FBPDA Florida Borderline Personality
December Disorder Association
FBPDA is dedicated
to bringing Borderline Who We Are
to the forefront of
awareness in Florida.
W elcome to the very first edition of the newsletter for the Florida Border-
line Personality Disorder Association.
FBPDA is a newly-formed nonprofit organization dedicated to educating all
What is Borderline Floridians about this disorder. Unfortunately, there are many prevalent myths
Personality Disorder? about borderline personality disorder. The most common include:
Disorder (BPD) is a per- Borderline Personality Disorder isn’t treatable and the prognosis is poor.
sonality disorder that af- Persons diagnosed with BPD do not benefit from medications.
fects mood, sense of
identity, and behavior. “Borderlines” are manipulative.
This complex disorder Consumers diagnosed with BPD are purposefully difficult and needy.
is usually characterized
by a fragile sense of self, Men are not diagnosed with BPD.
feelings of emptiness, and The truth is that none of these assertions are wholly factual. Over many years,
a fear of abandonment.
borderline personality disorder has been shrouded by many inaccuracies—
Unstable and intense rela-
tionships are common, even throughout the mental health field. We believe that these false beliefs ac-
with a pattern of alternat- tually harm persons diagnosed with BPD, their families, and friends.
ing extremes and black/
An important part of our job will be to deliver up-to-date psychiatric informa-
white thinking. BPD pat-
terns reflect an instability tion about borderline personality disorder so that fiction can be replaced with
regarding control over truth.
impulses and disturbed
I’d like to invite you to read this newsletter and then pass it on to colleagues,
behaviors, including ad-
dictions, self-harm, and friends, consumers, and family members. You can also go to our website at
suicidal ideation. fbpda.org for additional information. Please—educate yourself. Educate others.
The DSM-IV lists 9 BPD I look forward to your thoughts, opinions, and ideas about borderline personal-
traits, 5 of which need be
present for a diagnosis. ity disorder and the future of FBPDA. I can be reached at (941) 704-4328.
However, no exact set of Thank you.
criteria applies to every-
one, and a varied degree Amanda L. Smith
of BPD exists. Executive Director
Personality Disorder is a In this Issue:
serious psychiatric condi- BPD is less well known than
tion, it is treatable. Recov- Who We Are
ery is possible, and the schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, Mission Statement
Florida Borderline Person- but it is actually quite prevalent. NEA-BPD Conference
ality Disorder Association BPD affects approximately 2% of the Research Info
is committed to aware-
ness, education, and general population. A Personal Story
support. How You Can Help
Page 2 Florida Borderline Personality Disorder Association
The mission of the Florida Borderline Personality Disorder Association is to promote
awareness, education, and research of borderline personality disorder and cultivate an
atmosphere of support among professionals, consumers, and families throughout the state.
NEA-BPD Conference Nota Bene
By Gisele M. Requena
O n October 6, the NEA-BPD presented “From Research to
Treatment” in Ft. Worth, TX. Featuring top researchers,
F BPDA is committed to highlighting research we
find on BPD. We see this as integral to BPD
education. While we do not necessarily endorse
clinicians, families, and consumers, the association lived up to specific findings or research projects, we believe
its name as the National Educational Alliance for Borderline that education is key to understanding this disorder.
Personality Disorder. Informative, helpful, and most of all hope-
ful, the conference brought those affected by or interested in Consumer-clinician co-taught borderline
borderline disorder together, to discuss, learn, and collaborate. personality disorder training: A pilot evaluation.
The conference’s main message: Borderline Personality Dis- Krawitz, R., Jackson, W. Int J Ment Health Nursing.
order is treatable. Shattering old myths, the researchers pre- 2007 Oct; 16(5):360-4. A pilot evaluation of 73
sented new data on the development of the disorder, treat- participants attending the training rated the training
ments, neuroscience studies, and the role of medication. For as superior to evaluations of an earlier clinician-only-
years, borderlines have been labeled as emotionally unstable, training. This study of a co-taught training program
unresponsive to treatment, and incurable. This conference pre- found that the consumer input added substantial
sented the reverse: that BPD is manageable and responsive to value. Consumer input into education programs can
treatment. Dr. Glen Gabbard’s “Advancing the Agenda” ad- make a positive contribution to the delivery of mental
dressed this change in thinking. He stressed, “BPD is treatable health services training .
