When most people think of someone with BPD (maybe themselves) they think of someone depressed and at high risk of suicide, but a new study in the Netherlands shows the opposite is true. It is NOT the downs of BPD that cause people troubles it is the highs we often experience. Before we get into this study I will give you a trigger warning as some of the stats and subject matters can be quite provocative. Anyway, let’s get into it…
Before I get into the whys of what the study shows I will get straight to the bullet-point results. In a 12 month study of 58 women undergoing DBT less than half finished the full course of therapy and of those who finished it just 37% felt better, but here is the shocker, of the 77% of those who didn’t finish it almost all of them experienced more excessive ‘highs’ (mania) with most of those who finished the course witnessing that they mostly felt the extreme ‘lows’ (depression) side of BPD. In short, the highs of BPD are much harder to deal with than the lows.
I feel it is worth pointing out here that when we talk about the ‘highs’ (mania) of BPD, we are not talking about happy days or good days. We are talking about our minds being way beyond that point. When we talk about a high in our BPD day it is a time we are at our most self-destructive. These mania points in our day will often lead to things like self-harming, suicidal thoughts and our explosive tempers on full show. But hence the reason for the results of the study!
While it is hard to explain to anyone without BPD what a manic episode looks and feels like you really can’t do much about it at all, there is a feeling that you are almost out of control of both your mind and your body. Meanwhile, when you fall into a low depressive state you are at least more in control of your own actions, but less in control of your mind. DBT teaches people how to control their thoughts and emotions hence the reason BPD individuals who experience more lower points than higher points throughout the day we more able to finish the course and gain the benefits that DBT offers. It does explain why so many of us with BPD believe talk-based therapies have little to no benefit.
While this study (which you can read here) is not very kind to DBT as a whole, it is an interesting read if you can wrap your head around the findings and terminologies. So do give it a look yourself and let me know what you thought about it in the comments below. In the meanwhile, if you have any questions relating to BPD or just require some help or advice do get in touch with us via the Contact Us page.