- I am working on Book 3 in The Guards of the Shadowlands series! My editor loved Book 2, and I'll be doing revisions on it soon, but for the moment I'm trying to crank out a first draft of Book 3. I'm hoping to have that draft by the beginning of June, but with everything else that's happening, I wonder if that's too ambitious. I'll let you know.
- I received cover proofs for SANCTUM and oh, oh, oh, they are gorgeous. I can't wait to show you guys the cover. When I first opened the file, I started crying. There was just something incredibly emotional about seeing a visualization of my story concept. More updates on that very soon!
Borderline personality disorder can be found in approximately 5-6% of the population (that's from the study I link to in this paragraph, which was a pretty thorough one, but other estimates put the prevalence at only 1-2%). A relatively recent epidemiologic survey study (of over 35,000 people) found that there's no gender difference in the prevalence of this disorder, which was previously thought to be more common in women. The study did show that the disorder is associated with more general mental and physical impairment in women, however.
The symptoms, according to the DSM-IV: Like with all personality disorders, BPD is a pervasive pattern (meaning it occurs across relationships, situations, and settings) of impairment. With BPD, that impairment occurs in interpersonal relationships, with self-image, emotion, and impulsivity. To be diagnosed with the disorder, someone must show five or more of the following symptoms:
- "Frantic" efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships in which the person alternates between idealization and devaluation (often referred to as black-white thinking or splitting)
- Markedly and persistently unstable self image or sense of self (in other words, you like yourself one hour, and despise yourself the next, in a really extreme way)
- Impsulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (like spending, sex, alcohol/drug use, binge eating, or reckless driving)
- Recurrent suicidal behavior or self-mutilating behavior
- Intense mood reactivity (extreme emotions in response to situations)
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger
- Stress-related paranoia or dissociative symptoms
Interestingly, a few psychiatrists have diagnosed fictional character Anakin Skywalker as having BPD, and even used him as a teaching example. There's a great article on that by Dr. Carolyn Kaufman here.
There is an effective treatment for BPD called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (there's no drug that helps, not really).The developer of DBT, Dr. Marsha Linehan (who, by the way, has had a long and productive career in psychology, and has helped a lot of people), disclosed recently that she was actually diagnosed with this disorder as a teenager--and if you want to read a truly inspirational story, go read this article about her. I promise you will not regret the time you spend on it.
Just a note about this disorder: the label "borderline" comes with a whole lot of stigma, so when I hear "I think this person has borderline personality disorder" (or worse: "I think this person is borderline"), I tend to interpret it as code for "I'm not sure how to help this person, so I'm using a label to neatly categorize him/her in a way that allows me to feel less guilty about it." (Hey, it's a complex code.) I'm definitely not saying all mental health clinicians do this, and I certainly don't believe any do it on purpose. But I am saying that my ears perk when I hear the phrase, and I start asking A LOT of questions.
In general, I think our diagnostic system is really useful, and helps us develop more effective treatments for problems that cause a lot of suffering. However, I think these terms are always at risk for being used in ways that dismiss complex human beings or add to the stigma, and of course, that bothers me. <end of rant>
Aaand because it's Monday, go check out Lydia's Medical Monday post, and Laura's Mental Health Monday post (zombies! yipes!).