Posted by: BPD Society of BC | July 15, 2010

Hot Off the Press

Baylie McKnight and Elizabeth Bogod spread the word about the Overwhelming Emotions Support group by telling their stories of recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder  in an article in the Nexus, online newspaper written by Amanda Richardson – Staff Writer.

Support Group helps those with Borderline Personalities

Brain scan of a person with BPD.

July 12, 2010 – Life

by Amanda Richardson – Staff Writer

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a psychiatric illness dealing with overwhelming emotions and impulse control, is a condition affecting two to three percent of the world’s population. BPD affects more people than bipolar and schizophrenia combined. Yet treatment and even a diagnosis are incredibly more difficult to find.

While the term “borderline personality” might lead people to believe that BPD is in someway associate with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) or split personalities, it in fact has nothing to do with the person’s actual personality at all, but rather their emotional response to stimuli.

BPD occurs because of genetic and environmental factors, each playing a role in the development of the disorder. Onset is young, usually occurring between the ages of 11-14, with up to a 90 percent reduction in symptoms seen in the next 10 years. As with any personality disorder, each individual will display unique symptoms at varying degrees.

Because of the lack of resources in Victoria, BPD sufferers Elizabeth Bogod and Baylie McKnight created the peer-driven Overwhelming Emotions Support Group. While both Bogod and McKnight are health care professionals, the two take on the roles of facilitators, not experts.

“It’s really amazing,” says McKnight. “We feel like we’ve always had this group because we all understand each other. It’s a safe place where we can talk and not be judged.”

“You feel less alone there, because it’s such a lonely disorder,” agrees Bogod.

The loneliness that Bogod talks about is a symptom of BPD, which is characterized, in part, by chronic feelings of emptiness and an intense fear of abandonment.

Bogod says that she’s been dealing with BPD since she was 13, though she wasn’t formally diagnosed until she was 26. Her BPD has led to nine suicide attempts and several bouts of homelessness, although she now considers herself in recovery.

“I can self-monitor now. I can say, ‘Elizabeth, this is the BPD, this is the illness,’” says Bogod.

McKnight’s experience has been characterized more by unstable and intense relationships at a young age, as well as addiction.

“I was addicted to crystal meth for two years. Addiction is really common in BPD. It can be anything; shopping, sex, drugs. It has to do with our impulse control issues,” she says.

They say it’s important for family and friends to attend meetings so that they can learn how to best support people with BPD and connect with people who are in the same situation.

“There isn’t a whole lot that people can do for us,” explains McKnight, “except to let us shout and get it all out. The worst thing you can do to a person with BPD is tell them to calm down.”

Tips for family and friends to help diffuse overwhelming situations are discussed at meetings, like cueing and trigger words. But ultimately the group provides a safe place to discuss experiences, share knowledge and resources, and debunk myths about the illness.

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