Borderline Personality Disorder Community
Work is hard...
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to anger, anxiety, caregiver support, depression, emotions, fears, living with BPD, relationships, and violence.

Font Size:
Blank Blank

Work is hard...

I'm interested to know whether people diagnosed with BPD who contribute to this forum do paid work.

Ever since I left school I've had big problems holding down a job, mostly because relationships with my colleagues tend to go awry...  I seem to be okay at getting jobs, but I can't seem to hang on to them.  Most of the jobs I've had I've left by spitting the dummy and walking out, without having another job to go to.  I have to live on the dole for a little while, then I get another job and the cycle repeats.  Honestly, I've probably had about 40 different jobs since I left school.  Sometimes it's hard to hope that I'll ever get over this problem.  I don't think my family understand - to them I seem well, and they think that because it's me choosing to leave rather than getting the sack, I could simply make the decision to stay and it would all be okay.  I think they think I'm just lazy or something.

It'd be great to hear about other people's experiences and whether maintaining positive relationships at work has gotten any easier over time.

Related Discussions
20 Comments Post a Comment
I personally have more problems with personal relationships. But work, I am also having trouble with. Not because I can't get along with my co-workers, I did great with the people I worked with. It was a canvassing job, though. My lack of an ability to talk compellingly to strangers on the streets without worrying what they would think caused me my job. I get too anxious, to afraid. And the constant rejection was no help to me whatsoever. It set me into a depression and I just didn't want to wake up in the morning. But I am very young, so I don't know if it gets better over time.
  I just know it's always nice to know you're not alone in your struggle.
Thanks for your reply.

I was told by a psychiatrist that BPD is one of the few personality disorders that do get better over time, and I'm certainly a lot more well than I was fifteen years ago when I started therapy, so hang in there.

Hi Wren ~ thx for that great perspective. But am a little confused. For many a times what I've heard or read is that BPD generally gets worse with time. So, is it probably the effort that you've put into therapy that's resulted in this ~ or is it just plain time & experiences, and the learnings from it? Do you feel BPD can get better with time, even if nothings done about it?

I'm not sure what would happen if you did nothing about it.  The doctor I'm speaking about was a very reputable, very competent, trustworthy psychiatrist and what she said was that it is definitely possible for BPD to get better over time WITH TREATMENT (sorry for caps but I can't seem to get italics happening here).  I received excellent counselling from her and I have also religiously taken the medication she prescribed, and I do feel that I've improved significantly over the fifteen to sixteen years I've been getting help.  I'm not completely recovered or cured, but I have a partner and a part-time job and some good friendships and feel I'm functioning pretty well.  (I also have another major mental illness so the whole 16 years has not been spent working on BPD - first I recovered from the other illness).

These days I see a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who is working with me on the finer points like my anger, and the anxiety that underlies it.

I don't really like giving advice because I'm no sage but I will say:

There is hope that things will improve for you.

It's a really good idea to find a therapist you trust who will listen to you and also challenge you to grow.

If you're prescribed medication, it's a fantastic idea to trust your doctor and take it - I reckon I'd be dead if it weren't for the medication.  There's a lot of stuff out there about doctors over-prescribing, but personally, my quality of life would be a lot, lot, lot worse without it.

Take care and all the best.
Hi, thanks very much. That really helped, get the necessary clarity.

Just to add a little, I'd asked that query because my wife has BPD. But she doesn't acknowledge it, and blows up into a fit of rage if I were to ever suggest her getting some therapy/counselling.

Probably, that's the reason I'd asked you the last question.

Anyways, thanks once again!
Hi Jedi.

Sorry, shouldn't have assumed it was you with the BPD.

Re your wife not accepting the diagnosis: I was diagnosed years ago with schizoaffective disorder and actually felt relieved when they told me, because it answered a lot of questions I had about why I was the way I was.  It also meant that what I was experiencing was an illness, not just some personality flaw.

