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I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, a panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. I have psychogenic siezures when I get too anxious. My body is tearing itself apart, so far I have given myself a hiatal hernia, acid reflux disease and IBS because of my stress. Emotionally, I am a total wreck. I am always severely depressed, anxious, scared, lonely, and angry. So much so that it has greatly effected my schooling, work and friendships. I had to drop out of college because I can't handle classes, I get way to nervous when Im there I go into panic attacks in the middle of class. I can't go to work because when I get there I get so angry that all I can think about is throwing clothing racks at customers, and I also have severe panic attacks. My friendships are suffering because my moods are so ustable that I have started to isolate myself in fear of lashing out at my friends. I also go through periods where I greatly value my friendships, then the next minute I never want to see my friends again.

In order to cope, I had to start cutting myself. I would slash my forearms open, cut my neck, or bust my knuckles open on the road. I had to see myself bleed. I was convinced that I would bleed darkness. I started mixing my meds with alcohol in order to fall asleep faster so I wouldn't have to be awake, but those incidents landed me in the psychiatric ward three times. I've been going to therapy for almost 2 years, but it doesn't seem to be helping. I tear down all the progress my therapist has made. I'm on four medications as well, but they dont help that much either. When I sleep I have incredibly gory nightmares. I can't get away from any of this.

I just don't know what to do or where to turn. I have no job, no schooling, I'm losing my friends, and I'm losing myself.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hello Ardvarkian,

Welcome to our community and to this forum.

Yes, you have been through a lot of suffering.

One of the types of therapy that is recommended for Borderline Personality Disorder and that can help with some of the other problems is called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy DBT). It is effective because it helps people learn several things:

1. It helps them learn to tolerate their emotions without getting frightened by what they are feeling,

2. It helps people learn to lower their emotional reactions to situations so that they do not become over stressed,

3. It helps people learn new ways of thinking without exaggerating situations and without distorting the seriousness of situations.

Of course I do not know you and can only go by what you have said but based on that it appears to me as though DBT could help a lot.

The idea is for you to find a clinical psychologist who is trained and expert in DBT. You can do an Internet search in your community or ask at your University.

Can you tell us more about your self and your situation?


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More about myself? I'll start with childhood. I had a great childhood up until the age of 9. I have 2 sisters and one brother. We had just moved to Fredericksburg VA, so I had no friends yet. At age 9, my father started to reveal to me how much he hated the way I dressed and the way I acted. I was a tomboy and I liked wearing baggy T - shirts and pants and a baseball hat. I stood up for myself and was sarcastic most of the time, something that I inherited from my father. He would pull my hair, saying how much he hated my long ponytail. He would make fun of me and my clothes. He would often tell people he had two daughters, and two sons, me being the other son. I also had a hard time at school, people would make fun of me dressing the way I did, calling me a lesbian and staying away from me. I got used to people using me as a backup friend, someone who is just around when your favorite friends arent there. I was ignored, laughed at, and forgotten. Things went on like this for a while. I eventually stopped caring about people's opinions about my clothes and personality. I kept standing up to my father, which he didnt appreciate. Things got worse when my uncle (dad's brother) came to live with us. He was a bad influence on my mom, he got her to start drinking and go work drywall sites with him. They would often come stumbling home drunk or sometimes they wouldn't come home at all. When they were home, they'd stay outside in the carport and drink all night. My siblings and I got used to seeing our mother wasted, and our dad was emotionally detached or staying late at work. So, as the oldest kid, I had to step in and become a leader for my siblings. I started dealing with my mother so my brother and sisters wouldn't have to see her drunk. I got them to do their homework. I got them off the bus. I helped with dinner. At this point, I was 13. Things continued this way for a few years. I would babysit for at least 12 hours a day, never going outside my house, except for school. My mom and dad had started fighting almost everytime they saw each other. It was the summer before I turned 15 when they sat us down and told us that they were getting separated. My brother and sisters cried, I simply avoided my mom's eye contact and stared angrily at the table. I knew it was coming. I knew my family was breaking apart. My dad left without saying goodbye that April. On my 15th birthday, two weeks after he left, he introduced us to our future step mother and her kids. She immediately didn't like me and my sarcasm, although I tried my best to like her depsite the bad timing in which we were introduced. 6 months later, he moved up to Manassas to live with her. We spent every other weekend with this woman, and it was horrible. She would start fights with me, which I would always win, but I would get in trouble for "hurting her feelings." We fought nonstop, until finally we just stopped talking to each other completely. There was a lot of tension in that house. One day, Dad came to pick us up for the weekend, and he got us in the car and told us the news. Laura was now our official step mother "whether we liked it or not." He got married without telling anyone, didn't ask us if it was ok first, nothing. At school things weren'y any better. I still had no friends, my lack of interest in boys bored my peers, and they didn't seem to like my sense of humor. I finally made a few friends, but the relationships didn't last long. They moved on.

