BPD, Cyclothymia & Agoraphobia Fact Sheet

I’ve decided to create this page so it’s nice and easy for you to nip back whenever you fancy it and get some info.

I myself suffer from both Borderline Personality Disorder and Cyclothymia – as well as Agoraphobia. But what are they? It seems as though I’ve been diagnosed with two mystery disorders and one of the most misunderstood phobias.

They’re not documented by celebrities much like Bipolar, Depression or Anorexia. Really the only way you may have heard of BPD is through the film Girl, Interrupted whereby Winona Ryder’s character Susanna suffers from the disorder.

girlinter

So I’m going to break it down so you can see what goes on inside mine (and Susanna’s) head.

BPD

What is it?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) (called emotionally unstable personality disorder, emotional intensity disorder, or borderline type in the ICD-10) is a cluster-B personality disorder, the essential feature of which is a pattern of marked impulsibity and instability of affects, interpersonal relationships and self image. The pattern is present by early adulthood and occurs across a variety of situations and contexts.

Other symptoms usually include intense fears of abandonment and intense anger and irritability, the reason for which others have difficulty understanding. People with BPD often engage in idealisation and devaluation of others,alternating between high positive regard and great disappointment. Self-harm and suicidal behaviour are common.

Please also check out my 31 Days of BPD Challenge where I answer a question a day on living with the disorder.

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Facts

  • 30 – 60% of people with a personality disorder have Borderline Personality Disorder
  • People who suffer significant childhood trauma may be more likely to develop BPD
  • 60 – 70% of people with BPD will attempt suicide at some point duing their lives
  • Less than 1% of the general population is thought to have BPD
  • Many people with BPD also have atleast one other diagnosis

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Treatment

A mixture of therapy and medication can be used to treat Borderline Personality Disorder, such as DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) or Mood stabilisers. There is not yet one route that has been proved to work. For further information on treatments, please see the Mind website.

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References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

http://bpd.about.com/od/understandingbpd/p/BPDStats.htm

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/borderline-personality-disorder/#.U_n6PPldWLE

CYCL

What is it?

Cyclothymia, also called cyclothymic disorder, is a type of chronic mood disorder widely considered to be a milder or subthreshold form of bipolar disorder. Cyclothymia is characterized by numerous mood disturbances, with periods of hypomanic symptoms alternating with periods of mild or moderate depression.

An individual with cyclothymia may feel stable at a baseline level but experience noticeable shifts to an emotional high during hypomanic episodes, with symptoms similar to those of mania but less severe, and emotional lows involving depressive symptoms that do not meet the criteria for a major depressive episode. To meet the diagnostic criteria for cyclothymia, a person must experience this alternating pattern of emotional highs and lows for a period of at least two years with no more than two consecutive symptom-free months. For children and adolescents, the duration must be at least one year.

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Facts

  • Less than half the people diagnosed with Cyclothymia will at some point reach develop Bipolar Disorder
  • Episodes last a much shorter amount of time with Cyclothymia than they do with Bipolar
  • Around 1 in 100 people suffer some type of Bipolar related disorder, including Cyclothymia

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Treatment

Much like BPD, no one route has been proven to help Cyclothymia and so medication and therapies are used. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and mood stabilising drugs are amongst the most common.

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References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclothymia

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/bipolar-disorder/#.U_n-

http://www.signpostuk.org/mental-health-issues/cyclothymia

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As ridiculous as it sounds, the thing that annoyed me most about being diagnosed with Cyclothymia is that I didn’t know how to pronounce it, so here’s how in case you’re in the same boat!

AGORAP

What is it?

Agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh) is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.

With agoraphobia, you fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line or being in a crowd. The anxiety is caused by fear that there’s no easy way to escape or seek help if intense anxiety develops. Most people who have agoraphobia develop it after having one or more panic attacks, causing them to fear another attack and avoid the place where it occurred.