Then, after I recovered from the schizoaffective, I was diagnosed with BPD - only about a year ago.  It's been much more difficult for me to come to terms with this diagnosis, partly because it was kept from me by my doctor for many years, but also because sometimes it feels like BPD is just a list of really ugly personality traits.  It makes me feel worse about myself.  And I keep reading in various places that healthcare professionals find people with BPD really difficult to work with.  It has affected my self image in a really damaging way.  I wish I was never told I have BPD.  So in a way I empathise with your wife.  I know lots of people on this forum say it's really important to accept the diagnosis, and I wouldn't want to negate their experience, but my current psychotherapist doesn't think I have to accept it .  Partly because she's very psychoanalytic and doesn't really work with diagnoses or symptoms anyway, but rather the specific feelings I have and how I cope with them - how it FEELS to me rather than how someone else LABELS it from the outside.  I think the important thing is to be working on yourself in therapy.  You don't have to have a diagnosis to work hard in therapy.  Actually, having been in therapy for sixteen years, I pretty much think anyone would benefit from it.  Lots of people I know who have no diagnosis could really use some therapy!  Could you talk about it with your wife in this way?

An old friend once talked about it to me (in relation to a mutual friend who needed some help) like this: encourage the person to see that they're worth the work.  They deserve to be happy and healthy.

I hear what you're saying though, that it's not easy to talk about.

All the best to you and your wife.  I wish I could be of more help.

I've been through similar situation with jobs, finding pressures build up so greatly and I become avoidant because I can't handle the social situations very well. The situation becomes unbearable and I have to leave and go back to treatment. This is usually the biggest problem and more than the actual job itself.

Now I know more about why this is happening I really hope that I can make some progress to handle people a lot better, so interactions are not so painful. I'm middle aged and at the beginning of the road, but before knowing about BPD, (if that's what I have I am seeing a doc today), there didn't seem to be any hope as treatment for depression was not enough and spiritual and naturopathic avenues of help often made things worse.

I've kept things from my family for a long time, feeling like half a person, but now with the separation of a long term relationship I am at the end of my tether and really need them for support, there doesn't seem to be any reason to hold back with what's going on. For most of my life I tried to present to them as being normal feeling afraid to talk about much of my problems, it was very hard work at times to maintain this facade.

I thought I was just lazy too, but now realise it's much more than just that. Looking for reasons to avoid doing something because it causes a lot of pain.

I hope that you can find some peace within a job.
My experience is that bpd does improve with time.  I think life experiences can shock you into confronting things and maybe even help to facilitate change.
I think that I have grown naturally through experiencing births, deaths, marriages, etc.  Often these are unavoidable and help you to see things differently.

Regarding work.  I'm not currently in paid employment.  I struggle with relationships (are quite socially awkward) but my stumbling blocks are CV's and job interviews.  For me these evoke extreme anxiety.  I often work well within the boundaries of jobs though.

I think that what you're describing is splitting.  The work environment becomes difficult so you leave it.  Have you tried repairing relationships, etc at work before leaving?  I think it comes back to anxiety and how you manage it.  Psychoanalytical psychotherapy should help you with this.

I think that feelings could be considered symptoms.  I think that everyone needs to process their issues in their own way.  Our experiences/ journeys are as unique to us as our fingerprints.
It's very encouraging to hear when people say that this condition improves. Reading Rachel Reiland's 'Get me out of here' at the moment and seeing how her therapy progressed, I know that she has been living a better life for a long time now.

I wondered how you manage with people at work, if you work with others? I always feel like I don't belong and it causes me embarassement and the feeling of being on the outside is hard to deal with. I probably seem awkward to a lot of people because I am not much of a chatter, in workplaces anyway.

Yes the shock has been a push to make the changes. Life experiences will certainly do that as well, it's been a difficult path for those things also.

It really terrifies me at the moment to even think of fronting up for job interviews, I haven't worked for 8 years, except for a small business I did from home to avoid going back into the social situation of a workplace.

I think I very much do the black and white with situations, I see where I probably misinterpret people and imagine things that are usually bad. I would really like to how to deal with this better so that personal relationships can be better as well. I don't usually find them comfortable, but have preferred them to completely being on my own.

I saw the psychiatrist today for a diagnosis and will find out in a week or two what she thinks it is, then hoping to start psychotherapy soon after. The drive to do something about this is a lot stronger than I thought they would be if the relationship ended, so I can see things are likely how they should be, and best for both of us.
Hi.  I'm not currently working in open employment.
I think that what you're describing is what I'm now calling social awkwardness.  I find that I am able to relate best when I am discussing something that I feel comfortable or knowledgeable about or when I am participating or performing a particular task.  I think that the awkwardness comes from anxiety and a lack of sense of self.

I've just come back from my brothers wedding.  Being there just made me feel uncomfortable and insecure.  I have huge problems relating and communicating with others.  Some people I was fine with.  Others it just felt wrong and painful.

I think that illnesses, life, death, marriages, nieces and nephews, etc have all been life changing.  I think that as much as I avoid change I am forced into new experiences.  I am probably more at a place now that I should have been at before leaving school.  Skills I should have had then I am only just finding now.

Maybe just take things in small steps otherwise it is easy to become overwhelmed.  I don't think that avoidance is the answer.  I have found that avoidance breeds avoidance (and depression and a sense of loss).

I use to like being alone but now feel a sort of ?dependence on others.  It's comforting, at times, to have people around.

People probably get tired on me saying this but my philosophy is that everything happens for a reason.

I hope that the diagnosis isn't suggestive of anything too severe.
Yes I know very much what you are saying about not feeling comfortortable if there is little to contribute to the conversation. Often in these times I shut down and my brain feels like it just wont work. Lack of sense of self is something in the BPD list. I also feel being with some people is wrong and painful. My guess is there are too many incompatibilites to have a meaningful connection or in my case maybe I am imaginging what that person is like. Like a pre judgement.

You seem to have a good awareness of when different people affect you, I think that would help a lot. Perhaps that's how it is with humans, some will make us feel that way no matter how our coping or social skills.

I know what you mean about having the skills now that I wish I had back then.  Things we didn't learn from those who brought us up or were close to us. I see now that I didn't have much to cope with and felt blown about by any wind, taking things very deeply and not knowing how to deal with the thoughts an emotions.

I do tend to get impatient, wanting things to get better straight away now I have some idea of a mood disorder that's a bit more than depression.
But know this will take likely some time to go work through all the things.

Thanks, yes I hope it's not really serious. I'm getting by ok otherwise so I don't think it will be much more than a mood disorder of some kind. We'll wait and see.

Shutting down could be due to anxiety.  In those sitautions where I feel extremely stressed or anxious I can sometimes feel a little spaced out and find it harder to breach any gap in the relationship.

I think that a lot of people with anxiety issues are quick to judge or to misinterpret.

I think that increased sensitivity sometimes means that we pick up on more vibes or undercurrents.  It makes sense to listen to the entire conversation (interaction).

I think that in therapy and over time you gain insights into themes that affect you.  You also become better able to discern where the issue originated from (whether from yourself or others).

I guess if we feel uncomfortable with people then the onus is on us to use our skills to either tolerate the situation or to exit it, etc.

Often our caregivers lack skills themselves.  Pity that some combinations of temperaments, etc are so dysfunctional/ disasterous.
It can be a bit confusing when you hold these people partially responsible for where you are today but don't blame them (even though you feel hurt, angry and frustrated).

Emotional issues can be extremely complex.

Depression or bipolar?  They're the two main mood disorders.

You kind of sound OK.  Social anxiety could explain some difficulty with relating.  Self-esteem can lead back to depression too though.

Are terrible at trying to psychoanalyse people all the time.
Diagnosis is always best left to the experts.

My advice would be to ensure that you take all your concerns with you to the doctor.
yeah, the increased sensitivity is probably not helpful at times, coupled with self doubts and likely screwy thinking. Tending to imagine the worst, just assuming people wont like me or will think I am a bit strange anyway.

I see that parenting has a huge effect, it's largely shaped us, and you're right it's not really productive to blame people who did things unconsciously and because it was the way they were brought up as well.

learning to leave a situation that's not doing us good is a skill as well. I have to deal with that, find it difficult as I don't want to offend people which feels really bad if I think or imagine I have.

I'm not sure about which mood disorder it might be yet, depression yes, but I also go through moments of highs have just come down with a bang after one for a few days. Received an email from my ex yesterday, nothing bad, but made realise how emotionally dependent I was on him. Now feeling very alone and dealing with the emptiness and wondering if things will ever get better.

I felt like I couldn't get enough about this through to the doc as I was on the high when I spoke to her and tend to not remember so much, she probably thought I was ok too.

Anyway will see her again next week and my ex has given me a list of things why he thinks it may be borderline.

See what happens then.

Does it really matter so much what others think of you?
Over time it can seem a bit fickle that you let others opinions of you dictate how you feel.  Sometimes those others can be a bit messed up too.  It's almost like you can allow others with different values and beliefs to yourself determine your own journey.

