Borderline personality disorder

EDIT: I am quite upset so excuse incoherence. I probably shouldn’t be writing this here but I am upset. And now reading this over, I’m thinking, “Ooh, am I being BORDERLINE?!” Fucksake. Never in my life have I written or said something and thought, “OOH I’M SO BIPOLAR” but personality disorders are different eh.

I’ve had a diagnosis change, which I apparently got ages ago and have absolutely no recollection of whatsoever. According to the psychiatrist that I don’t remember meeting before, I don’t have bipolar disorder. I’ve never had a manic episode (ah, poor Rob, who has spent months trying to calm me down for nothing, pulling me away from randoms in the street and comforting me when I spent ages thinking there were things living in my walls, or pasting moustaches on my face at work, running down hills euphorically, applying for jobs as a gym instructor because I thought it would be brilliant, days and weeks spent up awake writing and talking, and months, this all lasted weeks and bloody months, not hours or seconds), my mood swings aren’t severe and it’s emotional lability. According to the psychiatrist, I have Borderline Personality Disorder. Not “and”, which I would understand. Instead of.

I feel stupid but I burst into tears and walked out of the room.

I went back, but as well as feeling its inaccurate, I feel like a fool. I allowed myself to invest far too much in the bipolar thing, as a prism for understanding myself, instead of just taking it as useful information and carrying on. This blog. Writing a book. People asking me for advice. On something I apparently don’t even have. And having a fucking abortion because I was so scared of what would happen, because of bipolar disorder. Why did I listen?

I don’t know whether to continue with this blog, and certainly not the book. Which may seem stupid but what right do I have to give advice on anything? Maybe I’m sulking but I don’t feel I should write about something I apparently don’t suffer from. I was told not to self diagnose, but I didn’t self diagnose! I’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder more than once, when I had asked for second opinions, so obviously I was labouring under that thought! (Oh shaky sense of self! I must have BPD then).

Bipolar disorder has fit to me but my lack of response to medication points to BPD, apparently (despite the fact that most times off medication I’ve gone a bit mental. But I shouldn’t have been on them to begin with. And I didn’t stick with them because of the side effects that hit me hard. Lithium made me vomit constantly, and I was also trying to hold down a job on it. They thought I was an alcoholic. Depakote made my hair fall out and I gained a lot of weight, and having an eating disorder made it intolerable. Antidepressants have always been a disaster). BPD doesn’t fit to me. I don’t recognise myself at all in the criteria. I don’t think it’s accurate. I understood bipolar, it fit. It explained a lot and it helped me to know what I was dealing with. He said you can’t give people the diagnosis they want but I feel stupidly upset by this. I’m upset he says I have never had a manic episode and that my mood swings aren’t severe: then what has been happening to me all these years? What were they, then? What about racing thoughts, the psychosis, what was that? My mood swings last a lot longer than hours and days. The people who are close to me have seen that. I am better than I was and my mood swings last shorter now but I thought that was because I accepted my diagnosis and acted accordingly. I’ve got a lot better in the past year. And I put that down to medication and being more self-aware. Hence why I felt it was a good time to try and live without it. The psychiatrist asked if I only used Seroquel as a sleeping pill; I don’t, when I’ve come off it before I’ve become paranoid and agitated, but I couldn’t take the zombiedom and I’ve been sensible since I came off it in making sure I take it easy. But I didn’t get time to answer.

I don’t agree with it. I don’t think I have many of the diagnostic criteria at all. My relationships with people only became problematic in the past few years due to social anxiety and shyness and also last year me and Rob breaking up and the stuff that precipitated it and it meaning that my social life changed a lot and I felt isolated (and I thought if I had any personality disorder, it was avoidant personality disorder, as this is what my notes to the GP said), and my romantic relationships have been boringly settled. My mood swings last a lot longer than hours and days. I’m not promiscuous and I’m only impulsive in the context of being hyper. I haven’t self harmed in ages and when I did it was to calm down. I don’t dissociate. I’m not afraid of abandonment and I prefer being alone. I don’t have anger problems. I’ve taken one massive overdose in four years and it was because I took antidepressants which made me shivery, frantic and impulsive. I don’t feel bored or empty. I hate the fact that my traumatic childhood might be a factor in this diagnosis when I have never felt abused or neglected, I always understood that my parents were ill and it wasn’t their fault. My medications worked to a point; I’ve been quite stable mostly on Seroquel- but I couldn’t cope with the side effects.

But he was adamant and seems sure. So he is okay with me coming off medication, because I don’t need it anyway. He said I shouldn’t self diagnose.

