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Just diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder....

(18 Posts)
NowSissyThatWalk Tue 12-Jan-16 18:54:52

Hello all,

I have been suffering with depression on and off all my life, with my recent bout being September. I was booked to see a counsellor on the Wellbeing team and today was my second session with him.
He was very keen not to 'label' but we spoke at length about my past relationships (all quite dramatic, especially the most recent, very volatile and passionate)
This led him to bring up the list of symptoms for BPD, he wasn't pushing it at all just in a kind of 'what do you think of this?' way.
At first I felt relieved because I had something to work with, but now I'm home I just feel so awful. I feel like if I tell those I love they will think my whole personality is 'fake' and I'm not genuine, it's just my 'disorder' that makes me who I am.
It's helped me in that I can see that my negative traits: low self esteem, fear of abandonment, may well be down to BPD.
But it's done the opposite as well.
I'm questioning my humour, my quirkiness, my sensitivity, my compassion, everything I thought was good about 'me' now feels like it's just the BPD and I'm not 'right'.

Please please help. I've only told my best friend so far (who I live with and is very supportive) and I just wish I hadn't. I feel like she thinks I'm crazy or that everything she knows about me has been an act.
Anyone have any experience, any at all, I would really like some info, reassurance, tips, anything.

Thank you sad

NowSissyThatWalk Tue 12-Jan-16 19:06:10

Just want to say at this point as well that I didn't by any means fit in with all the symptoms, especially not the anger, violence, self harm or threatening suicide. The few suicidal thoughts I have had have always been entirely genuine and I never really want anyone to know.
It's more my actual 'self'. I can be whoever people want me to be. I am desperate to be liked, even finding out someone I myself didn't like didn't like me I would be devastated and totally change myself to whoever they want me to be until they like me.
I don't know who the real me is, I have always had this feeling that I am so many different things I don't know what the genuine ones are and what the ones I've just created for other people are.
Hope this makes sense.
Any advice would really be welcome right now x

Diggum Tue 12-Jan-16 19:15:32

I'm sorry you're going through such a tough time.

I think maybe it helps to NOT think of it as a "disorder". It's a personality type that can help give you insight into the way you handle and process things. We use lots of words to describe personality- nervous personalities, relaxed personalities, outgoing, introverted, the list is endless really, and much of that is influenced by very early experiences that we had no control over. The formative years that shape how we react to other people and situations.

But using a word to describe a person's personality doesn't define that person. You couldn't tell very much about someone with a "very relaxed personality" say, apart from that they aren't likely to sweat the small stuff. They could love music, be an accomplished artist, a brilliant scientist, a terrible cook, a million other things.

Think of it as something to help give you insight into how you react to people and situations, rather than something that boxes you in.

It seems you fear people with BPD are somehow less authentic human beings but that's absolutely not the case. People can share traits, but that doesn't mean that they are robots, controlled by some external force. You aren't BPD. You are you. An individual. Don't be afraid of this. Use it as a tool to help you and keep your sense of self, which is entirely unique. flowers

NowSissyThatWalk Tue 12-Jan-16 19:24:09

Diggum that reply is so lovely it's made me cry a bit, thank you thanks

Do you have any experience of it yourself? Do you know people with it? Are they weird/volatile/dishonest??
Sorry if this is in any way offensive, I'm just trying to get it all clear what it actually is...

Diggum Tue 12-Jan-16 19:25:01

Just saw your update.

Your fears seem centred around how to react to others, and how easily they can influence you. A lot of that stems from a desperate desire to be liked.

But even if you twist yourself in knots to be acceptable to others, there's still a core "you". The you you are when your alone. That enjoys certain things and not others, that likes certain songs and TV shows, that has a certain internal monologue.

Lots of us have differing masks that we present to the world. You're still an authentic person beneath all that, even if no one else gets to see it.

Diggum Tue 12-Jan-16 19:30:34

I don't have it myself but I know of others who do. Some of them fit the "traits" quite closely and can be very changeable. Lovely one day and then sort of snap into anger another. But a lot of that impulsivity is understandable with insight into the personality type.

That said, each of those people are individuals, and if I had to group everyone I know into similar "types" of people some of those with BPD wouldn't be in the same groups. They're still very individual and different people.