and not hopelessly chronic.” Significant improvement is possi- Effects of dialectic-behavioral-therapy on the
ble. Dr. Gabbard further noted that the “therapeutic alliance is neural correlates of affective hyperarousal in
the best predictor of outcome.” Getting and continuing treat-
borderline personality disorder. Schnell, Knut;
ment, persons with BPD can work on issues, examine behav-
Herpertz, Sabine C. Journal of Psychiatric Research.
iors, learn new skills, and live productively.
2007 Nov; Vol 41(10): 837-847. Affective hyper-
It was encouraging to be in a room full of people committed
arousal is the hallmark of borderline personality
to studying BPD and wanting to help. The positive setting in-
disorder (BPD) and the main target for dialectic-
cluded clinicians dedicated to treating borderlines and families
behavioral-therapy (DBT). Study examined whether
who lead support groups. A message of hope prevailed; a
improved regulation of affective arousal following
message we all need to hear; a message that the conference
DBT translates into changes in neural systems.
treated as fact, because it is.
One of the most moving presentations was by Tami Green, Basal cortisol and DHEA levels in women with
who shared her own story. (Her Congressional testimony is borderline personality disorder. Jogems-Kosterman
available on the NEA-BPD website.) Everyone in the room BJ; de Knijff DW; Kusters R; van Hoof, JJ. Journal of
could relate to her words and she got a standing ovation for Psychiatric Research. 2007 Dec; 41(12):1019-26.
her honesty and courage. She shows that one person can Previous research suggests that in BPD, normal
make a difference. I can. You can. And FBPDA can, too. Bor- stress regulation, with a main role for cortisol, is
derlines are not hopeless cases—we can do this, we need to disturbed. However, most studies were confounded
do this, and we at FBPDA are here to help. by their lack of attention to co-morbidity. Relevant
characteristics such as depression, childhood
For more on NEA-BPD visit abuse, PTSD and coping styles were not
FPDA Page 3
My Personal Journey with BPD
By Gisele M. Requena www.borderlinedisorder.wordpress.com
I have Borderline Personality Disorder. It is my condition,
but I am not my disorder. BPD affected my life before I
knew what it was. This is my story.
incurable. I couldn’t believe
some professionals will not
treat us. Feeling helpless, I
BPD is my
then latched on to my diagno- condition.
At 13, I knew something was “wrong” with me. I had an
overwhelming sadness. I figured I was crazy and would sis and wouldn’t let go. Em- But it is not
end up institutionalized. My family said I was acting out, braced it fully to explain why I who I am.
refusing to control myself, and purposely causing prob- was so messed up and always
lems. I didn’t have the words to articulate what was going would be. Until I had enough.
on. I just knew I hurt. A lot. And I didn’t get why. My self-pity made things worse. It was time for change.
I locked myself in rooms, refused to deal with anyone, It terrified me, but I had to do it.
then hated them for abandoning me. I had fits of rage that I found help I didn’t know existed. I see a therapist
scared me. I screamed, threw things, kicked doors, who helps me examine my behaviors, gently guiding
banged my head against the wall. I hid in darkness, phys- me to awareness and change. I now see that at every
ically and emotionally. I was obsessed with suicide. I felt turn I have a choice. A scary yet powerful thought. But I
alone with no idea what was happening. I was terrified. moved forward. I reach(ed) the inevitable crossroad:
I followed a similar pattern for years. My solution was to look forward or retreat again. I’ve made my choice and
keep moving, changing cities and jobs. It had to be better started to make the right steps. I’m here with greater
somewhere. I just had to find that magical place where I strength and knowledge. I get scared, but I will not give
belonged. Find me. But the crash always came, harder up. Because I believe in recovery. My BPD is something
each time. Then I’d return “home” to Miami to “recover,” to manage for life. But it is possible. I am surprised to
but really because I couldn’t take care of myself. I was still be alive. And I am surprised that just understanding
(and am) ashamed of this. I hate this pattern, and last this condition has made a huge difference.
