The aim of the study was to investigate life situations, suffering, and perceptions of encounter with psychiatric care among 10 patients with borderline personality disorder. The results are based on a hermeneutic interpretation of narrative interviews in addition to biographical material (diary excerpts and poems). The interpretation revealed three comprehensive theme areas: life on the edge , the struggle for health and dignity-a balance act on a slack wire over a volcano , and the good and the bad act of psychiatric care in the drama of suffering . These theme areas form a movement back and forth-from despair and unendurable suffering to struggle for health and dignity and a life worth living. Common beliefs regarding these patients among personnel and implications for psychiatric care are discussed in relation to the results.