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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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Im a 20 year old college student, I was hospitalized 2 years

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I'm a 20 year old college student, I was hospitalized 2 years ago for suicidal ideations, and was on anti-depressants for about a year and half. I stopped being "depressed" and "suicidal", I slowly got off my meds and stopped overall about 5 months ago. I also stopped going to therapy and counseling once I'd acknowledged my issues and identified them. It is suggested that I may have borderline personality disorder, or at least possess the majority of the symptoms. Something I've realized I did not resolve in therapy is about how vindictive I am towards people who I befriend, who I realize to be completely insecure and unstable...when I later on close off the friendship, I cannot get closure. First example: One roommate I had, who I immediately saw as a girl with Daddy issues (raped by father, abandoned, and raised by single mother [not educated, gold digger, owns a nail salon-type], she was attached to her criminal, dishonest and unfaithful boyfriend). When I closed off the friendship because I realized how dumb she was, I kicked her out of the apartment but still proceeded to think of her, and be angry about her afterward. Only when went as far as attempting to ruin her life by exposing her secrets to her mother, did I get closure from her. (Why am I so evil?)

*I later found out that after she moved out, she and her boyfriend lived bonnie and clyde style, and got kicked out of their apartment, he ended up being abusive toward her, she left him and moved back home with her mother, who would not take her in because of having said relationship behind her back. She now lives with her grandmother, attends community college and from what I can see in my online-stalking-skills, her life has come together and I no longer have vindictive thoughts or anger toward her.

Another roommate, who I was very "close" with emotionally, in terms of sharing details of my personal life, was very attached to her live-in boyfriend. Everything was fine with her until she claimed that it was my fault that her dog required surgery (because I left my sealed midol still in its packaging in a plastic shopping bag on the ground, which he destroyed, got into, consumed, while the three of us were away because I asked them to drive me somewhere). She gave me a silent treatment from then on, which didn't bother me because I read her journal which detailed her sudden feelings of hatred toward me.

I later on proceeded to continue dealing with my issues all the while, she and her boyfriend were having a two-way abusive relationship. When I moved out from the apartment, I later found out that he ended up leaving her for her best friend (who was also HIS best friend's ex girlfriend).

She immediately moved on to date/sleep with other guys, also dropped out of university, moved back home.

I still think of how crazy she is, to this day and still physically react when I reiterate the situation out loud or in my head.

and NOW, another previous roommate who I helped make friends for, got a job for, introduced to music, fashion, style, and basically created, (Think Regina George and Cady Herron from Mean Girls) is angering me and taking over most of my thoughts. I of course do not have any homicidal or violent thoughts toward her but I do get very heated in this matter.

I'm not sure why I am like this and I want to get closure so I can move on and think about things that matter.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

People only continue to dwell on relationships from the past or allow them to 'bother' them if: 1) the person quietly and/or unconsciously believes that by continuing to think about, problem-solve, and dwell on the old relationship, it will somehow 'change things' or get resolved. This isn't at all rational of course but we all do this from time to time---dwell on things that are over and done with, that we can't change; but it is sort of like we harbor a belief that if we think about something long and enough and hard enough, we can change history; 2) there is some payoff or pleasure derived from dwelling on the past and harboring anger. This is the most common and likely explanation, particularly among persons with borderline personality disorder traits. So this is a really difficult question to address---I know, but I'm hoping you will take a moment and ask yourself, "Well, what in the world could I be getting out of staying angry and keeping this person as a focus of my 'blame', my 'disgust' or my 'anger'." The point here is that you would not be doing this if you didn't get something out of it. So what could that be?

Now I'm going to go along with your suggestion that you might have borderline personality features and so, this might apply to you. So, I can also tell you another trait we see in persons prone to borderline personality features and this is the literal 'need' to have an ongoing conflict in one's life. Someone to be angry at, to displace anger on, to point to as a possible 'cause' of one's unhappiness, dysphoria or depressed state. Sometimes thinking very badly of someone who has really screwed up helps us feel better about ourselves---we all from time to time, elevate our own self esteem by comparing ourselves to others and note how 'messed up' they are (compared to us) People with borderline features seem to tend to take much of the accumulated anger, hurt, rage, from their past victimization and mistreatment at the hands of family or extended family/friends, onto relationships in the here and now. So a friend who mistreats us slightly will perhaps experience an atomic warfare level of rage from us, if we have been abused in the past and have borderline personality features.

I have a sense that your therapy isn't complete---that you haven't really worked with someone who is hugely talented in cognitive-behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy---two of the best empirically-validated treatments for persons with borderline features.

What do you think?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I definitely agree. I've been referred to start CBT but I can't afford it. Is there any other way to help this issue? Is there any test or screening that will help determine whether I do have borderline personality disorder? and if so... are there medications that can help with this? Should I go back on my medication?
The medication helps a person with possible BPD with a key challenge they face everyday and this is EMOTION REGULATION or management. So meds can help with your mood state and emotion regulation, but it won't 'treat' the underlying personality dynamics and issues, the history of abuse and intense conflict in relationships that has affected your functioning. You'd be prescribed an SSRI or SNRI antidepressant, in all likelihood e.g., Paxil, Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac......

Here are a couple of VERY HELPFUL and inexpensive workbooks I'd suggest you get---you can buy used copies for much less than a single therapy session. I can assure you that if you take them seriously and 'work' the exercises with diligence, you'll get a fair amount of help out them in terms of things like better emotion regulation skills, being able to inhibit impulsive and self-defeating behavior, etc.

So, yes, you can do some of this work yourself. Ideally, your university counseling center might have a DBT therapist on staff who would work with you as well; this is free of course for students.

Good luck with this. NOW is the time to start getting a handle on your problems and stopping your past from affecting your future relationships. THIS is how your problems will mostly get 'played out' in your life----unstable and dysfunctional relationships with your partner, work place peers, etc.

Let me know if I can be of further help. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen. Thanks.
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