How Can You Subliminally Explain Bpd In A Way That Doesnt Make You Sound Crazy?

This is simultaneously the most difficult and the most paradoxical question that I’ve been asked here. As a logophile and often a stickler for proper semantics, I can tell you that your question is self-contradictory. Explain and subliminal cannot even belong to the same sentence, let aside be put next to each other.

Nevertheless, going by the subtext to your question, I do understand what you are trying to ask. Explain BPD in a discreet non-obvious way. (please correct me if I’m wrong). I’ll take an uninvited opportunity to re-phrase your question:

How do you explain the experience of being a person with bpd to someone without any understanding of it in a way that doesn’t make you sound crazy?

First off, people with BPD aren’t crazy. We are a bit esoteric, eccentric, unpredictable, spontaneous, abstruse and sensitive. But crazy, we are not!

I propose the application of symbolism to meet this challenge. (Since I’m not good at poetry, I’ll try prose). The following is a passage with between the lines symbols, metaphors and analogies for life as a Borderline Personality (disordered) person.

Imagine you are being pushed into water. As is expected, you struggle to breathe. Slowly as your brain loses its oxygen supply, you begin to zone out and your body becomes numb. Your limbs go colder than the rest of your body. Almost instantaneously, your body’s stress response kicks in and a gush of adrenaline floods your body. You start flapping your limbs harder than before.

Finally, you surface. Next, in your drained condition, you try to swim towards the coast. The coast appears hazy. You are dehydrated in water. It’s too saline to be consumed. You flail in the hope that someone would see you and offer help. But given all the fog overhead and a consuming darkness enveloping you, no one can spot you struggling.

Your pruney fingers and aching muscles have begun to pull you down. Running out of luck but survival instincts intact, your will to live keeps you alive. Dawn is almost close, you remind yourself. Someone will see me and help. I will get through this.

But why would they? After all, you were thrown in this pernicious hell by your own parents. How much you despise them! They are the worst human beings in the world. But they know who I really am. I deserve this. I deserve to drown. At least then, other life forms can benefit from me. Right now, I’m useless. Just floating, swimming, drowning, re-surfacing and sinking again. What is the point of being trapped in such a vicious cycle?

Sometime before dawn, you fall asleep, clasping onto a tiny the head of a wooden pole, dug loosely to the sea floor. It swings you like a child in a cradle as the passive waves sing sweet lullaby. You dream of wonderful lands where pain is an illusion and love is unconditional. You laugh, run and play like you never could.

By afternoon, a coracle spots you and your unconscious body is pushed out. When you wake up, you are startled to find yourself in company of a man. You are grateful. He looks like a good man. You want to narrate your story but before you can. He starts to talk of his heroic escapades. He asks a multitude of questions for which you have no answers. You divert few of his questions, lie about some and ignore most. Seeing you shiver, he comes closer to comfort you. You hesitate and not knowing what to do, you jump into the water.

You swim fast and aim to go as deep as possible. The man in the coracle is flabbergasted. He has never seen anything like it before. He calls out and tries to come after you. You swim faster and faster until he’s no more in sight. Time passes.

Suddenly, it occurs to you that you don’t know how to swim. How have you been surviving the waters then? You feel awful about your state of being but you congratulate yourself for surviving. You think of doing something with your time. You observe the behavior of water animals. You give them names and talk to them. They seem to like you. You see their plight. You want to help but don’t know how. You think and think and think. You miss your mother. If only you had listened to her. How right she was!

Days pass and not a human in sight, you begin to feel a gaping hole forming in your chest; something is eating you from inside out, right in the middle of your chest. Breathing becomes hard and forced. You wander restlessly to escape the water.

The stream seems to have gone wild; “it doesn’t want to let me go”, you think to yourself. May be that man could have saved me. I could have escaped this vast prison. What if he was actually benevolent? I’m so stupid, why do I do this to myself? How do I find him again? I really don’t deserve human beings. I should rot alone. No one would know if I die in this hell. One day my body would be found, half eaten by water birds, predatory fish and bacteria, that would teach me.

When your own don’t understand you then what is the point of living anyway? I should just sink right now.

Right then, you hear a motor boat in the vicinity. You start screaming for help. After hours, they finally find and pull you out. The boat has a monk going to a famous monastery on the west side of the coast. Since you have no idea where you are, you agree to go along. He is full of empathy. The monk talks about consciousness and soul. You are overwhelmed. You share your insight on the transcendental bliss of meditation. You couldn’t be happier.

However, the monk now wants to take you to the monastery. He talks about the benefits of surrendering to the Buddha. You are excited but as the monastery draws closer, you feel the earth beneath you sinking. You start panting heavily, knowing not where to go. You start asking tougher questions about existence. You are reminded of your preference for existential nihilism and belief in solipsism.

Seeing your rigid-mindedness and inability to surrender, the monk goes quiet. He agrees to drop you at the nearest port. He blesses you as you deboard. You are relived.

Not much later, shame, guilt, regret and despair come crawling back. You are back where you started. Aloof, unattached, melancholic and confused. Why does everybody leave me? Why doesn’t anyone love me?

You cry yourself to sleep and wake up in the familiar hell.

Does this come off as crazy? I don’t know. This is what BPD feels like to me. Suffocating-struggling-drowning-surfacing-sinking-drowning again and resurfacing to repeat the cycle.

I’m no psychologist but as far as I understand, it encompasses BPD’s affective instability, aberrant social cognition, dissociation, Whole object relations, Object Constancy, identity disturbance (fluctuating sense of self) , self-harming attitude, suicidal ideation, fear of abandonment (as engulfment and co-dependency), co-morbid anxiety, transient depression, etc.

