I’m concerned that I have BPD

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hi, I’ve recently become more aware of how harmful my intense and random anger is. It’s a serious problem that I want to get control of. It’s threatened my relationship with my girlfriend who is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and that I love immensely. I didn’t really understand how much my anger hurt her. I hate that I’ve hurt her, I only want to make her happy and always treat her right. Also I know I don’t want to live like this.

I haven’t been to a therapist for years, though I think I need to make an appointment. I went when I was younger for abuse from my bipolar mother. I know what bipolar disorder looks like from my mother and I don’t think that I am bipolar, I’m definitely not a manic person. Didn’t really think I had any major problems, but it’s looking like I was very wrong. Had a good stable home with my dad and step-mom which I think has helped me deal with things so far and really toned-down the intensity, but there are problems that I can’t avoid.

I have or have worked on dealing with almost all of the symptoms of BPD; frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships, identity disturbance, recurrent suicidal behavior, emotional instability, chronic feelings of emptiness, inappropriate and intense anger, and transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts.

I’m not sure if I have BPD or not, though I’m relatively sure at this point, and don’t have anyone to talk to about it. I hope that maybe talking to people who have been diagnosed or know more about it than I do can help me out, maybe give me some advice. Thank you.

A: I think you’re right. You need to make an appointment. Fortunately, you’ve had a positive experience in treatment before. There’s every reason to think another “chapter” of therapy will be helpful. I encourage you to follow your own instincts about getting the help you need. The love for your girlfriend, and your healthy desire to live differently will help you stay motivated.

I can’t tell from your description whether you have BPD or not. There are a number of diagnoses that include difficulties with anger management and the list of symptoms you describe. BPD is the most common to meet those criteria but certainly not the only one to include unstable relationships and emotional dysregulation. I encourage you to get an evaluation by a qualified mental health professional. Whatever the diagnosis, an evaluation includes recommendations for what are the most promising treatments.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 May 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). I’m concerned that I have BPD. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/05/07/im-concerned-that-i-have-bpd/