I hate how upset I am over this. I don’t know whether to continue writing here. I invested far too much here. I know they are just words, just labels, but I feel foolish and like I have been misleading myself for years. I know it doesn’t change anything I’ve gone through but it dramatically changes how I understand it, and I feel like I then just did this to myself. I feel belittled. If they weren’t “severe” then how did I let it do this to me? It has always felt physical to me, and I’ve never thought I was particularly reactive. If I were reactive I’d have the highest self esteem, ever. If I were reactive just changing aspects of my life would have helped, and I wouldn’t have been so sad at happy times and vice versa. In months of depression, or spikes of mania and mixed-up bullshit, nothing touched it, nothing changed it.

I was asked to keep this within a clinical setting for now (I’m not sure why, we didn’t have much time because I was late, but I guess it’s because I’d get “validation” posting here) but I’m upset and wanted to vent. I would be less upset if it was, “and” but instead of is upsetting. I feel like the longer stuff, the destruction, and the frightening stuff, has just been dismissed. He says he knows me quite well through my stuff but I don’t recall meeting him much. He said he was explicit about this the last time we met but I don’t remember it. Then again, my memory is shit. I need a second opinion, because nobody around me believes this is accurate, and neither do I.

But I have been a lot better in the past year, and that’s important, but I also know it muddies the waters, but it doesn’t, to me, dismiss the rest of my life.

THE CALM DOWN EDIT

BUT!

On the other hand, maybe seeing how things change, how uncertain diagnosis are despite my experiences remaining the same, is a good start to giving up my idea, my identity, and my treatment of mental illness. Or that I should just ignore the labels and concentrate on the treatment, when I need it again.

^That’s the sensible response, but I wish I’d named my blog something different now… I think, if anything is up in my brain, I have bipolar disorder. I doubt it sometimes because I am doing okay right now but my past experiences seemed quite obviously to me to be bipolar. But I’m supposedly wrong.

I don’t agree with the BPD label. I’d like a second opinion. But… I don’t know. It might not need to matter. Especially if I no longer want to take medication. Increasingly in the past year I’ve been stepping away from it all, which is why I even entertained the possibility of writing a book because I felt I had enough distance to do it. I have been ready to try living without medication. I don’t know. Diagnosis change, and different doctors diagnose different things, and I’d have been surprised if I didn’t get slapped with a new diagnosis. I just feel as though the rug was pulled out from underneath me, though, and I would be a lot happier if I felt it was accurate. He said he had been explicit with me about this some time ago, but I don’t remember it, and I have outright asked my CPN a few times what my diagnosis was, and I’m a bit pissed about it because if they thought that ages ago then maybe I could have come off medication and not lived with the side effects for so long. And if I go mental and have a manic episode off medication, well, that’ll be fun. It also asks why I became so crazy on antidepressants.

And, let’s be honest, part of my upset is because I, like most people, have fallen foul to the stigmatising view of BPD being a dustbin diagnosis given to difficult women. Whoops.

EDIT: The great thing is, I believed I had bipolar disorder. I have done for years because it was my experience and my diagnosis. I was pregnant last year and frightened of going mad during pregnancy and afterwards which is what can happen with bipolar disorder because they warned me it was dangerous to get pregnant. I thought it might be hereditary. I was afraid of not taking medication and not coping. And I am wrong then I did it for nothing. If anyone knew this last year before April I should have been told so I could have made an informed decision about keeping my fucking wanted child.

EDIT EDIT: Rob, my family and most of my friends disagree with the psychiatrist. My sister is angry because she feels like I’ve been dragged back to the beginning. It was hard enough accepting bipolar disorder. I don’t want to be ill in any way and I thought I’d been doing well lately, which I have, but I don’t want to be labelled with something that I think isn’t right either.

90 Responses

  1. Same/similar thing happened to me in August. I wrote this: http://ladieswholovedinosaurs.blogspot.com/2009/08/not-so-manic-now.html Redefining your condition is scary, but ultimately liberating. As always, I am here if you want to discuss. xx

  2. I was always under the impression BPD was on the bipolar spectrum?

    In any case, it ain’t a reason to stop doing this.

  3. I think your reaction is understandable … not that that makes it any easier. To hear that what you’ve been through isn’t “severe enough” must be enraging!

  4. And here I thought getting my appointment for Monday cancelled was bad.

    Just remember your diagnosis does not define who you are, and no matter what the men-in-white-coats say to you, you are who you are. Don’t let this illness – for that is what it is – become you. Names don’t matter, just you.

    As for this blog, definately. I’d be lost without it, and lots of other people would, too. The book moreso. It’s been a dream and ambition of yours to become an authour, why stop now? You’ve come so far.

    x

    • Agreed. You just got a surprise plot change. Write that book!

