BD 101

You Got This


As a part of the mental health community, you play a pivotal role in helping people with Borderline Disorder and their families to live healthier, more successful lives. As much as the Black Sheep Project is created for people who may be struggling with Borderline Disorder, it is also created for you, serving as a resource, a professional community, and a place where we can shape the future of how the Disorder is diagnosed, treated, and perceived by the world-at-large.

Though long misunderstood and often misdiagnosed, our understanding of Borderline Disorder is now at a critical juncture. General public awareness about the Disorder is increasing. Many people may see parts of themselves in what they read and hear about Borderline Disorder, but it is only through work with professionals like you that they can understand what that might really mean to them and those around them.

Within the Black Sheep Project you will find a burgeoning professional community where you can learn from, contribute to research and work with and support peers who are working with patients with Borderline Disorder. Together, we have this chance to accelerate the momentum around new research and to address the biases about the Disorder that still persist.

Welcome to the Black Sheep Project.


A Website Overview


As awareness around Borderline Disorder grows, an increasing number people and families will approach you for guidance and help, often with information they gleaned from the resources here at the Black Sheep Project. The tour below takes you through their experience with the Project, helping you to understand both the extent and limit of the information people may have when they approach you. Our goal is to create a common context for you, for people who may have the Disorder and for their families to share as you begin your conversations about what steps to take next. 

At the same time, as a part of the Black Sheep Project we will be looking to you to provide your own perspectives, helping us better serve those who are affected by Borderline Disorder. Together, within our growing community, we will bridge barriers, make those first conversations more comfortable, and create paths to share new ideas between you and those you serve.


I Got This


We Got This


Key Topics


The articles assembled here provide context for discussing the different aspects of Borderline Disorder with individuals and their families, ranging from the symptoms and diagnosis to discussions of some of the more common co-occurring disorders. There is also a discussion of how the symptoms of Borderline Disorder may begin to manifest themselves in young children, giving you and families a basis to structure longer-term conversations around. 

Check back often for articles on new topics that will expand our growing base of knowledge around Borderline Disorder.

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MYTH: People with Borderline Disorder Do Not Respond Well to Treatment.

FACT: Though no one treatment method addresses all of the disabling symptoms of Borderline Disorder, clinicians have developed appropriate treatment strategies that have helped thousands of people affected by Borderline Disorder to live successful, thriving lives. 


The Behavioral Dimensions of Borderline Disorder


Most clinical professionals refer to the Diagnostic Criteria drawn from the The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fifth Edition ( often referred to as the DSM-5) when discussing Borderline Disorder, which is indicated by 5 or more of the following:

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self.

  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g.; spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).

  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-mutilating behavior.

  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g.; intense episodic dysphoria (a state of feeling very unhappy, uneasy, or dissatisfied), irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.

  8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g.; frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).

  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

To simplify discussions between you, people in your care, and families, you may consider addressing the impacts of Borderline Disorder within four Behavioral Dimensions:

  1. Poorly Regulated Emotions

  2. Impulsivity

  3. Impaired Perception and Reasoning, and

  4. Markedly Disturbed Relationships

Click the button below for more detailed information about how the Diagnostic Criteria are grouped within these Behavioral Dimensions.

Professional Resources


The Black Sheep Project has assembled a list of core professional resources for your reference. Ever-evolving, this list provides you with avenues to draw on peer research, connect with others in the field, and identify sources of information that are most relevant to advancing your capacity to serve people impacted by Borderline Disorder.




Below are some of the resources the Black Sheep Project has selected that you may be interested in. Visit the Black Sheep Project’s online store for more books and for the complete line of Black Sheep Project’s branded gear.


As with anything complex, Borderline Disorder comes with its own language. The Black Sheep Project, working with clinical professionals, has assembled this glossary to help you understand key terms that you are likely to encounter as you explore our site and learn more about how Borderline Disorder affects you and those you care about.