Thursday, May 17, 2018

Borderline Personality Disorder, What is it?

Rev. Steve Bloem, B.A. M.M. is a certified DBT therapist.  He and his team were trained by Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of  Washington in the years 1996 and 1997.  Steve and another team member started and administered one of the first DBT programs in the Community Mental Health System. in the U.S.A.He is now in private practice in Palm Beach County, Florida.

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In the past, people thought that someone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) was “on the borderline” between psychosis and neurosis (anxiety/depression). Today, we know much more about BPD, and there is more research on BPD than any other personality disorder.

But there is a lot of stigma around personality disorders. People living with borderline personality disorder may be given hurtful labels. But no one is ever just their diagnosis, whether they’re living with a personality disorder or any other mental illness. There is hope and there is help

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that affects the way to relate to other people and the way you relate to yourself. If you’re living with borderline personality disorder, you might feel like there’s something fundamentally wrong with who you are or you might feel ‘flawed’ or worthless, or you might not even have a good sense of who you are as a person. Your moods might be extreme and change all the time, and you might have a hard time controlling impulses or urges. You may have a hard time trusting others and you may be very scared of being abandoned or alone.

BPD is made up of five groups of symptoms: unstable behavior, unstable emotions, unstable relationships, unstable sense of identity and awareness problems.

Unstable behavior means that you often act on impulses or urges, even when they hurt you or other people. Some examples of impulse control problems are:
  • Thinking about or attempting suicide
  • Hurting yourself on purpose, such as cutting or burning your skin (self-harm)
  • Risky behaviors like spending a lot of money, binge eating or problematic substance use
Unstable emotions mean that your moods can be extreme and change very quickly. Some examples of unstable emotions are:
  • Extreme depression, anxiety or irritability that might last for only a few hours or days, usually in response to a stressful event
  • Intense anger or difficulty controlling anger
  • Intense boredom
Unstable relationships mean that you have a hard time maintaining relationships with other people. Some example of relationship problems are:
  • Doing anything you can to avoid being abandoned or alone
  • Feeling like you don’t know yourself or having very unstable sense of who you are and how you feel about yourself
  • Intense relationships where you often impulsively shift between seeing the other person as ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’
Unstable sense of identity means that you don’t have a good sense of who you are as a person. Some examples of an unstable sense of identity include:
  • Feeling like you don’t know yourself
  • Having a very unstable sense of who you are and how you feel about yourself
  • Feeling “empty” much of the time
Awareness problems mean that, from time to time only and often in response to a stressful event, you experience sensations or feelings that aren’t based in reality. Some examples of awareness problems are:
  • Feeling like you’re separated from your mind or body (dissociative symptoms) or losing track of time.
There are many different combinations of symptoms, so BPD can look very different among people with the illness. To diagnose BPD, mental health clinicians look for patterns of behavior that last for a long time and have caused distress or problems with relationships or other areas of life, such as work.

From Kregel Publications

Christians dealing with mental illness often first look to their pastors for help. Few pastors, however, are trained to recognize and deal with mental illness, and they can unintentionally give advice that is ineffective or even dangerous.

Counselor Steve Bloem fills this void by equipping pastors and other church leaders to identify the symptoms of common mental disorders, to offer biblical encouragement and comfort to those suffering from them, and to decide when to refer them to mental-health professionals.

Bloem makes a foundational biblical case for the reality and treatment of mental illnesses, and he dispels a number of myths about those who suffer from them. Drawing on extensive counseling and pastoral experience, he provides essential tools and advice for those in ministry to help people battling depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, and other mental illnesses. Pastors, counselors, and seminary students will find this handbook to be an indispensable guide for these important issues. 
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