Today we have a special treat. The amazing Sandy from A Glass Half Shattered has agreed to do a guest post over here. Her topic was how she found out she had BPD and her reaction. Here is what she wrote.
I was 17 and on the adolescent acute unit for a suicide attempt when I first heard about borderline personality disorder. An underpaid tech told me: “Sounds like your mom isn’t bipolar, she’s a borderline. You should read I Hate You Don’t Leave Me and Walking on Eggshells” (as if this would somehow magically help me deal with my life.)
I read both books anyway. While I’m not a huge fan of either, the descriptions of borderline personality disorder sounded like me. Especially the lack of an identity stuff, the all-or-nothing thinking, and periods of dissociation. At that time in my life, I also cut, had an eating disorder, and already tried to kill myself. So it all sounded familiar.
I wouldn’t be formally diagnosed until eight years later. Before that it was a hodgepodge of PTSD, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and anorexia. It seemed like a new diagnosis with every new psychiatrist, and none of them were able to get it right. They looked at each individual symptom instead of the whole picture. It never occurred to me to bring up the possibility of having BPD on my own. After all, I wasn’t a professional; I was just trying to make sense of my life.
At 25, I finally did. I was sitting on the white leather sofa in my psychiatrist’s office when she verified what my therapist told me earlier that week after another session where I tested the boundaries.
I had wanted to know why I was there and whether or not I was wasting my time. My therapist told me I was referred to her from the hospital for DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) since I had borderline personality disorder. (Excuse me?) My first reaction was denial. I had post-partum depression, not a personality disorder. What I had was a fleeting response to child bearing. Hormonal or something. Not a permanent defect in my view and interaction with the world.
We didn’t discuss it. Instead, I went to the source.
My psychiatrist pulled out the DSM-IV when I tried to contradict her. She went down the list of diagnostic criteria. It read like an autobiography penned by yours truly. (And who was I to argue the psychiatric bible?)
When confirmation came that I did have borderline personality disorder, I was no longer in denial. I was relieved instead of horrified. Finally a diagnosis that explained some of my feelings and behaviors. Sure, there are the Glenn-Close-in-Fatal-Attraction stereotypes, the Girl, Interrupted craze, and the doctors and counselors who throw up their hands upon hearing the word “borderline.”
But I was happy nonetheless. I received greater insight into why I was the way I was, and more importantly, I was no longer alone.
(And I hate being alone.)
A beautiful post that I think we can all relate to. Thank you Sandy!