About

I’m Edward Dantes and this is my website about recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder. I’m a 29 year-old man living on the East Coast of the United States.

Having been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder at 18 years of age, I have spent the last 10 years recovering from it, and today no longer am diagnosable as having BPD. On this site I share what helped me get better in the hope that others will benefit. A related goal of this site is to reject the pessimism surrounding treatment of BPD, and to critique the genetic-biological model of BPD causation.

Feel free to contact me with any comments or questions at bpdtransformation@gmail.com

In case you are wondering what the pictures at the top mean, the left and right images show the phoenix rising from the ashes. The resurgent phoenix is an apt metaphor for the psychological rebirth which is recovery from BPD.

The central picture is the Greek hero, Odysseus. His epic story of battling past monsters, witches, and demons to reunite with his beloved family represents the metaphorical “bad objects”, or traumatic experience, which borderline individuals must overcome in order to develop new good relationships. In this picture, he outwits the seductive but deadly sirens by lashing himself to the mast of his ship. This allows him to hear, but not respond, to their songs.

Also, Edward Dantes is a pseudonym that I use to write about mental health issues. I do not disclose my true identity because of my work; I have a job in education where it might be risky to have coworkers and managers find out my views on controversial, politically-charged mental health topics.

I chose the name Edward Dantes because it is a play on Edmond Dantes, the cunning protagonist from Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo, who escaped a long imprisonment on a French island. Metaphorically, becoming free from BPD has some parallels to escaping from a prison.

Lastly, I am not a medical professional, and therefore cannot diagnose or treat BPD in that capacity. However, I would be happy to listen and to offer feedback as a layperson.

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45 thoughts on “About

  1. thornhilledger

    I read and respected your comment @a2eternity’s blog – I gave BPD a hard time in my comment because of amy own personal experience, but what you have here is very impressive and will probably change my view.

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    1. bpdtransformation Post author

      Thank you. I read your comment on that blog and totally respect your view. I do not like BPD as a medical diagnosis at all, and would not want my wife diagnosed with it!! I think complex (post) traumatic stress is a much more meaningful word to call it. I remember in Judith Herman’s book, Trauma and Recovery, I first read about the notion that BPD is really invalid medically and that complex post-traumatic stress syndrome might be a better way to describe the incredible variety of presentations of “borderline” symtomatology.

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  2. Thomas

    Love how you’re sharing your experience and how you overcame it so that others may feel inspired and less alone! I look forward to reading more of your posts – from what I’ve read so far you seem to incorporate a variety of tips and ideas, and that diversity is appreciated.

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    1. bpdtransformation Post author

      Thank you so much Thomas. My hope is that this site will encourage people to be positive about recovery from BPD and dispel the stigma and myths surrounding the condition.

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  3. makeitupyoureallycouldnt

    What a remarkable courageous `human/e` being you are.You reveal in your writing and determination a great depth of strength, that I believe all human beings have and can tap into, to help them to heal. Your bravery in sharing your experience and knowledge with others is a great gift to those who are willing to accept it.I find your blog really uplifting and a testament to what can be achieved if you take the risk of believing in yourself.I hope your life continues to move forwards and upwards, peacefully and with happiness.You deserve it.

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  4. George

    Hi Edward, just a note to say this is the only site ive read that makes sense of bpd. Its given me hope to deal with the chaos ive dealt with in the last 18 years many thanks for your honesty and insight.

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    1. bpdtransformation Post author

      Thank you very much George… you are too kind to me! Let me also recommend my fellow bloggers like Clare (tacklingbpd dot com) and AJ Mahari (borderlinepersonality dot ca) since I think their sites make a lot of sense too.
      I wish you the best of luck with your journey and hope things will improve for you soon.

