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Is Borderline Personality Disorder a TMS equivalent?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Davideus85, Jul 1, 2023.

  1. Davideus85

    Davideus85 Peer Supporter

    I was recently diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Very long story short. I have an intensely HUGE abandonment complex, constantly afraid that friends and family have abandoned me, especially if I go any length of period of time without hearing from people. It’s a LOT more complex than that, but that’s the super basic geist of it. Often I’ll have irrational thoughts that people are against me and that people who I thought were “friends” were really not friends to begin with, and I have a tendency to sabotage relationships, cause I can’t stand not knowing where I stand with people - so I’d rather have certainty by destroying relationships.

    I can definitely trace this back to trauma I’ve had growing up. It’s intensely frightening when I’m triggered, I panic and feel a lot of intense emptiness and loneliness inside. I’ve definitely found DBT helpful and mindfulness. There are times I can recognize the thought patterns and behavioral patterns that come with BPD and “disconnect” and misidentify with it. Often the thoughts/feelings will than go away. But whenever I’m able to distance myself from my BPD….I ALWAYS end up with other psychological symptoms. Either it’ll will be replaced with obsessive-compulsive thoughts, or just general anxiety, or I’l just feel incredibly depressed for no identifiable reason.

    So I’m wondering if something as complex as a personality disorder like BPD can be treated as just another TMS equivalent?
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm sorry to hear this, David, and to hear of your continuing struggles. Technically, as a retired accountant, I'm not actually qualified to answer your question, but I do have some thoughts and would love to hear others.

    The big picture answer might be that in a sense the TMS mechanism, which we know is responsible for chronic pain, is also, we think (in some cases we are sure), responsible for things like addictive behavior, obsession, rumination, anxiety, and certain forms of "common" (non-clinical?) depression.

    It's said in many different ways that the TMS brain mechanism is a normal product of evolution and that chronic TMS symptoms are the result of that mechanism's dysfunction in the modern world. It's often said that anxiety and nervous hyper-sensitivity are TMS on overdrive. We could extend that analogy and surmise that disorders like OCD or eating disorders, for example, are TMS on warp drive, while depression and perhaps other serious disorders are TMS gone off the rails. But given my lack of qualifications, that's pure conjecture.

    For the smaller-picture perspective, my experience on the forum tells me the following: when we see certain types of significant problems here, such as OCD, extreme levels of self-absorption and victimhood, overwhelming anxiety, severe depression, or suicidal ideation (ie: TMS gone off the rails, maybe?) it ultimately seems that these people have such traumatized brains (usually from childhood) that they are simply too resistant to benefit from the kind of self-help resources that can be offered by an internet forum.

    Dr Sarno was openly very selective about the patients he allowed in his TMS program, based on his assessment of their ability to benefit from it. Apparently he turned down a very large percentage of applicants, which he admitted made his success rate look very good. This hints at the same premise, which is that TMS techniques, applied outside of a skilled psychotherapeutic environment, only go so far.

    All that being said, I will always assert that incorporating TMS techniques is of value to everyone and anyone, whether they are suffering from chronic physical symptoms, chronic mental health symptoms, or physiological illness or injury. The value of mindful awareness and practices in all aspects of health is increasingly well-documented and increasingly accepted in the wider medical community.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @Davideus85, I just read a National Geographic article about vagus nerve stimulation, from which I'm currently posting excerpts on a new thread in the General Discussion subforum. I'm not including these paragraphs because they make my thread too long and aren't necessary for my main point, BUT as I was reading them, a number of things rang a bell and I connected the description of these behaviors with yours. This article connects these behaviors to PTSD, which you did not mention. Perhaps you already know all this, I though I would post this anyway. The underlining is mine. See what you think:

    A confounding condition
    Among mental health conditions, PTSD is particularly difficult to treat for several reasons. For one thing, the disorder has myriad symptoms that fall into four broad categories and it’s often hard to find a single treatment that addresses all of them: Intrusive thoughts or flashbacks; avoidance of people, places, and things that remind the person of the traumatic event; distorted or paranoid thoughts and more negative feelings; hyper-arousal and hyper-reactivity, such as being easily startled or having trouble sleeping.

    Another challenge is that PTSD is a response to trauma, which can reprogram the way an individual’s nervous system functions in ways that become entrenched, says Valentina Stoycheva, a psychologist and owner and director of STEPS (Stress & Trauma Evaluation and Psychological Services) in New York City. “In PTSD, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system become imbalanced in favor of creating a state of hyperactivation and hypervigilance or a shutdown in the midst of events that cause overstimulation.”

    In these instances, the parasympathetic nervous system, which normally puts the brakes on sympathetic nervous system activity, can’t help the person calm down. As a result, someone who has PTSD may “no longer respond appropriately to their environment—they may perceive innocuous stimuli as highly dangerous or have blunted emotions in moments that call for more intense affect,” Stoycheva explains. “Many trauma survivors report overreacting or going zero to 100 in their experience of anxiety or anger, even if the trigger is disproportionately small to their reaction.” Getting a grip on that aspect of PTSD is challenging, experts say.

    Trauma can come from many different sources, and experts say that transcutaneous VNS could be used effectively by people who have PTSD from a variety of traumatic events, including combat, auto accidents, being a crime victim, or childhood abuse, among others.

    [excerpts from A partial solution for migraines and PTSD? This approach offers hope. (nationalgeographic.com)]​
  4. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Last night I discovered something called Image Transformation Therapy which was developed by a psychologist for treating military patients with PTSD. I find it a bit hokey, but they say it’s been transformative for treatment. They do not discuss BPD in their treatment recommendations, mainly just PTSD and certain types of OCD.
  5. Kana118

    Kana118 New Member

    David, I’m sorry I don’t know the answer to your question. I just want to say I feel for you. I have also had a lot of abandonment and trauma and have had some of the same problems. It is not your fault. My guess is that doing some of the mind-body techniques recommended by Dr. Sarno and others will help you. If any of your problems in childhood were caused by a narcissistic personality, I would recommend the NARP program-Narcisstic Abuse Recovery Program. You can find it online, developed by Melanie Tonia Evans, an Australian. It helped me a lot.

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