YouCantCallMeBetty Tue 12-Jan-16 19:32:26

Sounds rough OP, really feel for you. It sounds like (if I've understood) that he wasn't diagnosing, rather suggesting one way of understanding the things you have found difficult in the past. It sounds like you already have some very sensible ways of understanding the roots of some of these things in terms of your self esteem and attachment experiences.
A diagnosis is helpful if it offers some way of sharing with others what is going on for you but such a global diagnosis as BPD can be very tricky for others to understand properly.
It would be inappropriate for a counsellor to make a formal diagnosis as they don't have the appropriate training in diagnostic manuals & assessments and any personality disorder diagnosis should only be made after getting to know the person over weeks or months.
Diagnostic manuals currently view personality problems as categorical (ie you either do or don't have them), an alternative view which has plenty of support is that personality is more dimensional and we all have some personality issues (because we all have a personality and no-one is perfect!) but that these cause more problems for some than others.
Perhaps have a chat with your counsellor at next session about your feelings around the idea of BPD and whether it is helpful for you to continue to think along these lines or to look for /develop alternative ways of understanding your difficulties.
Best of luck thanks

KittyandTeal Tue 12-Jan-16 19:41:16

That's really tough. In one way I can understand why he has shown you the diagnostic traits however, like pp have said its not a diagnosis.

My consultant psychiatrist had a hard job diagnosing me after I'd seen her loads. She still waivers about if certain traits were more bipolar of bdp. My moods been stable uneducated for so long now that I think I'm more bpd than bipolar.

Tbh, like others have said, it is not who you are but a part of you if that makes sense. Saying that it's totally normal to feel this way. After my dx I attributed ever action I took to one of my many illnesses! Now I've got used to it just being part of me I'll occasionally think 'why the fuck did I do that?!' Then realise it's more than likely down to the bpd.

NowSissyThatWalk Tue 12-Jan-16 19:50:53

These are all so helpful, thank you.
Have to say the symptoms I did 'tick' I really ticked, IYSWIM. The passionate, volatile relationships (left a LTR in May that was actually very stable but since then have fallen into my old patterns again), and many other symptoms. I've looked up Bipolar symptoms and I don't see myself in it.
Thank you again for all your kind words.
It's very tough.
Depression, as horrific as it was, it was tangible, it was something everyone had heard of, this just feels like a slight on me as a person sad

KittyandTeal Tue 12-Jan-16 20:05:41

I know it feels that way but it's not a slight on you as a person it's just a way of describing how events in your life have effected you I guess.

Diggum Tue 12-Jan-16 20:09:52

That's totally understandable NowSissy, but even something as seemingly innate as a personality trait can still be dissected out from who you are as a person.

All those strands do help to build into who you are, but you aren't just the sum of your parts either. And equally, we all have some strands that are a bit faulty, or don't serve us as well as they could, but nobody's perfect.

It's no more a slight on you than having asthma is a slight on your immune system. It's an issue to be mindful of, but not one which defines you. Knowledge is power.

Pannacott Tue 12-Jan-16 20:15:11

I'd say there can be a wide range of presentations with BPD. At one end there can be very disturbed behaviour, with frequent self harm, suicide attempts, problematic drug and alcohol use and aggression. But that is definitely not true for everyone. At the other end you would barely see those behaviours. But the underlying sense of problems with identity, with relationships and with dealing with emotions is there in both cases. It must be quite frightening to get that diagnosis, and historically it did have quite a bad reputation, as people could get frustrated with the problematic behaviour (which not everyone does). But I think it can be a really useful diagnosis, as there are often very well designed and valuable targeted therapy programs that can treat it really well (so well that a person wouldn't fit the diagnosis afterwards). And I imagine you would feel quite positive about no longer having a lot of those difficulties!

Pannacott Tue 12-Jan-16 20:17:01

I was also going to say Knowledge is Power!

