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.