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      1. fairviewmedia

        All for being the director of photography. I’d direct but I couldn’t take the stress at the moment 😉

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      1. luckyotter

        Well, yes, that might be turning some people off, but I’m running out of things to say about him and trying to focus more on myself and my healing. He’s been my obsession for awhile now but I think it’s going to burn itself out pretty soon. It’s been a distraction from working on myself. Aspies always have obsessions.
        I try to keep this blog balanced though.
        Good to see you around again. 🙂

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      2. luckyotter

        He really is. It’s his unusual mind that I find so endlessly fascinating. I can’t help it. I know what he is and that he is dangerous, but he’s such a conundrum and if you read his personal stuff and poetry there is a very tormented man inside he doesn’t show anywhere else and that is a large part of his appeal to me. I wish I could help him but I can’t.

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      3. bpdtransformation Post author

        The problem with what Vaknin does is that he sends out a very negative message about not only NPD, but also other personality disorders. Even though he sometimes says they are “theoretically treatable”, he makes it clear in many places that he thinks they are doomed. His view of reality is therefore so skewed, so all-or-nothing – in that many “narcissists”, “borderlines” and so on do improve, some a lot, some a moderate amount, some a little, etc. – that from my own perspective it is hardly worth commenting on, but it is worth commenting on because his mistaken view has the potential to discourage people with personality disorders who would like to get better, which is many of them.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. luckyotter

        I do agree with you. Although he has helped people disconnect from their narcs , his overall outlook is hopeless and he appears to hate those who suffer from NPD and demonizes them even though he has this disorder himslf. It just shows how hopeless he feels about himself. I posted an article on Attitudinal Therapy which has been successful on people with NPD and other personality disorders, as well as PTSD and even physical illnesses. Please read it if you get a chance.
        I pray every day for Sam that he can give himself a chance to get better and realize everything isn’t so hopeless– and for his poor wife too. I pray for all people with NPD and the people they have victimized that they can all find healing and happiness.

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      5. bpdtransformation Post author

        Poor Sam. All he has to do is forgive himself and repent, and then he too will have a chance to go to heaven 🙂 I’m being a bit cynical of course; I know it’s not that easy for him. But, theoretically, he could get help; however he is not willing to ask for it currently.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. bpdtransformation Post author

      Thank you for your well-intended comment. However, one point of this site is that I hope BPD will NOT be treated like a physical ailment. i.e. people’s emotional problems are very different in quality and kind than physical problems, and require a different approach. Telling people there is something innately/biologically amiss when they have emotional struggles… to me this does not inspire hope and a sense of agency. Of course, people’s brain chemistry is different when they are having emotional problems. But, that in no way means that the label BPD is valid or reliable.
      However, I do agree with you, that the approach to emotional problems which are today labeled borderline should be empathic, understanding, and kind… just like we would hope for with “physical ailments.”

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. luckyotter

    I added your blog to my blog roll (under my Info and Support tab). It looks better there than FHPP’s blog, which I removed. 😉

    For any borderlines reading this blog, please visit mine. Until recently it was primarily about narcissism, but recently I decided to focus on BPD as well, as I have this disorder and wanted to start exploring it more.

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  6. Dante

    Its a colorful BPD site. Unfortunately the information is chicken pecked to suite
    the author’s intent. Its a rhetorical trick often used by lawyers. Socretes
    according to Plato, had no rhetorically equal but he himself knew nothing. But using a
    name from a Dumas noval adds a bit of flare. BPD is a reoccurring trip to
    Chateau Dif or worse.

    Myself over 50 and diagnosed at 5. I can only be perplex by the cure you found which
    has escaped everyone in my family. Robin Williams didnt out run it. But youth can teach
    us. Like Steve Jobs. Oh but he was BPD. He didnt find a cure either. So bright, talanted,
    suffering young people who read your page will believe a cure or complete recovery is
    possible. Hence why I’m commenting on your page.

