychological support, that would have improved the quality of your life.
I would strongly recommend that you seek help immediately. I’m especially concerned because of your suicidal ideation, impulsivity and your history of self-harm. Please do not hesitate to go the emergency room or to call 911 if you feel that you might harm yourself.
The fact that you do not have health insurance may make it more difficult to find help but there are ways to get it, even without health insurance. Two programs you may be eligible for include Medicaid or SCHIP program. Both provide health insurance or money to families who meet certain monetary guidelines. The latter program is specifically designed to provide health insurance to children under 18. I understand that realistically it may not be easy to access these programs on your own because you may require the assistance of your mother. I’m not certain how willing or able she will be to help you but you should speak to her about these programs. Here’s a link to a website where you can learn more about the SCHIP program in your state.
If your mother is unwilling to help you, you may have to access these programs yourself. I would recommend calling the local health department or the local community mental health center to inquire about free or low-cost mental health services. If you are still in high school, speak to a guidance counselor about your situation. If you are currently in college, you may want to speak to the mental health professionals on staff, about utilizing their services or how they can help you access the aforementioned programs.
Your situation may present an extra challenge. You may have to find help by yourself, but as I outlined above, there are ways to access treatment even without your mother’s support. Please do not give up trying to find help.
I wish you well. Please take care.
Randle, K. (2010). I May Be Borderline, But My Symptoms Don’t Quite Match. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 9, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/09/09/i-may-be-borderline-but-my-symptoms-dont-quite-match/