There are many similarities between Agoraphobia and Claustrophobia – but the difference is the reason for feeling scared and uncomfortable in that situation.

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Facts

  • Agoraphobia usually occurs after anxiety attacks have taken place, and therefore the person fears having a similar experience
  • Agoraphobia isn’t the fear of being outside as most would suspect, but the feeling of being in a situation where you can’t get help (a lot of the time sufferers associate this with leaving the house but not all the time)
  • Movie theatres, long lineups in banks or stores, and buses or subways are examples of problem places for people with Agoraphobia

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Treatment

Exposure therapy is the best form of treatment for Agoraphobia. CBT and learning breathing techniques can also be useful.

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References

http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_condition_info_details.asp?channel_id=11&relation_id=54591&disease_id=236&page_no=2#Treatment

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/agoraphobia/basics/definition/con-20029996

BPD

There are many similarities between BPD and Bipolar and therefore they do get confused quite a lot. There are also a lot of differences however which can be found here. For me though, it all kind of merges into one and I have symptoms from both due to my Cyclothymia. A lot of the time I’m not really sure which disorder what I’m doing is a result of.

On top of this, I also have the Agoraphobia to contend with. I can fortunately leave the house. But I do have trouble with crowded places, transport, being higher than the first floor in the building – anywhere where it’s not easy to get out.

It’s really difficult. Every single day. Making a concious effort to not 100% allow yourself to be yourself because you don’t like yourself.

Trying to control the impulsivity and reckless spending, the anger and frustration over… nothing, and the depressive states that make it incredibly hard to want to be here.

Trying to get a grip on the uncontrolable fear that takes over your entire body, when only months before you weren’t afraid of the things you are now.

It’s hard, but I guess it makes the happiness 100 times better when you come out the other side.

I hope you found this fact sheet useful.

I’m always available if you fancy a chat:
-@hotmail.co.uk

love lauren x

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71 thoughts on “BPD, Cyclothymia & Agoraphobia Fact Sheet

      • Imogen Groome says:

        I’ve spent many years being misdiagnosed, I think I’ve had bad luck with mental health professionals. It was only recently I saw a decent psychiatrist who actually listened to me…I’ve always been on a waiting list for therapy, and I don’t start it until September, but this psychiatrist finally gave me medication that helped with my hallucinations and paranoia. I’ve been on a mood stabiliser for about a year now, one that actually works which is nice!

        Liked by 2 people

      • bylaurenhayley says:

        I also had horrible experiences with the doctor. I’d been living with it for many years and only got diagnosed in April. The doctors would say things to me like (and I quote) ‘I can tell you’re not depressed, you look like a smiley person’ and ‘every teenager has ups and downs, you’ll be fine’. I eventually paid for a private assessment and got the answers I was looking for. Now when I go to the doctors and mention my diagnosis’ they pay attention 50x better and actually give me the help I need – it’s disgusting really!

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Bufu says:

    I think you liked my post about Free Writing because I was meant to come here and read this. A light bulb went “pop” in my head. I mean, it didn’t just turn on, it exploded.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Colina says:

    I have been diagnosed with BPD, generalized anxiety disorder and bi-polar disorder (which has been downgraded over the years. I was medicated for many years, and while they were somewhat effective, I still had some rough patches. After many years in therapy and six months of DBT a number of years back, I am mostly a happy and well adjusted woman! I still have set backs, but my recovery time is much quicker (and nothing short of miraculous, lol). I’m so happy you shared this, it’s so helpful to know we’re not alone!

    Like

  3. prideinmadness says:

    I’ve loved, on some level, that not a lot of people know about BPD. It has given me a chance to explain myself in my own words. It is still frustrating because I don’t know how to explain it and I don’t want my experience to then become the universal experience for the person I am sharing it with. I’ve actually added a BPD slide to my mental health presentations because people have no idea what I’m talking about 😛

    Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      I understand your point, they don’t have any misconceptions about it before giving you a chance to explain. I’d never really thought of it like that. My problem with people not knowing though, is that I don’t think people take it seriously if it’s something that they’ve never heard of – almost sounds like we’ve made a name up for the way we’re feeling because we don’t fit into any other criteria!

