“He is strong, but not in the way people think. He loves more than he will ever get back and he knows it. And yet, he loves anyway”Unknown
I was given the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder in 2005 after a couple of informal stays on a psychiatric ward. Nobody at the time told me what was wrong with me despite having this diagnosis, so I went on for years believing that I had clinical depression. Well, that is what my GP had me believe and who was I to question that of a professional.
It wasn’t until 2010 that I finally enquired as to what my diagnosis was, with the help of my partner at that time. This was brought about because my partner was constantly telling me that there was more to it than just depression. She pointed out a few things that didn’t coincide with depression, so I agreed with her to approach it with my psychiatrist at my next appointment.
I was currently taking antidepressants and a mood stabiliser at the time, so I was far from being the worst I had been in the past. I wouldn’t say I was fully stable, but my ups and downs were pretty much levelled out and manageable for the both of us. I also had a couple different PRN medication for those times I called a “crash”. Luckily though, it wasn’t something that happened very often, but when it did, it often meant an admission to hospital if not brought under control.
The day I had my appointment with my psychiatrist, I remember going over in my mind just how I would ask the question of what was wrong with me. How we didn’t think that it was just depression. Even now I can clearly see a picture in my mind of the waiting room, how the chairs were placed in a square pattern in two separate areas, all facing in on each other. I remember reception being totally isolated by a wood and glass barrier so that you had to speak through little holes when talking to the receptionist. On the far wall was a couple vending machines, one with chocolate and crisps and the other, cans and bottled drinks. The place was completely empty apart from me and my partner. I was sat near the entrance and my appointment slot was 4 minutes away.
Twenty minutes had elapsed, and I asked my partner to speak to reception to see what was going on. My anxiety was high at this point and I just wanted to get out of there. After a couple of minutes, my partner approached me with a strange look on her face, so I asked what was wrong. She said my usual consultant was called out on an emergency and I was going to see a newly qualified psych, who happened to be on call at the time. This news sent my anxiety shooting for the sky and my partner had to try and calm me down before it became a full-blown panic attack. She also told me the reason for the appointment running late was because the doctor was reading through my notes before calling me through.
Another ten minutes had passed, and a guy walked into the waiting room and called out my name. I stood up and followed him down a maze of corridors. There where rooms on both sides as we passed, at least ten different ones, but the room I was led to just happened to be the very last one at the end. Not once in the time I walked to this room did I look at the doctor, not until I had sat down anyway. I remember thinking to myself just how young he looked, he must have easily been in his mid-twenties. He was wearing a smart suit that looked freshly pressed, and his glasses where easily identifiable as an expensive brand.
After having a rather quick glance at what appeared to be some notes he had taken from my file, he turned to me smiling and asked how I was. There was a pause as I found I couldn’t speak, I just froze. Opening up to someone who I have only just met is not something that has ever come easy to me. It is in fact something I find impossible most of the time. Because I didn’t speak, my partner went on to explain how things were going and asked if it was possible that I had something other than depression. The doctor picked up my file and started going back page by page. I remember just how large this file looked, and though to myself that we are going to be here forever.
After a few minutes he looked up at me and said, “It’s not depression that you were diagnosed with, but borderline personality disorder.” I had never heard of this before and it came as quite a shock to me, I immediately responded in a snappy kind of way with “borderline what?” I had no idea what this diagnosis meant, but I remember my mood suddenly changed from being just anxious. It now included anger, and thoughts of self-harm and suicide. I was so worked up at hearing that, that I had tears rolling down my cheeks and it felt as though my head was about to explode. I told the doctor I needed some fresh air and immediately left the room and headed outside.
I’m not sure how long I was outside alone, but it seemed like a lifetime. My partner remained in the room talking to the doctor and I had all kinds of thoughts going through my head. I started to look it up on my phone but stopped myself, as was so scared as to what this diagnosis meant. I was thinking how much of a freak I was, how my friends and family would want nothing to do with me anymore. I was also thinking about how my partner would now leave me.
When my partner finally came outside, she sat down beside me and placed her arm around me. She asked how I felt, and I immediately broke down. She showed me a few pieces of paper with information on BPD and told me she will go through it with me. She assured me that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it sounded and told me not to see it as a label, but a means to get the right help and support. I pulled myself together, and we headed home.
Thank you for reading, in my next post i am going to explain what bpd is and what its like to live with, so stay tuned.
Take care and stay safe.