    I worked in research. So when you use terms like gentic BPD theories are misleading,
    Unproven, lots of contradictory informations. I would say genetics when understood
    always manifest itself physically, e.g. eye color. So if BPD is genetic then it should be
    manifest in the human brain ? Your opinion if I understand it this doesnt exist , the
    1400 pairs of twins studies done in cooperation with three European countries or
    the followup American study confirming the 60 percent genetic aspect. But again, no
    physical proof. Twins run in my military family. Except for that Danish study
    showing Children diagnosed with BPD have a 20 percent smaller Amagdala. and
    unique brain tissue adjacency. It was too was confirmed by another independent study.

    Please consider your fellow BPD neighbors some very young in age which havent found a cure.
    But have found your page.

    . I might suggest a picture of a Griffin for BPD.

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    1. bpdtransformation Post author

      Thanks for your comments. I wonder how you were diagnosed at 5 years old, given that BPD is only meant to be formally diagnosed in those over 18, and children of that young age are changing so quickly that clinicians are advised to be very cautious in making serious psychiatric diagnoses.
      FYI, many people reading these pages have been helped by the idea that full recovery and freedom from borderline states is possible. If you haven’t become free of borderline symptoms, I’m sorry to hear that, but one person’s experience doesn’t dictate what is possible for other people.
      As for Steve Jobs, people have speculated he had all kinds of diagnoses… to my knowledge he was never formally given any of them by a professional.
      As for the twin studies, there are huge methodological problems with those. If you haven’t read them, check out the books the Gene Illusion and its two sequels about twin studies by Jay Joseph. The equal environment assumption in these studies alone confounds most of the findings. It doesn’t matter how many of these studies you do if the same methodological problems exist in all of them. Furthermore, check out the book The Myth of a Space Between Nurture and Nature by Evelyn Keller. Also the Dependent Gene by Matt Ridley. This book makes clear that genes and environment can’t be broken down in the quantified/separate way that twin studies assume. The way people develop is much more dynamic, complicated, and involving constant interpenetration of biology/genes/environment, which are really parts of each other. As for the smaller amygdala, of course that could be true that people labeled BPD have different brain structures than “normals”. But that doesn’t mean that BPD exists and is demarcable from other “disorders.” It could mean that those children who’ve experienced severe abuse and neglect, and are overrepresented among those people labeled borderline, experience (on average) different and inadequate brain development.
      Thanks for your suggestions about the page’s appearance, but I like it the way it is.
      As for my fellow BPD neighbors, I Would suggest to you to consider the impact of telling young people that they have a mental illness they can never be free from.

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  7. juliemadblogger

    Edward, I still don’t understand. You say borderline isn’t a valid diagnosis. Yet throughout this site you acknowledge that you “recovered” from this imaginary “illness.” If you truly don’t believe borderline exists, what’s to recover from? Yes, people do act that way. They stop. Diagnosing them makes them worse, and act out more, and makes the “phase” permanent due to negative expectations. I would expect anyone diagnosed at five (!) would be treated miserably by all those who believed the diagnosis was valid. So in that sense, you must surely have overcome a lot. That’s ridiculous that a five-year-old would be labeled. Overdiagnosing disorder = someone who has power issues. Good thing you use a fake name, since if you told anyone, those negative expectations would come back.

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    1. bpdtransformation Post author

      Hello Julie, I’m glad you found this site. You are right that I could be clearer about what it means for BPD to be an invalid diagnosis. What I mean is that borderline PD is not a valid illness in the sense of a brain disease that can be reliably identified or ruled out. Also, there is the problem of etiology since there is no one causal pathway that leads to so-called BPD. In other words, the medicalization of borderline mental states is invalid.

      But “borderline” mental states are very real (borderline is just a word, symbiotic or states of all-bad splitting or developmentally early ways of perceiving the world might be a better term). So one can recover from the experience of thinking and feeling in a borderline mental state for a long period. I like the object relations viewpoint that explains how all-bad splitting tends to dominate in borderline mental states and that that is a large part of what needs to be overcome.

