The problem is, is my depression and anxiety just part of BPD? Do I have all three or just BPD? It is very inter-linked.
When I was on the psychiatric ward in hospital, I was assessed by a psychiatrist I hadn’t seen before. I can’t say we connected, but that’s no surprise. I don’t really remember my appointments, other than that she had a trainee with her. I would have only seen them about three times on their weekly rounds; during the second they had diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. The first appointment had been a general admission appointment & the second was ‘assessment & diagnosis’ it would appear. ‘We think you have Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, or Borderline Personality Disorder. Have you heard of it? We’ll have someone get some information to you’ & that was about it.
Once I was under the recovery team, I was sent for another personality assessment. I saw an amazing man at the local hospital for an hour on two separate occasions. So far he has been the only professional to assess me helpfully. He asked questions, some that I’ve heard countless times, but in the right way. He understood that some of his questions were difficult & asked me if I was not answering because I just didn’t no the answer or didn’t know how to vocalise it. Everybody else had assumed I was choosing not to respond. He then sent me home with my questionnaire & in our second meeting, discussed the answers with me while deciding a diagnosis.
His diagnosis was that I had various traits of personalities, namely depressive and obsessive but the strongest one was borderline. However, there was a problem & that was that I just didn’t quite meet the threshold for impulsiveness. This meant I could not receive the diagnosis. When I had queried the questions about impulsiveness, the examples given were shoplifting, gambling, excessive amounts of sex. ‘No, no definitely not me!’ I realise how that I was wrong, I am impulsive but I just didn’t realise my actions were classed as this. My self-harm is often impulsive, suicidal thoughts & actions. The more formal and informal articles I read about BPD, the more I realise it is definitely me. There hasn’t been any other diagnosis that fits so perfectly. I knew I didn’t only suffer from depression/anxiety, I knew it was something more, I just had no idea what.
- Black & white thinking? Absolutely – I often joke with friends & colleagues that I must be on the ASD spectrum.
- Fear of abandonment? Huge. Not usually by close friends and family, more those ‘one step removed’. People that I have connected with, and at that moment I am unable to think how I could possibly survive without them. In school, it was when certain teachers were leaving…or when I was leaving. As an adult, it is more people that are supportive: colleagues, friends, professionals. I can’t express this fear to you, the panic from the first inclin – whether perceived or factual. It isn’t just missing someone a bit because you catch up on the soaps by the photocopier, it really is fear of having to survive alone. Now I look back I can see this trait so clearly, from my devastation when a boyfriend broke up with me. The upset merely at the thought of this beforehand, the constant need for reassurance, perfection needed to keep him close.
- Hypersensitivity? Light & sound
- Suicidal thoughts and/or self harm? Daily
- Unstable sense of self? I’ve recently realised that this definitely changes based on who I am with. Like a flick of a light switch.
- Difficulty making & maintaining friendships? New people are really difficult for me. I can maintain close, existing friendships but newfriendships are difficult.
- Empty & lonely? For years with no reason.
- Anger? No actually. The man who did my DBT assessment was the first person who asked ‘Do you actually know what anger feels like?’
- Feeling numb/checked out? Yes. Regularly do not remember things/hours.
At the moment, I am trying to get a second assessment. However, my CPN has stated how thorough my first was (as a result of the poor hospital diagnosis). I will persist in trying, but for now I class myself as having BPD.
The really difficult part is that without an official diagnosis, I can not get the appropriate medication or therapy. Professionals keep telling me that I need DBT, but in my area you can only receive DBT with a BPD diagnosis. My medication doesn’t work brilliantly and I’m starting to wonder if this is because it’s for depression and anxiety.
Sometimes I read blog posts & they’re just perfect: