This article is published in the book:

"Psych 101 -
What you didn't learn in nursing school."

by Kathi Stringer
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0615193137

Borderline Personality Disorder
Day One - The Basic Five

 Written by Kathi Stringer

If you have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder or care about someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, then this site is for you. Begin with reading Borderline Personality Disorder: Day One, written by a person that was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Day One: You have just been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and you’re perhaps wondering exactly what is Borderline Personality Disorderand what to expect from your treater. This is a good place to start. As you begin your journey, there are 5 basic things you need to know in order begin recovery. Once we are finished, I will help you get more of what you need to know.


Focus on knowledge, commitment and attitude. This is important. Learn everything you can about Borderline Personality Disorder. Kathi’s Mental Health Review can help you do that. Another good source for some basic information is written in a book called, “I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me.” It’s cheap. Get it.

It is hard to recover from Borderline Personality Disorder but not impossible. It takes a firm commitment on your part. Statistics are against you because most individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder drop out of treatment and continue to victimize them selves. This is why it is important to stay focused and committed. Your treater, best friend, family and support system are great for knowledge and guidance, but in reality you must make this journey alone. It would be like working out; only the person lifting the weight is going to get the most benefit.

Keep a good attitude. In the beginning and during the recovery process you may regress with setbacks. This is to be expected. When this happens don’t be too hard on yourself. The mistake is not from falling down, but from not getting back up again.


Find a good therapist. This is most important. Some therapists won’t work with Borderline Personality Disorder because it drains them, so ask about this right up front. Remember, the therapist is not there to be your buddy and best friend, but to challenge you. Evidence shows that a therapist that specializes in Borderline Personality Disorder will help you get better, faster. If you have your therapist wrapped around your finger, then it’s time to move on. You are just wasting your money and your time.

Ask a lot of questions about your care. It’s okay to disagree with a treatment strategy. It is okay to be a part of the decision making process so when the plan is set into motion you will feel comfortable and compliant. After all, it’s your mental health at stake, not theirs.


Don’t be afraid of change. It is okay to have Borderline Personality Disorder. What is not okay is too accept it without motivation for change. People in general hate change. Jack that up 1000% for individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. If you lose your focus, and remember nothing else, remember this; you need to change for the healing process to begin.


You are not your illness. Rather you are a unique individual with Borderline Personality Disorder. So don’t beat yourself up for this. Treaters tend to generalize when speaking about Borderline Personality Disorder behaviors. To meet the Borderline Personality Disorder criteria as outlined in the DSM IV-R, your treater’s reference book, you must at least meet 5 of the 9 symptoms. You may meet only 5 or all 9 in the severest form. This translates into 156 different variations for Borderline Personality Disorder and each may present much differently to a treater. Keep this in mind when you search for knowledge since some information may not apply to your particular symptoms.


Get a good support system, a network. The worst thing you can do is put the full load on a single person. Spread it out because they won’t be able to handle it and will burnout. That will make you feel worse. Set up a plan for when certain feelings begin to overwhelm you because sometimes a person with Borderline Personality Disorder can’t do it alone.

There is also support on the Internet. You will meet folks that can listen and validate what you are going trough. It can also provide a forum of you to journal. However, you should also know the pitfalls from this type of support. Be careful from falling into the trap of becoming the Borderline Personality Disorder identity. Some individuals don’t want to get better and hang onto Borderline Personality Disorder because without it they will feel emptier.

These are the Basic 5. Keep them handy. Be good to yourself and give yourself a hug from time to time. If you find that you are knee-deep in self-pity for a few days, that’s fine but remember to snap out of it.