Borderline Between What and What?

MRS KAYSEN: So what is this borderline business you mentioned on the phone?
SUSANNA: What borderline business?
MELVIN: See, the mind…
SUSANNA: Borderline what?
MELVIN: …is the…
SUSANNA: Borderline between what and what? Melvin!
MELVIN: It’s a condition, Susanna. And it’s called Borderline Personality Disorder.
MELVIN: It’s not uncommon. Especially among young women.
MRS KAYSEN: What causes it?
MELVIN: We’re, we’re really not sure.
The name “borderline” comes from a school of thought that was common in psychiatry in the 1930s. These patients were then thought to be midway, or borderline, between psychotic patients and those who were simply “neurotic,” or had problems that could be easily helped by psychotherapy. In fact, the “borderline” patients at this time often seemed to get worse with psychotherapy. Many people would like the official name of the disorder to change to something that better reflects the actual difficulties people with it experience.
Borderline between neurotic and psychotic. Those are some disquieting diagnoses to fall between.
Don’t know why I haven’t posted this sooner. Oddly this explanation of borderline was surprisingly difficult to find when I first started looking for it. I wonder if that was intentional. It’s clearly where the stigma surrounding BPD originated.
You know what I think would be interesting. Uncovering how the treatments for Borderline have evolved throughout the decades. Dismissed, institutionalized, medicated, misdiagnosed… Curiouser and curiouser. Perhaps a post for a different day.
*I hate referencing Girl, Interrupted. It feels so cliché. However, I may write a Book Review because it’s actually more insightful than the movie.

7 comments on “Borderline Between What and What?

  1. The names for most mental illnesses need to be changed. I can understand why they were originally given those names. People not understanding, not having the ability to help, but those reasons don't apply (as much) today as they did a 100 years ago so changing the names would also help remove the stigma as well as helping with proper diagnosis and treatment.

  2. @Dafeenah … The names are often outdated and should probably be renamed (I have a post outline for the new names considered for BPD) for exactly that reason… to remove the stigma. Honestly though, I think I'd be upset to see the Borderline label go away. Then again, I have attachment and abandonment issues. Hah.

  3. @Axl Rose …. Girl, Interrupted is a movie starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie. It's about instituionalizing mentally disordered patients in a hollywood glorfied way. This movie actually used to trigger me really bad. I couldn't watch it for a long, long time.

  4. NotablePath, I disagree. Just because it triggers something doesn't mean that much. Seeing a father/male with a child sitting on his lap and/or being affectionate to a child triggers me regardless of the movie. I can't watch anything like that even if it's the Huxtables. I've seen the movie (Girl Interrupted). Didn't care for it much. Although am tempted now to read the book.

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