Note: I’ve put the narrative metaphor in quotes to highlight it as the main portion of the answer. It’s original content, of course.

Hope this helps.


Image: Ophelia, 1851-1852 by Sir John Everett Millais

This answer originally appeared on this Quora question on Subliminal Messages.

How To Test For Borderline Personality Disorder


I’m dr. David Thomas I’m a practicing psychotherapist in Tampa Florida with with for Thomas group speaking you today about how to test for borderline personality disorder it’s interesting question because borderline personality disorder is one of many personality disorders in my opinion borderline personality disorder tends to be a little more extreme than the other ones well we when you talk about testing for borderline personality disorders certainly you can take a personality assessment see a psychiatrist or therapist to to get borderline personality disorder diagnosed if you’re just personally trying to get a handle on whether you or loved ones or people you know might have borderline personality when you think psychologically about human beings you usually are talking about four major life processes you’re talking about perception thoughts feelings and behavior so if we look at these life processes in regards to a personality what we talked about borderline personality we really seen dysfunction in all four areas perception how they see the world tends to be oftentimes very skewed often driven by abandonment issues either perceived or real dire need for love for comfort things of that sort if we look at from a feeling level for line personalities order usually a very high level of anxiety some depression but we tend to see much more anger and anxiety with borderline personality disorder if we look at the next area of behavior often times more line personalities or behavior is very exaggerated very poor boundaries a lot of risk taking a lot of kind of what we might call unusual peculiar type behavior and finally what we’re talking about the other four life processes we’ve talked about thinking now thinking with borderline personalities those tends to be highly irrational it doesn’t mean that people think irrationally all the time who are borderline personality disordered but they’re irrational thinking is very is heightened so under normal circumstances that most of us would respond in kind of a usual type of way to stressors and things of that sort somewhat the board line personalities or would be having much more exaggerated response I’m dr. David Thomas speaking today about how to test for personality disorder..

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Comment (15)

  1. Youtube has a lot of quacks pretending to be professionals, be careful. Also, no matter how easy it may appear, DON’T diagnose anyone (including yourself). I have a Masters in Mental Health and I see how quick people are to diagnose. Lengthy assessments and a great deal of rapport are at the forefront of diagnosis. Keep in mind that there are two main reasons for diagnosis: 1) Treatment planning, 2) To alert other mental health professionals of possible symptoms. These diagnoses are not to stigmatize or label, just a somewhat crude way of preparing other people for potential behavioral issues.

  2. You do see depression with borderlines and there’s my experience plus videos by doctors stating that depression is seen with borderline

  3. I think I have borderline personality because I’ve been mentally abused and mentally scarred and I have depression and anxiety and so on

  4. Honestly, with anyone who has BPD, stay clear of those who don’t understand mental health. they will only make your symptoms worse and to be honest they want to see you fail. they are easy to spot. there is a few examples in the comments. so god damn privileged, must be nice not to have a mental disorder chipping at you everyday and night.

  5. Everyone knowing someone, this is the best thing you can do about this. Such clear and rational description. Because as he said, irrational thinking is heightened. To put it mildly. The worst thing about it, is they simply don’t understand. No matter, what you say, no matter how kind, no matter how factual, no matter anything. It’s just like a car-crash and you can only watch and feel sorry. But no matter how sorry you are. Absolutely no chance. No matter how hard you try. No matter how hard you don’t try. You can only be a slave of such person. The worst- they don’t even have bad intentions. But what can you do? Excuse them for lifetime. Or forcing them to chance? Because there is one severe difference. They should be forced to carry responsibility. It doesn’t sound ethic. But it only applies here. Because they are dangerous. You cannot excuse the behavior in any way. Expect, they know about the sickness. But as i experienced, most refuse to believe being sick (the base of skewed perception). Therefore they seem like some kind of monster. If they would accept the fact of being sick, there would be much more understanding. Unfortunately that is rational.
    The refusal of accepting being sick, makes them psychopathic by definition. I hate how its handled and not being taken seriously enough, because most often the people become the victim of their behavior and that is not okay, absolutely not.
    They think like 5-year old children and therefore should be handled this way. Because they are not the victim, everyone else becomes their victim. If you simply downplay it and do not force them to carry responsibility. It is not okay.
    This ONLY accounts for borderline. Because it’s the only disorder you actually MUST force them to chance. No matter how much they suffer. But it is only for the good of them. If you don’t, they suffer even more.
    Unfortunately this does not happen, because of skewed “ethical” reasons.
    I’ve been the victim of borderline women several times. You cannot learn anything out of this. No matter how kind or how much understanding. You can only be a victim.
    That is absolutely not okay.
    This sickness is not being taken seriously and threated like some kind of headache or something.
    There is absolutely no type of “ethics” or “morale” involved in forcing a borderline person to chance. It is absolutely necessary.
    I would pray to god if it was handled differently to every other disorder.
    No kind word on this planet can do anything good to them. Is it not at other people to “care” enough for them. Because you can’t. Don’t even try. It’s simply not possible. You can only damage them further.

  6. Borderline disorder is “extreme” because they are the scapegoat/waste basket for all the other personality disorders. They make the mistake of trying to handle this constructively/fairly. They don’t know this is not really possible. They get dysregulated trying to resolve an unresolvable situation. Therapy doesn’t address this so it can go on for years. This situation causes “extreme” dysregulation in every area of their lives. Then they become the scapegoat/waste basket for the mental health system.

  7. i’ve been diagnosed professionally with bpd … it’s horrible , hard to deal with , but for anyone else who thinks they might be bpd , please ask for help , it’s difficult and hurts to do but please do because it will make you feel so much better


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