About Randi

Randi Kreger has brought the concerns of people who have a family member with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to an international forefront through her best-selling books, informative website, and popular online family support community Welcome to Oz.

 
 

Eight Borderline Mood Swings in Five Minutes: Kurt's Story


 There's a reason some top clinicians who specialize in the field of borderline disorder want to rename it "emotional intensity disorder." The mood swings typical of those with BD are extreme and can change in the blink of an eye.

Take Karl, for example. He just started flirting with a new friend on Facebook, Anita, someone with whom he had 10 mutual friends. She had just friended him a week ago, but already he knew she was his soul mate.

He felt an enormous high whether he was working, driving home, or paying the bills. The emptiness was gone. He was drinking less. This weekend, he was going to finish that shelving project instead of laying around depressed in bed. And tomorrow, he was going to talk to her on the phone for the first time. The minutes. went by like hours.

His phone pinged. It was her! "Hey honey," she wrote. "How was your day?"

"Hey, beautiful," he wrote back. "Good. Can't wait to hear your voice tomorrow. I bet it's sweet and sexy, just like you."

"About tomorrow..."

His heart plunged. He could hear an excuse coming. She was scamming him. She probably was a "he" like his friends said. He could feel the anger start to rumble in his chest.

"...Can was change the time a few hours later? I have to work late."

He was so relieved he couldn't answer. He had to sit down. His heart beat quickly."

"Hey, Kurt. Did you hear me?"

"I love you," he found himself saying.

"What?" she said. "That's...unexpected. I'm looking forward to getting to know you, too."

He was so embarrassed. Play it cool, play it cool, he told himself.

"Yeah. Whatever." She was probably the type of girl who just wanted someone to take her out, spend a lot of money, then find another guy.

There was an awkward pause.

"Well, I'm really looking forward to talking to you tomorrow," she said, sounding uncertain. "It'll be around 8 p.m. I can't wait to hear your voice either."

"Sure," he replied, sounding bored. "Talk to you then." If I'm still alive.

They hung up. Kurt went to refrigerator, got a beer, and lay down on the bed on his back, arm over his eyes. Looked like he was spending the weekend in bed after all. He took his first sip of Miller, the first of many.

Kurt's emotions weren't different than anyone else's. But they were more extreme--the highs, lows, and in-betweens—and moved at warp speed. He started out joyful and exhilarated; took brief pauses at tense, worried, and relieved; took an unexpected turn at love; and slid down to embarrassment, extreme disappointment, huffiness, and severe depression.

Antidepressants and mood stabilizers can help with mood swings. But the real focus is on helping people with borderline disorder sit with uncomfortable feelings without taking impulsive actions that make things worse. Dialectical Behavior Therapy does this by teaching distress tolerance skills. They are helpful for everyone, not just people with BPD.

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