Tag Archives: Mood Swings

BPD Criteria and Me

Yesterday, I came across someone going through the BPD criteria and describing how he met them. I thought I would do the same, so here goes. My diagnosis was based on DSM-IV-TR criiteria because the Netherlands has not yet implemented DSM5. You need to meet at least five criteria out of nine. I meet at least six and most likely two more.

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Well, I have a huge fear of abandonment, but my attempts at coping with it tend to lead to actually being abandoned. I often can predict when someone is going to abandon me, but am not sure whether this is a self-fulfilling prophecy, good empathy, or magical thinking.
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. This is the one criterion I mostly don’t recognize. Oh well, I do on occasion push my husband away by saying I don’t love him anymore. In this sense, I am the stereotypical “I hate you, don’t leave me” type. My husband says his presumption about borderlines is that people fight tooth and nail then five minutes later are cuddling.. I don’t do that.
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. This is definitely me. As I pointed out in a previous post, I have no sense of self at all beyond the labels I carry, and in fact am just learning to use my own labels rather than those stuck on me. I tend to have my identity depend on how others see me.
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (eg. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Binge eating an running off into dangerous situations for me (ie. going for walks without watching for traffic). This is not suicidal behavior. Spending when in a hyperactive mood.
  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior. Well, I self-harm and often make suicidal threats. when talking on the phone with my sister about my new BPD diagnosis, she said that mild self-injury like I do does not really count and that I make suicidal threats for attention. Well, I disagree with the “for attention” bit but really it doesn’t matter.
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days). This is so true for me. I have rapidly shifting moods from irritable to anxious to hyper etc. My sister got talking of manic depression, but then moods have to last for a couple of days to weeks. Mine don’t. I return to “normal” (ie. slightly depressed and irritable) or another mood episode within a day or so.
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness. I’m not really sure about this one as I have good reason to feel empty, ie. no job or extensive day activities. Then again, the feeling of emptiness can come for no reason and go with another perseveration or impulsive action.
  8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (eg. frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights). I don’t physically fight but I do have recurrent temper outbursts. For me, I’m not too sure whether they’re meltdowns or outbursts, but I do have them in situations other than when overloaded too.
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms. Well, duh. I have both actually. I get terribly paranoid when under stress and obviously have dissociative symptoms, ie. feelings of not being myself, chronic depersonalization and derealization, occasional amnesia.

I have been trying to find DSM5 criteria, but can’t. I know a new model for diagnosising personality disorders has been proposed, which bases the diagnosis on a combination of impairments in personality functioning and personality traits, but this model is used for research purposes only.

Autism, Special Interests, and Elevated Moods

Many years ago, I read an article on Suite101 or About.com or the like that discussed similarities between Asperger’s Syndrome and bipolar disorder. The parent who wrote the article described her son’s mood swings from elated to depressed. However, she realized that these mood swings were related to whether the son could engage in some special interest.

I find the same thing happen to me, but in my case, it also ties in with the dissociative or emotion dysregulation symptoms. I find that when I’m in a particular personality state, I engage in a certain special interest a lot more than when I’m in another state. For example, Clarissa is my blogger part, who is behind most of the posts on this blog. Annemiek is my crafter. And I at this point can’t think of anyone else.

Getting back to mood swings, I must say that I get very elated when I engage in a particular interest for a certain period of time. I uttered the phrase that I would’ve been manic if I experienced this (mania) at all. In a way, this is extremely inappropriate and comparable to when a currently mentally healthy person talks about “going all OCD”. I in no way want to say I suffer from bipolar (hypo)mania, but these mood swings do get problematic at times.

For example, last night I didn’t sleep at all. I spent around $80 on useless online services without even bothering to read the not-so-fine print that clearly said these services would not be working for me. I actually took a PRN Phenergan at 2:00 AM, before I went ont he shopping spree, but swung right through it. Phenergan, for those not familiar with it, is a strong tranquilizer or low-potency neuroleptic. I’m now relatively calm again, so again I in no way mean to compare myself to people who have these experiences for weeks on end, but I do see actually how this could become a problem.

So, should autism parents limit their children’s special interests in order to prvent this from happening. I don’t think this is universally the case, but parents must teach their children about time and money management. I, having been pretty stingy as a child and teen, never really had to learn about this. I always had enough money on my hands anyway. I actually must say I have no clue about budgeting, and really don’t know whether I need to learn it yet. I guess so.