Living With and Recovering From Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

SADnLONELY: The anger is the worst part for me. The slightest bit of anger brings me to a boiling point and it takes control over me. It has me so afraid of hurting others that I must hurt myself in order to stay safe.

SpunkyH: I do push him away. Since we have a brother and sister relationship, I feel so bad because he is a wonderful man and I am not willing to give of myself since the memories have came back. I, like you, want to die the minute I feel that he is not supportive because life is just not worth hurting the ones I love over and over again, but then I realize the truth that me not being here would hurt them more. I learned this through years of psychiatric care.

bordergirl: I can SO identify with the black and white part. I struggle with it everyday. The worst part of having BPD is staying in therapy on a regular basis (for me anyway).

SpunkyH: Boy, I can relate to that. The 'Good or I want to die' switch happens so quick sometimes.

David: Here's the next question:

furby5: Are you able to maintain close relationships with people or do you run away when people get too close?

Melissa Thornton: I tend to maintain close relationships - quality not quantity. BPs tend to be caretakers of everyone but themselves. Some relationships with friends became too unhealthy for me. If I was up they'd bring me down; if I was down they might sink my boat almost.

David: Do you still deal with fears of abandonment?

Melissa Thornton: Yes, I do. Sometimes I dream my husband has taken my son and left me. This has translated into really terrifying clingy behaviors. I finally got a mental analogy that worked for me to stop the clingy behavior or slow me from it. That is when you're swimming underwater (which life with BPD feels like a lot to me), the more you reach out to grasp something - a penny floating down or whatever, the more your own movement pushes it away from you. So, I try to be less afraid of my unconscious thoughts (dreams), but very much on top of my early warning signs of negative behaviors so that I can put my safety plan and skills into motion before I do something that might be pushing my husband away and/or making him feel I am unsafe to be a mother.

David: You have been dealing with mental illness for over 10 years now. A lot of times people come to the site or conferences and ask "when will I recover?," meaning when will all the symptoms go away. Do you still hold out hope for that or do you believe it's a matter of managing the symptoms for the rest of your life?

Melissa Thornton: I do want a full recovery, but I have learned from several doctors that I will likely be on medication for my lifetime. I also know from Highland Hospital studies that as we grow older with BPD we can "outgrow" the worst symptoms. In fact, some Borderlines have reached the point - 75% of the known BPD population, in this aging group in fact - no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for the illness. So there's always hope. But to live hopefully is a life worth living. Not hoping for full recovery, I believe.

David: And when you say "grow older," at what age are you talking about when you outgrow the symptoms or many of the symptoms?

Melissa Thornton: That's a grey or "rainbow" area, David. The Highland studies found that those approaching 50 and having had the illness and professional help for it for at least 5 -10 years met the criteria for the 75% recovered group.

David: One of the other things I noticed is that you keep track of your moods, symptoms, behaviors, feelings; like you monitor your condition so you know when things are off kilter and you need to take some positive action. I don't know if you have ever heard of the author Mary Ellen Copeland, but this reminds me a lot of what she advocates as part of her "wellness plan."

Melissa Thornton: Yes, I have seen her work book. I journal - maybe a natural outgrowth of being a writer by trade, but others help me as well. My husband mentions when he thinks something is off and it might really hack me off but then I reflect or look over journal entries and/or ask a close friend and usually apologize and thank him for his insight.

David: Here is Mary Ellen Copeland's site. There's a lot of excellent information there about developing a crisis plan, dealing with depression, manic depression, suicidal thoughts, having support and a wellness action recovery plan .

And do you have a website, Melissa? If so, please post the link?

Melissa Thornton: No, but my publisher does.

David: Good. Melissa's book is: "Eclipses: Behind The Borderline Personality Disorder." It can be purchased by clicking on this link.

Some kind words from an audience member for our guest tonight:

missnic: I wanna thank you Melissa. I have always felt so alone and different and isolated, but after seeing everyone here and reading your chat I don't feel so alone or so different. It has helped. Thank you.

David: Thank you, Melissa, for being our guest tonight and for sharing this information with us. And to those in the audience, thank you for coming and participating. I hope you found it helpful. We have a very large and active community here at You will always find people in the chatrooms and interacting with various sites. Also, if you found our site beneficial, I hope you'll pass our URL around to your friends, mail list buddies, and others.

Melissa Thornton: Thank you for having me this evening. I learned a good deal and feel less alone also.

David: Thank you again, Melissa. I know you were a bit nervous at first, but you did a wonderful job and we appreciate you coming tonight and staying late. Good night, everyone.

Disclaimer: We are not recommending or endorsing any of the suggestions of our guest. In fact, we strongly encourage you to talk over any therapies, remedies or suggestions with your doctor BEFORE you implement them or make any changes in your treatment.


back to:  Personality Disorders Conference Transcripts ~ Other Conferences Index ~ Personality Disorders Home

Last Updated: 12 April 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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