Being Older with Borderline Personality Disorder

Being Older with Borderline Personality Disorder

It is well known that as people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) age, many experience a reduction in their symptoms. You don’t see as many hospitalized as you do the younger folks with BPD. I’m a good example. I’m 46. I’ve never been this stable or this close to “normal” ever. I lived crisis to crisis most of my life and I just cannot live that way any longer.

Now I have learned with my recent divorce that stress can still bring on my illnesses. I did not become as ill as I once was in my earlier years. People that know me are probably saying,” My God how ill was she?” LOL But I became ill again. Many of the symptoms of both the BPD and the BP came back and when they did they came back strong.

I had lived for many years almost symptom-free from the BPD and doing fairly well with the BP. So I cannot speak for others but when I hear folks say they are cured, etc. I don’t believe it and the research goes against that. BUT, we can live almost symptom-free if we stay as far away from stress as possible and take care of ourselves which is a whole other newsletter at least.

Had an interesting “talk” with a woman who feels almost the same way I do and I believe older people with BPD feel this way a lot. I told an excellent psychiatrist that I used to be very gregarious but as I got older I have pulled myself away from people. I am not very interested in friendships, etc. I want to live my life somewhat isolated. Perhaps some of it is post-traumatic stress disorder. I don’t know. She said that those feelings were common among people with BPD as they got older because we had such a hard time with relationships – so much so that we back away.

I think she is correct in my situation. I have had relationships that were very hurtful and just plain “crazy” and I feel burned out.

So this woman wrote and said “I was diagnosed with BPD about 10 years ago but mostly have been treated for depression for clinicians without much BPD experience. Anyway, while I used to have unstable relationships with a lot of volatility and craziness when someone left me, now I just don’t have relationships. I’ve kept myself away from any kind of romantic relationship for years, and while I have relationships with a few family members, I don’t share a lot of what is going on. I spent one year about three years ago entirely isolated — I stayed home and didn’t talk to anyone. Now I’m a little more social but generally, I don’t talk to people about personal things and even when I’m at a social engagement I enjoy I have to come home and balance it out with hours and hours (usually at least 24 hours) of being alone. Part of it is that I just became so horrified at my own behaviour toward people I cared about that I cut myself off from everyone. When I’m by myself I can be in my own little fantasy world, and even though it is lonely, it is less lonely than being with other people and having to face the fact that I just don’t have a lot to offer anymore. I’m going to be 40 in a few months, and I’ve lost so much — career-wise, intelligence-wise, socially — due to this illness that I’m not the same person I used to be and I can’t like who I am. I barely have a life. I’m just curious if social avoidance is where other borderlines head as they get older. It IS less painful than the craziness.”

All credit for this post goes to Patty E. Fleener, thank you Patty.

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