According to the Mayo Clinic, the causes of BPD aren't completely understood, although experts believe several factors, such as genetics and traumatic childhood experiences, play a role. Marshall described family relationships as traumatic and dysfunctional.
Bursztajn said friends and relatives of people with borderline personality disorder often suffer just as much as those living with the condition.
"Paranoia, especially when someone is in a down mood, is a common feature of BPD. The person feels if you're not totally with them, you're against them," he said. "If someone continues to be paranoid about you and won't give you the benefit of the doubt, they can become unpredictable and dangerous." This type of situation can be brought about by "all or nothing" thinking that is a feature of the disorder.
BPD is difficult to treat, but is treatable. Treatment typically consists of creating a place where the person with BPD feels safe enough to talk about very difficult feelings, and over time, the person learns how to deal with those feelings in rational ways.
If left untreated, people can become extremely depressed. Suicide attempts are common, and a significant number of people with severe cases of BPD do commit suicide. Self-injury is a common manifestation among women, while men more often lash out at others or hurt themselves by abusing alcohol or drugs.
Many more women are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Bursztajn believes that's due to the fact that so many more women seek mental health help. Others say misdiagnosis is very common, especially among men.
"Males often get underdiagnosed and go more into the antisocial diagnosis, which is a mistake because they feel sorry for their actions while antisocials do not," said Dr. Patricia Junquera, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine. People with antisocial personality disorder often show a disregard for the law and rights of others and feel no remorse about it.
"The most common misdiagnosis is bipolar disorder," Junquera added. "That's also a condition that involves extreme emotional ups and downs."
Marshall said he is committed to educating himself and others about borderline personality disorder so that others who find themselves in his situation can get the help they need.
"With the right help, the right treatment program [and] the right treaters, one diagnosed with BPD can live a healthy, effective and peaceful life."