Am I Borderline?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I might be suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, but I don’t know. It might be Bipolar Disorder as well. I have a lot of mood swings, that can last a week at least, and sometimes a month. My moods varies between depression/anxiety with extreme suicidal thoughts and self-harm tendencies and “normal” episodes when I’m mildly happy and enthusiastic, but some other days I can be normal, not really depressed nor euphoric or something, but it generally doesn’t last much. The other day I may wake up depressed as well as enthusiastic and full of hope. It’s not stable at all.
You may say that I have the typical signs of a Bipolar Disorder, but my mood swings doesn’t last much you know, I mean today I’m happy the next day I’m sad and life goes on. My happy moments are usually alternated by sad moments when I feel like crap or when I’m extremely irritable and nervous. They say that Bipolar disorder usually works through episodes that last from 6 months to a year, literally, and that’s what makes me quite suspicious.

I looked through Wikipedia and social forums for Borderline personality disorder and it appears to be that I have many symptoms of the illness, including fear of abandonment, chronic feelings of emptiness, impulsivity, risky habits (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, sex, wasting money) rage and anger.
I also have dissociative syndrome where I don’t know who I am anymore, I feel as if I’m getting out of my body, I sometimes feel very distant, too. Like a ghost. Like I’m not sure if I’m actually HERE or not, ALIVE or not. It’s really stressful. I also confuse my dreams with reality and have paranoid tendencies.

A: Of course it would not be possible to make an accurate diagnosis via an email query, but I am glad that you are taking the time to ask about your well-being. I can understand the concern and think getting a professional—a psychiatrist or psychologist –to help you sort through the symptoms would be a very good idea. The find help tab at the top can be of help in locating someone in your area.

But I would also want you to be aware of your strengths. You have listed the symptoms that trouble you and the possible diagnoses, but what are the strengths you have that have given you the resilience to cope and to seek answers to help you heal? While you are looking for a label for the condition I would also invite you to look at your strengths. Here is a link to the VIA character strengths survey which is free and can help you identify these features in your life.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 May 2013

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2013). Am I Borderline?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/05/09/am-i-borderline/