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.
So I’m going to break it down so you can see what goes on inside mine (and Susanna’s) head.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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
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.
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!
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.
- 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
Exposure therapy is the best form of treatment for Agoraphobia. CBT and learning breathing techniques can also be useful.
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: