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She was a 35 year old woman….

She was a 35 year old woman. Known to have what we call a 'borderline personality': quick mood shifts, always the victim, self-harm (usually wrist cutting), yearning for attention, easily bored.

And - most notably - an intense fear of abandonment.

For this psychiatric admission, she had cut her wrists, largely for hopeful attention from her boyfriend when he left her.

These patients are generally the most difficult and challenging in a psychiatric hospital - because the psych ward becomes their stage and when they inflict self-harm, they know the staff will come to their rescue. No boredom here; lots of attention; no abandonment.

Do patients like this have any good in them? Well, of course. Everyone does. But our inherent goodness, our soul, gets glossed over - and we lose ourselves. Look at the good that you have; your inborn talents and gifts given to you - and treat others , look at others through that type of lens. Then reality and relationships take on a whole new meaning.

So I can't promise that this 35 year old got significantly better - but approaching patients by identifying their goodness, rather than their pathology, has a much better prognosis.

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