      Each person’s experience of that recovery is unique, since they are not recovering from the exact same illness or same experience. What is problematic about BPD is the concretization, reification, or medicalization of the term, along with the notion that “it” (you see, I do not really believe there’s one BPD) can be ascribed to genetic or biological causes. Early psychoanalysts never intended for borderline mental states to be bastardized in this way by psychiatrists who came later. If you look at my articles #23 and 27, I am trying to show there that trauma, neglect, stress, relational problems, vulnerability of whatever kinds can cause borderline mental states of different kinds and degrees. I differentiate this from saying that BPD is a valid mental illness. I hope that makes some sort of sense. The semantics of this are quite difficult.

      And I was not diagnosed at age 5 (did it say that somewhere?). I was pseudo-diagnosed at 18.

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  8. juliemadblogger

    Yes, the semantics are difficult. I make a similar statement about eating disorders. To me, yes, ED is real. I don’t acknowledge it as a psych disorder. I see it as nutritional. Interestingly, people are starting to agree with me after all these years. That explains why it is, indeed genetic, since it’s physical, but not “brain” or “serotonin.” I think the term BPD is harmful since it sounds more like a specific type of bad time than some kind of intrinsic faulty personality that no one can do anything about. As I said, “growing up.” Just about anyone who really did act that way did come from bad parental abuse. I remember when I had that diagnosis, they kept saying, “You are angry,” and I wasn’t. I was terribly out of it and frustrated, understandably due to daily confusion from ECT. All that was ages ago. I became truly pissed in 2012 because I was abused by a therapist beginning age 52, and that I thought I really never get over what she did. I enjoy the anger now, though, and laugh. Still, it’s hard to deal with what happened. The worst psych abuse was certainly not in childhood or young adulthood, but after age 50 for me. That is what I am trying hard to get over.

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    1. bpdtransformation Post author

      I’m sorry to hear this and hope you are getting the support you need to process all that. Stories like this just reinforce me in the belief that if one can in any way avoid psychiatrists and psych hospitals, it’s best to avoid them at almost any cost, rather than enter the whirlpool of diagnosing and drugging that hypnotizes people to stay miserable.
      I have experience with destructive eating problems in a close friend of mine. I would suggest that disorders is the wrong word. Rather, eating problems can relate to psychologically and biological stresses and problems to varying degrees in different situations. I think many serious eating problems are actually experienced by people who get labeled “borderline” unfortunately, since overeating (experienced as an exciting object, see the article on Fairbairn #9 and 10) or starving oneself (experienced as identifying with a rejecting object, also discussed in those articles) can become physical concrete ways of expressing abusive internal relationships and/or ways to soothe psychological pain. I don’t know as much about this as I do about borderline mental states per se, but I think it’s very likely that processes of all-bad splitting are going on behind the veil of a lot of eating problems. That’s not meant to be stigmatizing by the way! Just my observation.

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  9. Deb

    But what if you do not recall any real “trauma”, per se? What if you had average parents and it was just collective small/average things. I don’t equate this to abuse or trauma, unless I have blocked it out from mu consciousness somehow.I believe that those of us with “borderline” traits, are also born very sensitive to any slights and emotionally raw or sensative and over reactive (as Marsha Linehan has stated)
    What are your thoughts?

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    1. bpdtransformation Post author

      Yes, I think this is possible. The ordinary stresses of life can add up to a lot, and in certain people who are vulnerable for whatever combination of reasons, these can result in splitting, unstable self-concept, inability to regulate emotions, acting out behaviors, and so on. Sometimes we just don’t know the reasons why someone is the way they are.
      But, I would also say that Linehan’s idea about a biological / genetic vulnerability in “BPD” is speculation which panders to the disease model of emotional problems, not valid science. BPD in my opinion is not one valid, clearly defined illness, but a spectrum of behaviors/feelings/thoughts which one can be more or less difficult at different times in people’s lives, and which can be transformed/overcome.

