Borderline Personality Disorder: Joanie’s Story

In our continuing series on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) (see links below), we will look today at the story of Joanie. Joanie began to display the initial symptoms of BPD when she was in her late teens but was not formally diagnosed with the disorder for several years.

As is typical of persons suffering BPD, Joanie’s personality is essentially unstable, with inexplicable mood swings and rapid changes in her view of her own self. Hence her “apparent” self esteem could range from being very outgoing and confident to being self absorbed and unsure of herself. In reality, Joanie has low self esteem but the image she presents to the world is governed by the company and situation she is in. One of the first things one notices about Joanie is her friendliness. But after just five to ten minutes, the casual observer begins to realize that there is something unnatural about this friendliness. Because of pronounced boundary problems, which is also a typical attribute of those suffering from this disorder, Joanie comes on too strong too soon. There is a false closeness that she radiates, as though she has known you for years and yet you might only have met her just 15 minutes earlier.

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