This is hard to talk about because I’m afraid I’m not very coherent when I describe what I’m feeling and going through, especially in a way people will understand. I guess it’s because I fear rejection and I don’t want people to think I’m an abhorrent human being because I have these feelings. I even worry what my therapist thinks of me. It’s part of my personality disorder(s).

I’ve officially been diagnosed with Dependent Personality Disorder, but there’s a very real question in both my psychiatrist’s and therapist’s minds if I also have Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ve been doing research on both and they both sound a lot like me in certain areas and not in others.

Dependent Personality Disorder

According to Wikipedia, “The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following factors:”

  • Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others. ✔
    I can make most decisions on my own, but seek excessive approval from Corey about things that most people wouldn’t think twice on.
  • Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of their life. ✔
    I’m at a very low point with my depression and anxiety, so I’m giving up most of my responsibilities and mainly only doing things that keep me from thinking about suicide, like playing Animal Crossing for 10-12 hours a day. It’s getting better. I’m starting to help around the house again and I’m only playing Animal Crossing for 2-3 hours a day now. I’ve also started reading again.
  • Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval. ✔
  • Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on their own (because of a lack of self confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy). ✔
    I can start projects on my own if they’re something to do with my hobbies, like crocheting or knitting. But I still seek reassurance that things are going well. Anything else, I won’t do alone at all. Ever.
  • Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant.
    I never ever seek to do anything I find unpleasant. In fact, it’s almost a detriment to myself at how much I avoid unpleasant things.
  • Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for themselves. ✔
  • Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends. ✔
  • Is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of themselves. ✔

Borderline Personality Disorder

According to Healthline, “[y]ou must meet at least five of the official criteria from the DSM to be diagnosed with BPD.”

  • Frantically tries to avoid real or imaginary abandonment. ✔
    I have severe abandonment issues and I’m afraid of being abandoned all the time. Even though I’ve been married since 1998, I still wonder if Corey will leave me someday and sometimes sabotage our relationship because of that fear.
  • Has a pattern of unstable relationships. Alternates between idealizing and devaluing others in relationships. ✔
    I very much idealize people, put them on pedestals, think they can do no wrong and then something happens. They don’t validate me in a way I need or they reject me somehow and I want nothing to do with them ever again.
  • Has an unstable self-image or self-identity. ✔
    According to Wikipedia, people with BPD often “have trouble seeing their identity clearly. In particular, they tend to have difficulty knowing what they value, believe, prefer, and enjoy. They are often unsure about their long-term goals for relationships and jobs. This can cause people with BPD to feel ’empty’ and ‘lost.'”
  • Acts impulsively in at least two areas of life in ways that can be self-damaging (e.g., impulsive or uncontrollable spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). ✔
    I’m a binge eater. I can’t help it or at least I feel that way. I’m an impulsive spender as well. I overspend a lot and have buyer’s remorse a lot. I also drive fast. I don’t feel like I drive recklessly, but I drive fast. I hate going the speed limit on the freeway. I usually go 7-20 miles over, depending on the traffic.
  • Has a history of suicidal or self-mutilating behavior. ✔
  • Has frequent mood swings that usually last for a few hours but may last for a few days or more. ✔
    I’ve always wondered if I’m bipolar because of my mood swings. I go from an extreme high to an extreme low very quickly, sometimes in the space of a few hours. But, I had always been told, bipolar mania lasts days or weeks not hours.
  • Has severe and long-term feelings of emptiness. ✔
  • Has difficulty controlling anger or gets severely angry without cause. May feel angry all the time, display anger frequently, or get in frequent physical fights.
  • Has periods of stress-related paranoia or experiences severe dissociation. ✔

As I’ve been researching both Dependent Personality Disorder and BPD, I’ve felt seen like I haven’t ever felt my entire life. I understand why I feel the way I do, why my mood swings are so extreme but not enough to be considered bipolar. I understand why I can’t figure out what I want to do or be “when I grow up.” Or, what my passions are or why I’m having a hard time with my beliefs.

I spoke to my therapist about my BPD research yesterday. Now, I just need to talk to my psychiatrist so we can make an official diagnosis on that one. I know the diagnosis doesn’t matter so much because my therapist can still work with me without one. I just like things to be official.

Anyway, this post turned out different than I was planning. I don’t know what I was planning, but this isn’t it. I hope you don’t think less of me based on what you’ve learned and I hope it’s helpful to someone.

4 replies
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Jenni. I’ve personally been going through some mental health issues relating to anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder and it helped immensely to be able to put a name to what I was feeling. Without the name, it felt so much scarier and nebulous to the point where I wondered if I would ever be able to do productive things again. Really, I was so afraid of myself (and sometimes still am) that I’d do something to set off a spiral again because I didn’t know how to handle it because I didn’t know what it even was. But I’m slowly getting there and I’m glad to hear you’re finding your way too. Keep your chin up and know that you are valued <3

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      Thank you and thanks for sharing, Laura. I’m glad you’ve been able to figure out what’s happening and feel like you’re slowly getting a handle on things. Good luck with your own battles! *hugs*

  2. Alison Can Read
    Alison Can Read says:

    This is a hard post because I don’t like to think of your suffering and struggling. But at the same time, I so appreciate your insight into your struggles. I think it could really help people going through the same thing feel less alone. Big hugs to you Jenni.


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