Characterized by

Extreme mood swings

difficulty regulating emotions may range from chronic emptiness to explosive anger

Unstab interpersonal relationships

difficulty maintaining social relationships

Impaired self image

Inflated ego with god complex or self-hatred/insecurity and/or feelings of worthlessness

Impulse control problems

can make impulsive and irrational decisions without thinking through the consequences

Fear of abandonment

can go to extreme measures to not be abandoned / left behind including manipulation and threats

Self destructive behavior

Impulsive and harmful behavior like over-spending or driving recklessly or using drugs recklessly

Chronic feelings of emptiness

Apathy, or feeling like nothing or no one

Self Harm

Either cutting or suicidal behavior. Self Harm is characterized as harm to oneself without suicidal intent. But behavior may include suicidal gestures or threats.



Psychotherapy / talk therapy

  • dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): learn how to manage emotions, cope with distress and improve interpersonal relationships

  • schema-focused therapy: helps change negative life patterns

  • mentalized-based therapy (MBT): identify and understand thoughts and emotions and re-evaluate perspective on a situation

  • systems training for emotional predictability and problem-solving (STEPPS): 20-week treatment with skills training and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques 

  • transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP): understand emotions and interpersonal or social difficulties

no medication has been approved by the FDA for treatment of BPD, but medications like antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood-stabilizing drugs can be used for co-occurring conditions

hospitalization to prevent self-injury or address suicidal ideation or behaviors if necessary

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Self-Care Tips

1. Practice mindfulness and meditation

2. Managing anger & frustration: hit a pillow, rip up paper, exercise, listen to loud music

3. Managing depression & loneliness: write all of your negative thoughts and feelings on a paper and rip it up, listen to your favorite song, play with your pet, call a friend, wrap yourself in a soft blanket

4. Feeling anxious, tense or panicky: take 10 deep breaths and count them out loud, take a warm bath or hot shower, focus on and name everything you can think of about where you are right now (e.g. what day and time it is, the colors of the objects around you, etc.)

5. Feeling spaced out or dissociative: eat a sour candy, hold a cold water bottle or ice pack

6. Thinking about self harm: rub ice over or draw on the area you were thinking of hurting

7. Keep a journal or mood diary

8. spend time with friends & family

9. go outside and enjoy nature



"BPD and cPTSD often get confused because of their similar and often overlapping behavior and affective patterns. Both often come with significant overall emotional distress and/or emotional “triggers,” suicidalthoughts, dissociation, flashbacks, anxiety, and depression. Even with sophisticated diagnostic criteria, there are behavioral and affective overlaps between the two disorders which can complicate whether symptoms are exclusive to one disorder or a combination of the two" (Psychology Today).

"Both people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) are significantly challenged in terms of understanding and responding to emotions and in interpersonal functioning" (NCBI).



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Clem’s impulsivity, substance abuse issues, emotional intensity and idealization of Joel could indicate BPD

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind(2004)

Susanna is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, but some resonate more with Lisa’s experiences

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

explores the family dynamics of people with borderline personality disorder

Welcome to Me(2014)

Alice, a woman with BPD, wins the lottery and uses her winnings to create a talk show about herself and her life

Prozac Nation(2001)

Lizzie navigates her first year at Harvard and depicts unstable relationships, fear of abandonment, impulsivity, substance abuse and an unstable self image

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Pat, a man with bipolar disorder, and Tiffany, who many believe exhibits BPD, navigate relationships and loss


Project Calendula is intended to be a prelude for your mental health journey by guiding your education and advocacy. We are not a mental health service. 

If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.): 800-273-8255

If you or someone you know are struggling, please visit the resources at the bottom of this section to find a mental health professional near you.

Please visit any of the following websites for further information on mental illness education.


Recovery Resources for BPD from the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder:


BPD Resources (Books, Websites, Help For Families) from the NewYork-Presbyterian:


Borderline Personality Disorder Resources (Help Lines, Online Information, Advocacy, Books, Articles and Guides) from Here to Help: