Case Study Details

Mary is a 26-year-old African-American woman who presents with a history of non-suicidal self-injury, specifically cutting her arms and legs, since she was a teenager. She has made two suicide attempts by overdosing on prescribed medications, one as a teenager and one six months ago; she also reports chronic suicidal ideation, explaining that it gives her relief to think about suicide as a “way out.”

When she is stressed, Mary says that she often “zones out,” even in the middle of conversations or while at work. She states, “I don’t know who Mary really is,” and describes a longstanding pattern of changing her hobbies, style of clothing, and sometimes even her job based on who is in her social group. At times, she thinks that her partner is “the best thing that’s ever happened to me” and will impulsively buy him lavish gifts, send caring text messages, and the like; however, at other times she admits to thinking “I can’t stand him,” and will ignore or lash out at him, including yelling or throwing things. Immediately after doing so, she reports feeling regret and panic at the thought of him leaving her. Mary reports that before she began dating her current partner she sometimes engaged in sexual activity with multiple people per week, often with partners whom she did not know.

Symptoms

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Concentration Difficulties
  • Emotion Dysregulation
  • Impulsivity
  • Mood Cycles
  • Risky Behaviors
  • Self-Injury
  • Suicidal thoughts