Welcome to my 13th post for this #Blogtober – I’m not doing too bad so far aye! Today’s post is surrounding ’emotionally unstable personality disorder’ – one of the very first diagnoses I received under CAMHS but only found out about it during university.
‘Emotionally unstable personality disorder’ is the newer term for ‘borderline personality disorder’ as these days doctors tend not to refer to a patient being borderline narcissistic and psychotic.
KEY SYMPTOMS OF EUPD:
1. FEAR OF ABANDONMENT:
Those with EUPD possess a fear of being abandoned or left alone. As a result, they may resort to extreme efforts to prevent this from happening. Unfortunately, this insecurity of losing someone you care about often means they begin to distance themselves and drive them away regardless. They are sensitive to rejection, criticism and abandonment. They often need reassurance.
This fear of abandonment can be quite isolating, some days it’s all an individual can think about and consumes their world.
2. INTENSE ANGER / DIFFICULTY CONTROLLING ANGER:
This anger can be directed at themselves – why can’t we manage like everyone else? This anger can be directed at the world – why does it cause so much pain? It can be directed at others – why are we not good enough for them? The anger can be intense, it’s immediate. 0 to 100 real quick. It often comes with immediate remorse for it too.
Those with EUPD can be impulsive, with self-sabotaging behaviours and actions. These can include gambling, excessive spending, binge eating, substance misuse. This impulsivity can be a result of having no fear for the consequences. It could be that they feel distant from everything and everyone around them. It could be a result of the drastic changes in their emotions. It could be a result of a trigger sending their emotions off the scale. They might feel out of control and are trying to take it back.
This can include behaviours such as:
- excessive gambling
- excessive spending
- binge eating
- substance misuse
- taking risks
- reckless driving
- drink driving
- casual sex
- unprotected sex
- excessive drinking
4. UNSTABLE / INTENSE RELATIONSHIPS:
Those with EUPD can have issues creating and maintaining healthy relationships: with partners, family, co-workers, friends etc. They can switch between idealisation and devaluation of others and themselves. Such intense feelings can often push people away, ironically even though they fear being left. Therefore relationships with an individual with EUPD can change between intense, almost obsession to chaotic and unstable.
5. PERSISTENT UNSTABLE SELF-IMAGE/ SENSE OF SELF:
Those with EUPD can struggle with knowing who they are. I know I do. There are blank spaces where they should know how they feel about themselves or the world. It can often be heavily influenced by those they are around. They may have no strong sense of who they are or why they are here.
6. SUICIDAL IDEATION AND SELF-HARMING:
Those with EUPD may have self-destructive behaviour as a reaction to their own actions and behaviours. They may have self-destructive behaviours as a means to punish themselves. They may have self-destructive behaviours over minor inconveniences. They may have self-destructive tendencies to deal with their internal or external pain. It could be a way to regain control in a time of their life where it feels like they have none. When someone receives some criticism or rejection, it can make them feel low like a 3 out of 10. For those experiencing EUPD, it can make them feel like -300 out of 10.
7. INTENSE EMOTIONS THAT CAN CHANGE VERY QUICKLY:
I think the name is pretty self-explanatory for this disorder. It can conjure up strong emotions that you struggle to cope with. These intense emotions can last from a few hours to a few days and can change very quickly. The important part of this is that the mood changes are rapid, intense and sometimes extreme.
Those with EUPD can have issues handling stress and unexpected events and change. As a result, all of the symptoms listed are heightened under stressful environments.
8. CHRONIC FEELINGS OF EMPTINESS:
Those with EUPD can experience intense emotions as I have previously mentioned, but they can also feel chronically empty – ironic right? The feelings of emptiness can be long-lasting and can increase the fear of abandonment.
9. STRESS-RELATED PARANOIA OR DISSOCIATION:
Those with EUPD can have issues knowing who they are, they can feel empty and their moods can change all out of their control. They often do not know what they feel. This can often mean that they feel cut off from reality, as well as themselves. It is a subconscious way to detach yourself from it all. They can also experience paranoid thoughts when they are stressed, this can make them feel suspicious of those around them. If they dissociate, they can feel spaced out.
Overall, an individual would need to meet 5 of these criteria to be diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder.
This disorder definitely consumes more of my life than I care to admit. But with more awareness, we can understand and support each other in recovery.