year I ended up here again. Hopeless and terrified. All I With the right treatment, I’ve made a lot of progress,
heard in my head was: can’t, can’t, can’t. The sense of which I work on daily. Recognize the triggers, check my
worthlessness. Major fear. Why even bother? impulses, monitor my reactions. Move forward even as
I was misdiagnosed often. Doctors treated my moods fear arises and I stumble. But now I know the “why”
with changes in meds. I suspect any borderline reading behind the “what.” My rage is more controlled. I think
this knows what I mean. I grew tired of the struggle, the more before I act. I examine my behaviors. I’m not so
not getting better, the lack of respect for me as a person. hard on myself all the time. And when I fall, and I still
I still couldn’t figure it out, and I felt it was up to me to do, I am able to get up again. That’s progress I never
make sense of this. My own diagnosis was swift and sim- thought possible. It can be difficult and overwhelming
ple: I am worthless, have no skills, everyone abandons at times, but it actually feels good to get to know my
me, and I do everything wrong. I am a waste of space. self. I actually am confident that I can get better. Wow.
It wasn’t until age 33 that I started to cut. Drink to ex- I am part of FPBDA because it is not about others
cess. Shoplift. I felt empty. I binged again, but I added making decisions for us. It is about us, all of us. It’s
purging. The pain was worse than ever. I felt permanently time we were heard. We are not objects, tagged as bor-
broken. I had no sense of self. I wanted to die. So I left derline and left on a shelf. We are individuals with differ-
San Francisco and continued my behaviors in Florida. I ent situations and responses to treatments. We have a
spent a year doing nothing but get worse and think about condition, and we can get better. Maybe someday we’ll
suicide. Then somehow I got to the point where the hurt overcome judgment and stigma. We need proper diag-
was too much. I needed help or I would die—maybe not nosis and therapy. And we need understanding and
physically, but I wouldn’t be really living. I hit the bottom patience—from others and mostly from ourselves.
of bottom and something in me said: it’s time. To my I am a borderline. I am an individual. We all have our
amazement, someone listened. And these words that journeys. This is mine.
changed my life: I have Borderline Personality Disorder.
It took 22 years for me to be diagnosed, and I went If you want to know more about my life with BPD,
through 3 stages many of us experience. First, relief: Ah, my url is above. Please note: it is raw in content
so this is why this happens. It’s not just me. Then came and language. I am not ashamed, and I refuse to
terror, from how we are often described—difficult and hide who I am. Especially as I discover it myself.
Florida Borderline Personality
233 3rd St. North, Suite 103
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
FBPDA will keep you informed about new
developments in BPD, relevant events
and seminars, and resources in your
community. Check our website for our
We want to reach people throughout Florida
who have a professional or personal interest in
BPD. We encourage that you share this
newsletter with others.
If you are not on our mailing list and would like
to be added, please email Amanda. Or if you
want to be removed from our list, let us know.
Get Involved Board Members
Talk To Us & Look For Join Us a professional, a con- Amanda L. Smith
Our Survey sumer, a family member, Executive Director
Think you would be a
or a friend, let us hear firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be conducting a great addition to our
needs assessment survey board? We are welcoming from you. We welcome
Gisele M. Requena
geared toward what you new members and want to input on our newsletter,
our website, and our or-
know about BPD, what hear from interested per- email@example.com
you want to know, and sons. We aim to have a ganization. What would
what would best help to mix of consumers, profes- you like to see in a future April Lott
enhance education about sionals, and family mem- newsletter? Email Gisele
BPD. Tell us your experi- bers on our board. Call or with your feedback. Michael R. Roush
ences, ideas, and view- email Amanda with ques- Samm Simpson
points. We want to know tions about board mem- Donate
where our professional bership and find out how As a non-profit organiza-
community stands and you can be an integral part tion, we welcome dona-
how much knowledge and of our association. tions from individuals, Borderline
specialization is out there businesses, and organiza-
on BPD. Email Us tions. Your contributions Personality
We value what you have to are tax-deductible.
We will have survey de-
tails in our next issue and say and would like to Any amount helps. We are
on our website. Or contact know how we can best here to serve you, but we treatable.
us today! help you. Whether you are can’t do it without you.