I usually don't like offending others as well but their lack of perception coupled with my lack of tolerance can leave me feeling frustrated and uncomfortable.  Sometimes that leaves me feeling trapped and even violated.  Their lack of intuition.  Leaving seems disrespectful but staying just feels plain dirty.  I don't like feeling backed into a corner with nowhere to go.

That sounds more like bpd and not bipolar (if you even have bpd).  Your mood seems in reaction to an event.  Maybe what you're feeling at the moment is normal?  Relationships can be quite traumatic transitions.

I sometimes can't remember stuff from one emotional state to another.  I can't relate to something that happened in one while in another.

Does your ex have a vested interest in your health?  Some people just use the diagnosis to devalue the person and deny their own involvement in any difficulties.

Yep, see what happens.  Some doctors will not readily diagnose bpd and will want any depression, etc to be resolved first.  Depends on symptoms and severity and other factors though.

If you feel like something is missing or not quite right then that would be important to trust that sense.
I have bipolar. I came on here to read the stories and learn more about BPD. I wanted to say something to you though so I hope nobody minds me jumping in. Being brutally honest with your care team is so important especially in the early stages. It is hard to talk about the embarrasing or painful situations but they need to hear them to give you a good diagnosis. It is not the time to put your best foot forward.

Whatever diagnosis they give you is the start of the journey. It will give you information about how to go forward. What treatments work well and what treatments are less effective. What matters most is what you do with the information. It is scary to try new ways of thinking, but it is worth it.
One thing that is really important is to remember that you HAVE a mental illness you are not a mental illness. Never say to yourself "I am BPD or Bipolar or ..." You would never say "I am cancer" You have something, that most likely can be treated with the proper type of self care, therapy, and maybe medications. It has to only become one aspect of your life, not a definition of who you are as a person.

If you aren't getting better ask questions. Maybe they got the diagnosis wrong, or maybe there is another treatment you can try. Never give up, and don't let them give up on you either. I have literally had a psychiatrist say to me "there is nothing more we can do you will just have to go home and learn to live with it" I saw a new one, tried some new medications, and there was a vast improvement.

It is tough in the beginning but does get easier with time. You learn more and more ways to cope, you get the therapy you need. It probably will never completely go away, but it can get a lot smaller in size. I know a few people with BPD and they said the dialectic therapy helped tremendously.

Bottom line is that you have it within you to cope with whatever happens in the psychiatrists office. And if you aren't satisfied - get a second opinion. It is your right.
Yes, I know I am concerned a lot about what other think, hope to deal with that more in time. Find it hard to walk away, end conversations as well, another learned skill I guess.

I think for sure a mood disorder, have to wait next week for the first diagnosis, if not satisfied I'll look for another. I think my ex has my best interests in heart, they were those interests too when the plan was to stay together, to make life better for the both of us. Though much more than the disorder was causing pain. My confusion is how much pain was through the disorder and other ways we didn't match.

To handle people better, social situations, just be able to be in a work situation without the trauma, will be something.

Have booked therapy to start early next year, thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate... wish me luck :)
Thanks, I remember when having therapy all those years ago, it's often messy and laying things open, no matter how bad it feels, is the only way for it to work.
This time, yes, if I find it's not working I'll ask, look for what else is available.

Best wishes
Good Luck!!  Has little to do with luck and more to do with personal factors though.  Knowing that others support you can give you strength.  MedHelp members are usually quick to offer support and advice if needed.  Don't be afraid to keep asking stuff here.  Talking can help.
Thanks, I appreciate being able to talk freely here and good to know people are here to help. Yes it will take work to do this and you're right more than luck.
Hi, I'm new here. I am an RN (ironically mental health). I have always had a full time job along with taking care of my 2 kids, my daughter has a rare heart disease and developmental delays. I have been told if I OD one more time I will not be released to go back to work and have to go on SSDI. So far I am doing good since the ultimatum .as far as the question about if it gets better as you get older. In a psych class I read that it can get better in your 40's. My psych says not usually. I have had BPD since I was 19. I will be 40 next year and I can say this is the worst last few years. Also bipolar and am on a lot of meds. I did go about 10 years without much of a problem, so I guess for me it comes and goes.
Post a Comment
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Borderline Personality Disorder Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
TMJ/TMJ The Connection Between Teet...
Jan 27 by Hamidreza Nassery , DMD, FICOI, FAGDBlank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank