Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the hardest disorders to diagnose
My diagnosis is formal and was made by a professional. Don’t use this to diagnose yourself. We’re all people, we’re all different. While I match many of the diagnostic criteria, I don’t match them all. However, if you haven’t been formally diagnosed and you’re reading this and nodding your head, you may want to talk to a professional about it.
So here goes. What makes Bruce Anderson suffer from Borderline Personalty Disorder (and what doesn’t).
Signs and Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder:
1. Feels emotions more easily, deeply, and longer than others do—CHECK.
Is this a bad thing? Sometimes. But sometimes it’s good. If I wasn’t able to keep those emotions running high, I could’ve never written my prizewinning screenplay, which is emotionally brutal and makes everyone who reads it cry. But when I get hurt, it takes a long, long time to shut it off. Something most people get over in a few hours can take me a few days or more.
I smoke. I drink. At one time, I did drugs. I’ve fathered two children that I love, but never intended to have. Casinos are very dangerous places for me. But I drive like an old man, very slowly, most of the time.
3. Self-Harm and Suicidal Behavior—CHECK.
The scars are mostly faded, but the razorblades and lit cigarette were once close friends of mine. So are booze and pills.
4. Unstable, intense personal relationships—CHECK.
Married twice. More girlfriends than I can count. Every relationship ends in tears, usually mine.
5. Black and white thinking—NO. Well, MAYBE in the moment.
But I’m pretty realistic when it comes to how I see others. I realize that no one is all-bad or all-good, though I do have a tendency to idealize my romantic partners.
6. Manipulative behavior to obtain nurturance—DOUBLE CHECK.
Maybe even triple. I’ll do anything, things I’m terribly ashamed of later, to get that feeling of being loved and cared for.
7. Poor sense of self—CHECK, but not so much anymore.
It took me to the age of almost forty to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I want to write and teach, and I’m doing just that. And it feels good. At the same time, it is sometimes hard for me to know what I value and enjoy.
Do I really write because I like to? Do I really teach because I love it? Maybe. It could be just that I’ve found that I’m good at both, and being good at both gets me attention and admiration from others. I’m not really sure that I enjoy anything.
8. Dissociation, feeling empty, or zoning out—CHECK.
Now, everyone zones out from time to time, but probably not to the same level that I do, and probably not for the same reasons. Periods of high emotions can make me shut down at a cognitive level. I become so preoccupied by the wave of emotion crashing over me that I can think of nothing else. Sometimes, this is nice. Like that first feeling of new love where my heart goes all aflutter. That’s AWESOME. But most of the time, it’s a negative emotion that has
my attention. And that pretty much sucks.
Well, those are pretty much my life in a nutshell. Sucks to be me sometimes, but not all of the time. I gotta try to remember that. Until next time.
Your bother in arms,
Read more from Bruce Anderson here: How I Became the Freak in the Corner
(A page that tells his story from the beginning and has links to several of his articles)