Synthesis Tue 12-Jan-16 22:32:38

Hiya NowSissy,

After years of so called anxiety and depression I was diagnosed with BPD 6 years ago after the birth of my second child. I ticked quite a lot of boxes.......but was never angry or violent towards others. I have been in therapy for 5 and half years now, it has been very hard work but if I were to review the list of of criteria for BPD now then I probably don't tick enough to be diagnosed. In reality I have chronic post traumatic stress, but actually some of what I read about BPD helped me to understand how I coped or otherwise with lots of things. There is a book that is quite old now called 'I hate you, don't leave me' and I found it offered me so much insight.

I also notice that there are some other chat threads here where others with BPD have posted ( I put BPD in the search box) but I'm fairly new and don't really know my way around too much.

I do remember in the beginning how it felt such a negative label to be given......and I suppose I still dislike that my medical file says I 'have' it. Some people do assume you will display certain behaviour and it's really unhelpful of them but even in the last 5 years I think it has become more recognised and understood. I certainly have a great GP and I more use the label and some of the information as a way of understanding how I may react/feel and sometimes to explain to others why something really little to them is actually really tough for me.


ohdearlord Wed 13-Jan-16 07:09:50

Another one here saying that this doesn't sound like a formal diagnosis. There are specific tools used for that, alongside clinical history taking (SCID-II is the most common usually).

The "identity" stuff is rough, really rough. I'd second what Diggum said though - even if you are somewhat of a chameleon (and please remember this can also be an exceptional social skill - that cannot be taught - when it is under your control!) there is still a "you". Time and consistency with a therapist will really help.

Be kind and gentle with yourself. Don't beat yourself for doing the chameleon thing. This sort of change comes slowly, but it does come.

"PD" is such incredibly unhelpful terminology. But it really isn't any more of a condemnation of you as a person than any other illness. It also isn't all of you - by any stretch. What do you like to do? What hobbies do you have? What do you study or work with? Do you have DC? Those things are just as valid a part of you too.

Hold on to the things you do know about you. Your humour and quirkiness, your compassion. You sound like an intelligent and sensitive woman. That hasn't changed.

BPD may help you think about the areas of your life that you'd like to change - it may be a useful explanatory model or tool for you. Likewise it may not. But really that is all it is - a set of descriptions. Some may be irrelevant for you, some might be accurate, some might be accurate some of the time. If they help you make sense of things, or describe your experience then great. If not, put them to one side and try not to worry too much about it.

BPD isn't like a broken leg. It's a model, a best guess at a description of a group of people who struggle (and there is a lot of professional and academic discussion about what that model should look like/be called/include). Every person with BPD is different, and a lot more besides their diagnosis.

Be kind to yourself.

ohdearlord Wed 13-Jan-16 07:22:23

I also meant to say that it can be helpful to think of BPD traits as extremes of ordinary experience - rather than something totally removed from "normal" people's experience.

Everyone would be scared if left in the middle of nowhere with no clue how to manage. You're supposed to be. It's what makes you move and seek help. Fear of abandonment is essentially this mechanism kicking in too early.

Everyone at some point has gone through periods of experimenting with who they are (which is why people often have cringe-worthy memories of university etc.), feeling unsure, falling sway to someone or something's influence.

Everyone has had moody, irrational days. Most people have at least some experience of an unhealthy or unhelpful type of relationship/friendship - even if they were able to recognise it and get out relatively quickly.

Everyone resorts to less than perfect coping mechanisms under stress. At least some of the time.

I don't mean this to minimise the distress and pain BPD causes. It really can be truly awful. Just to say that by experiencing these things you are not alien to the rest of humanity - it's just more extreme.

maggiethemagpie Wed 20-Jan-16 19:16:15

I just wanted to post on here to let you know that you can recover from BPD. I know, because I used to have it, but after a period of intensive therapy and growth I have been 'undiagnosed' by my psychotherapist who now says I am mentally healthy. It's been a long trek, and you have to be ready to change, but I wanted to let you know that it is entirely possible with the right help to recover. Good luck.

NowSissyThatWalk Wed 20-Jan-16 19:53:41

Hello all, thank you so much for all your stories and support.
I have my next counselling session next week and I'm feeling better about BPD in general, there are many parts of it that I know don't fit me, and on good days I don't feel any do, but on bad days I wonder if it is the answer to lots of episode in my life.
Thank you again, bloody love MN sometimes flowers

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