      Like

  4. tamarawgray says:

    Hey this is great! I’m glad you were the first person to like my post. I’m kind of anxious about putting my thoughts out there but I know I need to not feel alone so I’m going for it. It seems like we might have the same thing or something similar. I don’t know, I’ve never been diagnosed with anything. I just see a counsellor for abuse somewhat regularly. I’ll be following your blog for sure. 🙂

    Like

  5. positiveandbipolar says:

    What a great idea! If you don’t mind I might do something similar for my own blog? I would link back to yours to show my appreciation for your idea 🙂 Mine would cover Bipolar (and it’s sub-types) as well as HIV and Addiction.

    Like

  6. newc2014 says:

    Very proud of you for talking about this! One of my good friends has BPD, and so far, she says I am the only person that gets her. It is a very hard disorder to live with, and I am glad you shared about it. For some time it was thought I had BPD or bipolar disorder due to my mood fluctuations, suicidal thinking, and self-mutilation, but I luckily I received my proper diagnosis and now focus on trying to help myself and others. You are a great influence on others living with mental disorders.

    Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Thank you – what is your diagnosis if you don’t mind me asking? It took a very long time for me to get mine because so many aspects are in line with other disorders like Bipolar! Although because I have Cyclothymia too it makes it even more of a challenge for the doctors!

      Like

      • newc2014 says:

        Sorry I just now saw this! Been away for some time. My diagnosis is major depressive disorder and panic disorder. I thought I may have been bipolar, but my doc just told me I was very “emotionally dysregulated.” So I just have ridiculous highs and lows all the time that make me feel crazy.

        Like

  7. sassycare says:

    Wow there seems to be a lot of psychological disorders I haven’t heard of. But they’re pretty much, in my layman’s view, all characterised by mood swings, extreme emotional attacks and fear. Treatments, according to your fact sheet, differ and there’s no one approach to getting cured. While reading this though, I thought I might have had BPD and Cyclothymia in the past, I just didn’t know those were medical conditions at the time. The cure that worked for me was Christ. When I decided to follow Him in my life, that’s the point when my moods stabilised and I became in full control (by way of always choosing to call and surrender to Him whatever it is that makes me suffer or burst) of my moods and emotions. I found out that, when there are just no words and you can’t even get yourself to talk to your friends, you can expect no one but God to handle the situation. Prayers don’t have to be made up of words. Sometimes when there are just no words, our minds are able to communicate to its creator (I can’t explain why but if whenever I’m having an attack, I close my eyes and send him all that’s inside me in a natural process that seems instinctive, he simply knows what we’re feeling, no words needed). Maybe try it and let’s see its effects? I see no harm in it. Ever since I did that, I rarely have any of the those attacks.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. twocrazydykes says:

    I’m so glad to run into this post. I suffer from Cyclothmia and generalized anxiety disorder. My girlfriend suffers from borderline personality disorder, severe depression, and we both have agoraphobia. It has taken over my life 100% and I feel the only way to get on a good track is to be put on disability. Our families don’t believe these are serious disorders and have even suggested we quit therapy, regardless of our self harming or suicidal thoughts. Thank you for posting this.

    Like

  9. chrisgfroerer says:

    Hi Lauren,
    Thanks for liking my post and thank you for directing me to yours. Already I have sent your blog to some clients in the hope they will be reassured about the symptoms and types of treatments available. Also you provide an opportunity for those with these conditions to feel supported. Congratulations. Chris

    Liked by 1 person

  10. M. Warren says:

    Really good post! When I was a teenager I always thought people who suffered from Agoraphobia were ridiculous – what is there to be scared of!? Then, when I was around 22 and was struggling with Anxiety, I ended up causing myself to become Agoraphobic. It’s no joke! Super serious stuff. Luckily I made it through and haven’t had issues since.

