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A complex personality disorder where a person experiences instability in their relationships, moods, thinking, behaviour — even in their identity.


A person with a borderline personality disorder (BPD), most probably feels like they are on a rollercoaster — and not just because of their unstable emotions or relationships, but also because of their wavering sense of who they are.


Their self-image, goals, and even their likes and dislikes may change frequently in ways that feel confusing and unclear.


People with BPD tend to be extremely sensitive. Some describe it as like they are having an exposed nerve ending. Small things can trigger intense reactions. And once upset, have trouble calming down. It’s easy to understand how this emotional volatility and inability to self-soothe leads to relationship turmoil and impulsive — even reckless — behaviour.


When a person with BPD is in the throws of overwhelming emotions, they are unable to think straight or stay grounded. They may say hurtful things or act out in dangerous or inappropriate ways that then make them feel guilty or ashamed afterwards.


It’s a painful cycle that can feel impossible to escape. But it’s not. There are effective BPD treatments and coping skills that can help people with BPD feel better and back in control of their thoughts, feelings, and actions.


There are many complex things happening in the BPD brain, and researchers are still untangling what it all means. But in essence, if you have BPD, your brain is on high alert. Things feel scarier and more stressful to you than they do to other people. Your fight-or-flight switch is easily tripped, and once it’s on, it hijacks your rational brain, triggering primitive survival instincts that aren’t always appropriate to the situation at hand.


This may make it sound as if there’s nothing that can be done. After all, what can you do if your brain is different? But the truth is that you can change your brain. Every time you practice a new coping response or self-soothing technique you are creating new neural pathways. Some treatments, such as mindfulness meditation, can even grow your brain matter. And the more you practice, the stronger and more automatic these pathways will become. So, don’t give up! With time and dedication, it is possible to change the way we think, feel, and act.