Histrionic Personality Disorder – This One’s Hard To Process – Gonna Be Baby Steps

Introduction to This Blog Series

I was 27 years old when I entered into the realization that there was something wrong with me and one of the original diagnosis was Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD. 

But, not a lot was known about this horribly stigmatized disorder because BPD patients were considered impossible to treat or wrongly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. 

Along with BPD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS) were also added to my diagnostic mix.

ADHD was quickly debunked and over the past two decades most professionals leaned towards my having PTSD or a Dissociative Disorder – but something about these disorders never seemed to fit.

Add menopause to the mix and the confusion became even more confusing.

Anxiety

Here are past blogs I’ve written about my struggles with anxiety and what felt like PTSD or DDNOS:

Alcohol Addiction

As well, I have a history of alcohol addiction.

On February 17th, 2022 I celebrate my second year living an alcohol-free life.

My Struggles With Alcohol Can be Read in These Blogs:

Present Day

And now, at 52 years old, and after a thorough assessment by a seasoned psychiatrist – I am finally properly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder.

This blog series called Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder is my way of processing and understanding these complex personality disorders and how they manifest, interfere with and enhance my life.

And, as it has been said to me from friends who have family members with Borderline Personality Disorder, perhaps I can help dispel misconceptions and stigmas associated with these mental illnesses.

As well, perhaps I can shed some light and more personal information on what living with Histrionic Personality Disorder is like, for those who are also walking this path.

With hope,

Stephanie, 💛

January 29th, 2016 - Doha, Qatar - Commercial Bank Qatar Masters - Selfie with Ernie Els
January 29th, 2016 – Doha, Qatar – Commercial Bank Qatar Masters – Selfie with Ernie Els

Books About HPD Are Scarce

Basically, there seems to be very few books published specifically about Histrionic Personality Disorder.

Lots of Information on HPD Via DSM 5

When I Google DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR)) and Histrionic Personality Disorder, there is more selection.

According to Therapedia:

Histrionic Personality Disorder is a DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed.) diagnosis assigned to individuals who display patterns of attention-seeking, often dramatic behavior to gain the approval of others. This behavior may be flirtatious, emotional, seductive or otherwise in order to capture the attention of onlookers.

Long associated with the historical term hysteria – histrionic being a derivative – histrionic personality disorder is a mental condition characterized by over-the-top behavior, such as emotional outbursts, noisy displays of temper, compulsive attention seeking and self-centredness.

Sufferers of histrionic personality disorder may overreact and exaggerate, assume greater familiarity with others than actually exists, pay excessive attention to their appearance and display narcissistic qualities. A Cluster B personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder is closely related to other conditions within the bracket, such as borderline, antisocial, and narcissistic personality disorders.

Histrionic personality disorder affects an estimated one to three per cent of the American population1) and is more prevalent among women than men. The condition often results in distress for the sufferer and may adversely impact on social, occupational and other areas of life.

Symptoms

Symptoms of histrionic personality disorder include the following: 

  • Shallow, changeable emotions
  • Assumed intimacy with others
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism 
  • Manipulative behavior
  • Disproportionate emotional reactions
  • Sexually provocative behavior
  • A compulsive desire for attention
  • Preoccupation with appearance
  • Suggestible and easily influenced

Diagnosis criteria for histrionic personality disorder

In order to make a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder, a psychological examination is necessary, along with a general evaluation of the patient’s behavior and overall appearance. 

There is no set test to determine whether someone has histrionic personality disorder. Previously, a number of pointers were specified in an earlier edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in order to help clinicians make a diagnosis3). At least five of the following traits needed to be recorded for a diagnosis to be indicated:

  • A compulsion to be the center of attention that results in discomfort if unmet
  • Inappropriate sexual, seductive or provocative behavior when interacting with others
  • Shallow, rapidly shifting emotions
  • The use of physical appearance to draw others’ attention
  • Dramatic, impressionistic speech that lacks detail
  • Exaggerated, theatrical emotional expression 
  • Easily influenced by others or situations
  • Assumes relationships are more intimate than they are
Personality Disorders
Photo Credit – abcounsellingipswich.com

It all fits.

I’ve Borderline Personality Disorder, too.

It deeply shames me that I am so closely associated with narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders.

I feel like I must be a monster.

But what I do know is that this little girl is in me, too…

She was not born a monster.

Little Joyful Stephanie!
Little Joyful Stephanie!

I Can Feel HPD In Me – I Can Feel BPD In Me – Both Feel Unique – Like Two Different Hats

BPD feels like I become possessed with an emotion.

It overtakes me.

Most of all the fear of abandonment.

The fear of abandonment consumes me with a fear that feels like I am fighting to even stay alive – I will die without this person.

HPD feels like a desperate need to be heard – to be seen – for someone to pay attention to me – to love me – and that I will do whatever it takes to get someone’s attention – even changing who I am.

Most of all HPD feels like I need the approval/permission of others to exist in the world.

This is hard to talk about – but eventually I will.

I need to make sense of my suffering so I can perhaps help others who are in my shoes.

That is it for now.

This is a lot to process.

S, 🌻

Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder

2 Comments Add yours

  1. mama says:

    When I see you.. I always see the ” Little Joyful Stephanie” in your smile. Know that you are truly loved always and will never be abandoned ever. With much love always🙏💖🥰 mama!

    1. Thanks mama!!! Love you lots!! 🌼💛🌼💛

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