    I think another great topic of discussion would be Depersonalization/Derealization. They are typically symptoms of anxiety disorders, but some people deal with them constantly. I lived detached from reality (or so I thought) for about 2 years; it was brutal. I feel it is often an over-looked topic, but a lot of people would benefit from insight on it.

    Like

  11. janetcate says:

    I really enjoyed your blog. I found a lot of myself in these areas. I have been diagnosed with PTSD but under that comes many other disorders. My treatment center just labeled it severe, chronic PTSD.
    Thanks for liking my last blog. Appreciate the read

    Like

  12. superghostwriter says:

    It’s also a fear of public places…and you tend to get disoriented, my friend deals with this disorder and she doesn’t leave her house for days on end. We went out shopping together once and she had a mild attack and became disoriented and did not recognize me. She started resuming a conversation we were having with another person who had slightly similar features as mine and then realized it wasn’t me and fled the store and started to walk 7 miles home. I finally got her to realize it was me once she was away from a lot of people and her attack subsided and she explained that she was agoraphobic. Since then I tend to try and direct to her quieter areas of the store when I think she is starting to get anxious.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. adjustremembered says:

    That was really interesting. My husband has bipolar, and i suffer from depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, and some mild Agoraphobia tendencies. This was really helpful. I plan to go through your other posts when i get a chance. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Alfio says:

    Lauren, read a bit about yourself and your blog. What I find really helpful with anxiety and close spaces is 1) anytime someone get’s too close I say “your in my personal space” and if they don’t move then I take 2 steps in any direction. Another one that I do is tell myself and often “I can walk away at any moment” and actually test myself randomly. Find a place you feel comfortable and just get up an walk out. When you get to an uncomfortable place make a more valid thought and challenge yourself. You can make random sayings when people look at you differently…I think I dropped my “whatever” outside. I just needed some air. It’s a bit hot in here. I need to use the loo. My mobile reception is horrible here let me step over there.

    Try to challenge yourself daily. It’s an amazing feeling even if you do it once. I wish you the best and many successes.

    Like

  15. thelifewithowen says:

    Love your site! Love how open you are about everything. I suffer from BD Type 2. I was diagnosed 4 years ago, thought maybe it was wrong, but I began seeing a new doctor after my son was born and he too diagnosed me with it. I rapid cycle between hours and days. it I’m open about my depression and anxiety, but have yet to openly share my BPD. I’m not ashamed of it, but I just don’t know how it will affect some things in my life and sadly, there is less stigma and more awareness about depression than BPD.

    Thanks for being brave and sharing your story! I seem to be struggling more now that I had a child. The hormones and added stress have been at its peak. Just restarted taking Lamictal and I am very excited to see if things get better!

    Great site. Can’t wait to follow your journey!

    XO

    Like

    • bylaurenhayley says:

      Thank you I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my blog. You’re right, BPD is so much less understood and accepted than many other mental health conditions, hopefully it’s only a matter of time before the disorder can gain the same level of understanding – especially if I have anything to do with it!!

      Like

  16. rkoenig9 says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! This was very valuable information. My mother has Borderline Personality Disorder and I’ve learned over many years, the need to ‘walk on eggshells’ around her.

    Like

  17. turnanewleafmassage says:

    Thank you for checking out my post about my story with anxiety. Your post is very informative. In my massage and energy work practice I see lots of clients with different mental health issues, especially since my office is shared with a clinical psychologist. This gives me a better understanding of what some people may be going through on a daily basis. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. whisperweight says:

    Thank you for writing such a very concise, clear and compassionate guide to these disorders, a couple of which I share (though bpd is very much barely officially a Dx for me).

    Really nice to have this as a resource!

    Like

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