Well finally, my uncle moved out of the house because him and my mom fought mercilessly every night. I was happy he was gone, he had stolen money from me and my mom. With him out of her life, my mom stopped drinking and got a better job. Ever since then, she has been fully devoted to us, her kids, and she has become a wonderful mother. My father is still always on his wife's side, and still ridicules us for odd things. He screws my mom over with the child support, he never comes to our extra curricular events, he doesn't seem to care. Whatever, I didn't need him.

I was 18. It was now time for me to go to college. I couldn't wait, I would escape the hell of that house in Fredericksburg and become my own person without having to watch over others constantly. But college didn't go as well as I had hoped. That December, I developed severe IBS. I couldn't eat anything without being in incredible pain. My weight dropped to 104 pounds, I was a skeleton. That February I started having what I would find out later to be psychogenic seizures. They would strike at any moment, in class, at a restaurant. I would drop to the floor and start contorting all over the place. I went to a neurologist, who decided that it was my anxiety that was doing this to me. He put me on my first psychological medication, Effexor. Effexor stopped the seizures, but it sent me into a terrible depression. I finally took myself off the Effexor, and got him to give me something else. Depakote was next, and I was on that for a while. Since then I've been on Kepra, Paxil, Trazodone, Remeron, Lithium, Celexa, Risperdal, Ambien, Klonopin, Welbutrin, and a few others.

I am now 21. I've been going to therapy for almost 2 years. My therapist does imagery with me, in order to dig deeper into my feelings so that I can express them. But I can't seem to ever show him any emotion. He has never seen me cry, ever. I refuse to cry, especially in front of people, I see it as a sign of weakness. I was never allowed to cry at home, what kind of a leader cries in front of his followers? He's been trying to hard to get me to show him what I feel, to open to him, but I can't seem to do it. I'm too afraid to let someone in, even though I know he would never hurt me. He would never take advantage of my vulnerability. He's the only person in this world that I trust, and I can't even open up to him. I don't know what to do.

I am also on four meds: Welbutrin, Klonopin, Risperdal and Ambien. This is so far the best combination of drugs I've been on. But it still isn't enough. I'm still hopelessly depressed, overly anxious, consumed in rage, and terrified.

I am at a loss. I have no idea what the next step is supposed to be. If anyone has ideas, I'd be happy to hear them.

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As I read I picked up on the ACA stuff too. You are what is sometimes called a parentified child - e.g., made to take on parental type responsibility long before it was appropriate for you to do so. Somewhat common in households where parents are serious drinkers/druggers.

My therapist does imagery with me, in order to dig deeper into my feelings so that I can express them. But I can't seem to ever show him any emotion.

A thought about your therapy. If you are diagnosed with borderline and self-injuring, these are the most important things to think about working on. There is time to address the other less dangerous stuff. Self-injury comes first. From my perspective, the recommended therapy for someone who is self-injuring is something called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - it is designed for people who self injure, and helps such people learn how to better calm or sooth themselves from moments of crisis that will otherwise erupt into self-injury.

I don't have a problem with imagery techniques, but when I hear that your therapist is trying to get you to become more emotional, I'm wondering if that is wise, and whether that is the only skill set to be learning. Becuase - even though you refuse to express it to your therapist, you are already highly emotional and have no good ways to handle this emotion. You don't need help becoming more emotionally expressive. you need help learning how to contain and channel your emotion. Learning to put emotions into words is a good exercise and skill to develop, but there are lots of better ways to help someone learn to manage emotion. By developing mindfulness skills, for instance. I encourage you to ask your therapist about DBT, or to see about joining a DBT group in addition to your therapy. I think it is very much worth you exploring DBT if you are self-injuring a great deal.

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