Living life on the borderline

Thought vomit – BPD & me.

Posted on: December 14, 2010

I am so glad to have a place I can just dump all my thoughts again. I apologise in advance if it’s less-than-well-written, my mind is in a strange place tonight.

My diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is somewhat haunting me at the moment. I have a very clear memory of being in A+E this year after an (relatively useless) overdose & being stared at by some nameless doctor who could’ve walked into my cubicle off the street for all I knew. The big “do you have a diagnosis?” question came up & I averted my gaze in preparation.

“I’ve been diagnosed with BPD.”

“Ahhh yes! Borderline personality disorder…”

I would much rather now “forget” to mention my diagnosis at all, because it precedes me. Before people have time to understand that, underneath my diagnosis, I am a walking talking human with feelings – I have already been judged, decision made & treatment planned.

I worry that this blog will become just a forum to air my frustrations with the mental health services & my diagnosis (& trust me, I have already been told that disagreeing with my diagnosis is a part of BPD. Didn’t see that in the diagnostic criteria..) but… it is something that is affecting me.

It seems to be the answer for everything just now. Eating disorder? Low self esteem, caused by BPD. History of abuse? Ahh, now that’s common among those with personality disorders. Broken toe? Happens a lot to people with BPD.

I’m exaggerating, I know. I’m not denying there is a problem, or that that problem is BPD-shaped & flavoured. I’m just having difficulty with how it’s being treated. I think things have moved on from how it was viewed some years ago, but I fear that some of the old prejudices & stigma still remains. All mental health problems carry some degree of stigma, & as long as there is ignorance (both the rude ignorance & the genuine misunderstanding variety), there will be stigma. I wonder what makes certain conditions more prone to it, though?

Schizophrenia? That’s the one where you see & hear things & stab people. Depression? Oh, pull yourself together, everybody gets depressed. Bipolar? That’s what Robbie Williams has, right? I have mood swings, I’ve probably got a touch of bipolar.

I think it’s important to get the balance right when you’re diagnosing somebody with a mental illness. Too hopeful & it’s just annoying, too depressing & you will make us want to kill ourselves even more. I was told when I was originally diagnosed that I would screw up every friendship & relationship I had, & my experiences of abuse were testimony to that. Well, I’m managing college (albeit in my own special/crazy way), I have friends there, they haven’t run screaming for the hills yet, even ones that’ve either guessed or I’ve told about my mental health difficulties.

I can understand why they try not to diagnose you with anything, especially BPD, when you’re young. Your personality is still developing, & everyone is a bit BPD when they are growing up. Mood swings, rapidly changing ideas about yourself, anger… that’s just what life is like growing up these days. It can make that growing up process a bit more difficult. Of course, if it means you get better treatment, then that’s a great thing. I just don’t know if I’m so happy about being diagnosed with it a few months after turning 16.

I think I’ve thought-vomited enough for now. I hope this doesn’t sound too judgemental or anything. As I say, I probably should not have posted when my mind is so chaotic!

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3 Responses to "Thought vomit – BPD & me."

Personally I think it is irresponsible to diagnose a 16 year old with BPD, however many signs of it they may show, and even if you are convinced that is what their diagnosis will end up being in 5 years time. BPD is a controversial diagnosis at the best of times, just in diagnosing, without even taking into consideration the stigma etc etc. But diagnostically it is bizarre as there are 9 symptoms and you only have to meet 5, therefore 2 people with the same diagnosis could just have one symptom in common. That never strikes me as being a terribly well thought through diagnosis. More of a ‘well, let’s lump all these people together who are a bit mental, and like hurting themselves, and we’re not quite sure where else to put them’ diagnosis.

And then there is so much overlap. If you have Depression and an Eating Disorder for example, then from a diagnostic point of view you are actually fairly likely to tick enough boxes to meet a BPD diagnosis. Does that mean you have BPD? Possibly. Possibly not. So even when diagnosing adults I think it is something of a minefield – how do you know that person actually has BPD rather than a few other mental health problems? I often wonder that about myself. Although I have a BPD diagnosis, I have also been told by my CPN that I am not a ‘typical Borderline’ and that I am not what professionals think of when they think of BPD. If I wasn’t depressed would I still meet the BPD diagnostic criteria? I have no idea. It is far too long since I haven’t been depressed to know.

Diagnosing a teenager is just irresponsible. As you said, your personality develops so much, and it actually isn’t considered good practice to diagnose adolescents with a PD because of this. My notes mentioned things like ‘personality problems’ (thanks) for years, but I was 22 before the term ‘Personality Disorder’ was ever mentioned, and 23 before I was diagnosed with BPD. I agree that if a diagnosis is going to get you appropriate treatment then it does alter things slightly, although I still don’t agree with diagnosing a 16 year old with a personality disorder. I just think it is wrong.

Sorry for rambling. I get carried away sometimes…..

Don’t apologise for rambling – I agree with all what you’ve said, although I am somewhat lacking the words to explain just how! I often wonder the same, whether I am just being grouped & plopped into the big BPD box without looking at the details.

“Personality problems” – lovely! They are so very very charming…

Thanks for the comment!

outwardly x

Hey, I realise this was a while ago post but really felt I should reply.I was in exactly the situation you are in, at 16 I was diagnosed BPD, I wasn’t told that was my diagnosis for a while and when I found out and [after finding out the criteria and info about it] disagreed with them was also told that ‘most’ BPD’s disagree and that it’s ‘normal’ I feel that they used alot of my ‘life-stage’ ie. teens; normal screw ups with family and friends, getting boyfriends, feeling underpressure etc..towards my diagnosis, as now, at 19 I do not fit half of what I fitted before. Also at my time of diagnosis I could have quite easily [had I been more trusting of them] with an ED, PTSD and Depression/Some mood disorder.. I was also still being abused and they took none of the rest into account. All they saw was my ‘problematic’ relationship with my family and how I self-harmed and had more [often then normal :/] attempted suicide. I’m sorry, I’ve kinda just rambled on, I have had some bad experiences with professionals too regarding diagnosis; including being told by an AMHP that I didn’t actually want to die, I was just after attention – which obviously explains why police had to drag me off the train tracks but whatever.. I think the best thing you can do is ignore it, as hard as that is, if you agree with your diagnosis, then you will know which ways is does and doesn’t affect you. People’s ignorance and predujice is likely to always be a problem, I think all we can do is try and manage it and get to a point where we can not use it against ourselves.
Rainbow Tears
x

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About the blogger.

I'm an 18 year old girl/woman/person of the female gender who blogs about growing up, living with mental health problems and her experience with the NHS mental health services, both CAMHS and CMHTs. Expect plenty of teenage angst and general craziness. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

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