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  10. juliemadblogger

    Deb you cannot get borderline unless you walk into a shrink’s office and get a BPD diagnosis. Period. The diagnosis itself is the greatest harm. I can only speak for myself, but the docs I saw were completely bogus! These were at McLean! This Dr. Gunderson, trust me, he is NOT the magical healer he makes himself out to be! Go to my blog and read! I had ECT. After the ECT I was confused. They had given me so many! So I couldn’t think straight. Then, the docs claimed I had suddenly developed BPD at age 39! Huh? Yep, and they even said a severe case of it all the sudden that “explained” my change in mental state after the shock. Oh no, it couldn’t possibly be brain damage! Impossible! They then blamed me, blamed my parents, blamed anything trying to absolve themselves from responsibility. They WERE guilty. I’ve filed this information with the FDA naming names of those involved and made multiple statements. While BPD traits exist and maybe anyone can exhibit them, DO NOT BELIEVE these bogus so-called experts. The harm is the diagnosis itself. I too had very loving and normal parents and a decent childhood. After the diagnosis, you get discrimination. I was lucky, the dx got taken off when I left McLean.

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  11. juliemadblogger

    I’m completely convinced that it’s ALWAYS very temporary or transient, and most everyone goes through a brief phase of it during adolescence or toys with a bad relationship or two before learning their lesson. But a person can get trapped by a diagnosis. and then, it’s made permanent, or more permanent, when the person is seen as disordered. That’s when the finger gets pointed. That’s when people start building walls and talking about bad karma, bad energy, all that total pop psychology baloney. They will instantly push away a person they see as personality disordered no matter what. Just ditch the diagnosis and start your life over. Ignore it. Pretend you do no t have it. You do not, it is just words.

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  12. Deb

    Julie, I have actually come to learn this, so it is great to hear you confirm this. It is good that I am “aware” of my traits, reactions and behaviors, but to “pathologize” them is counter-productive and very detrimental. It’s better to just say, to myself, “oh there’s that fear of abandonment thing again” or “pesky splitting”, etc. and not judge it or myself and just ease away. Thank you!

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  13. juliemadblogger

    Exactly! When I was 18, in 1976, long before I even knew there was such thing as “therapy” I had an affair with a guy who didn’t love me as much as I loved him. He ended up two-timing me and I didn’t know it. Back then there were no cell phones nor answering machines. So when Saturday night came around, I sat by the phone for hours waiting for his call. It never came. My roommate thought my behavior was odd. Why did I hang by the phone all weekend for hours while I could be doing something worthwhile? Yes, I did come to my senses, and most people do, but it takes a while. Most people do go through such foolishness at least once in their lives. Every learning experience is going to sting a bit, but the learning part, getting past it, is joyful. To pathologize such priceless experience, as “disease” is so, so harmful to people. It only serves to make these doctors richer and more powerful. Don’t give them any more time nor money nor attention. You are not an appointment slot.

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  14. luckyotter

    Hello! The other day you left me a link in the comments about an article you wrote about schizophrenia …I didn’t have a chance to read it then, I just tried to find your comment again so I could read it, but apparently WP deletes comments that are more than a few days old. Would you mind emailing me the link , because I really do want to read it and possibly post about it.
    email is: otterlover58@gmail.com
    Thanks!

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  15. Jodee

    Thankyou. I write from Western Australia. We are isolated here & waiting times for appropriate treatment are long . I am on a research & recovery mission on my own until i get treatment. Your site is fantastic & taught me so much . I am having more peaceful head days than not . Can you advise of any good books that i may be able to buy via the Internet. Regards a most grateful reader

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    1. bpdtransformation Post author

      Jodee, if you email me – bpdtransformation (at) gmail (dot) com – I have a couple of books I can send you via pdf that might be useful. I can also make recommendations more easily that way. I’m glad the site was helpful…

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