Borderline disorder makes it difficult for individuals to control their emotions. They suffer from extreme mood swings, disturbances in self-perception, feelings of emptiness and tension. Some may harm themselves to relieve inner tension.
Everyone gets frustrated, sad, or has a bad day occasionally. We usually cope with these everyday stresses without major problems. Negative feelings remain manageable and eventually subside. However, this is different for individuals with borderline disorder. Their emotional balance can easily be thrown off.
Emotions out of control
Individuals with borderline personality disorder initially have difficulty sensing and categorizing their emotions. They do not realize that they are upset or sad. As a result, inner tension builds up. Even minor triggers can cause their emotions to shift suddenly. The affected person may suddenly experience overwhelming anger, fear, panic attacks, or complete despair. They are unable to control these rapidly changing feelings and impulses. Their mood swings are extreme. The built-up inner tension can be instantly released, without considering potential consequences, for example in violent outbursts and rage from seemingly minor incidents. This impulsive behavior can be bewildering and irritating to others. Those affected are considered aggressive, moody, and unpredictable. However, experts say that the difference is the level of distress: noticeable behavior in eccentric individuals is often associated with pleasure. This is not the case for individuals with borderline disorder.
Cutting, burning, hitting: Suffering through self-injury
Individuals with borderline syndrome suffer from their condition, with many of them using drastic measures to relieve unbearable inner tension. They may harm themselves, for example by repeatedly cutting their forearms with a knife or razor blade. Or they may burn themselves with cigarettes, or hit themselves. Such self-injury is a "last resort" of the body, an attempt to regain control of the distressing emotional chaos and to feel oneself again. Sometimes, self-injury is also a hidden cry for help to friends and family. Some affected individuals also endanger or harm themselves in other ways. They may use drugs, drive too fast, drink too much alcohol, practice risky sex or dangerous sports. Many suffer from additional mental disorders such as eating disorders, depression, addiction, or ADHD. Some find their life with borderline disorder unbearable, even considering suicide. Without timely therapy, more than five percent of affected individuals die by suicide.