      • Thirded. Write a whole new short chapter about having a diagnosis change. You WERE ‘officially’ manic depressive for the whole of the time you’re going to be writing about. Having a diagnosis change is just a new way to explain to your readers how mental health works, through lived experience, which is one of the things you do best.

        Been thinking about you lots lately, not in a creepy way, but we should go for that drink at your convenience.

        L.xxxxx

  5. I’m so sorry Seaneen. I can’t begin to fully understand how difficult this must be for you. But how awesome are you for a) Going back, and b) Writing about it here.

    You see, I don’t think you fit the criteria very well at all, but then I only know you online. I think what I am beginning to suspect with the whole BPD thing, is that it’s mostly a pile of old bollocks, at least the criteria are. That’s not to say that there is not suffering, because fuck knows, people shoved in that pigeon hole suffer hugely, but it’s the “personality” bit that fucks me off. It sounds like a character flaw, when to me it seems more like a mood disorder in conjunction with some fucked up life conditioning.

    I don’t think a change in diagnosis makes the slightest bit of difference to the experiences that you have written about. Your prose is still beautiful, and your stories often heartbreaking, at least when they’re not laced with that dark humour. A change of someone else’s definition of you doesn’t change that.

    Much love.

    Lola x

  6. I’m sorry that this has shaken you up so much. The fact that so many people have drawn comfort from your writing, praised it, rewarded it and most importantly of all have been able to understand the condition they have, whether they share a diagnosis with you or not, shows that there’s value in you continuing to do this. You’ve written about how you don’t want to define yourself by your illness, but this isn’t about labels. This is a matter of your health, and if you’re unconvinced by the new diagnosis, fight against it.
    Take care.

  7. Is BPD just a way of saying you’re not getting better fast enough?

  8. You were just trying to make sense of an illness, with every mean at you disposal. I think your reaction is absolutely understendable. Anyway please have someone keep carefull track of how you deal without medication, as in my humble and unprofessional opinion they are wrongly wrong.

    I know all this is hard to swallow, just try to use it to detach yourself from the diagnosis, whatever it is; ulitimetely it is a device to understand your predictment and make your life, not at horoscopal-sign change (“you mean, I am NOT Cancer?”).

    All the best

    Giovanni

  9. “and make your life better”, I meant.
    ….sorry for the spelling mistakes, I am very tired….
    Best

    G.

  10. Part of me wonders if the diagnosis will become clearer with the removal of meds?

  11. your response is understandable….but also the doctor isn’t necessarily right, just because the treatments tried didn’t work doesn’t mean its something else…..mind you it also could. and medications are actually used in BPD treatment the medications you have mentioned taking didnt help my partner either the only thing which has worked is minimising his meds and using one of the anticonvulsant mood stabilisers Sodium Valproate. they got his wrong for 20 years….its mental illness even the professionals REALLY don’t know real research has only really begun in recent years otherwise all they know is from observation and the definitions of what is a certain disorder is regularly changed….

    don’t put too much faith in the “experts” because no one is actually an expert when it comes to mental illness except those living with it

  12. Labels (any label) are just a the end of the day that: labels. If they work for you, use them. If they don’t, discard them. No matter what a psychiatrist tells you, diagnostic labels ain’t a “science”. It’s actually more akin to Mystic Meg meets Freud meets big business pharmaceuticals. Trust your instincts, go with what feels *right* for you. As you say, if the prism helps you to understand yourself better and pinpoint those areas of yourself you feel you need to work on, great. If not, not.

    x

  13. From what I’ve seen of you via your blog, this seems like an insane decision to me, but I think your reaction is unsurprising. Have you thought of asking for a second opinion? If he is so confident that you have BPD, then he should be fine with you asking for a second opinion.

    It also kinda worries me further about where I may be heading, as my depression is apparently “hard to treat”….

  14. It’s a label given to you by someone who doesn’t even really know you. But yes, I can understand how it feels to have something you have come to identify with, ripped away in a few casual words.

    I do hope you don’t give up writing here, whatever ‘label’ others choose to attach. As has been said BPD is a spectrum disorder and not a black and white thing. And besides, we’re all here because our minds are dangerous places for ourselves, so I say we should stick together and fuck whatever labels people want to give us!!

  15. If it helps, everything I’ve read in your blog – to me – says you’re bipolar. Diagnosing mental difficulties isn’t an exact science, and different doctors notoriously come up with different diagnoses. Take the one you feel is you. You’re not stupid, you can understand what makes someone bipolar. If bipolar fits you, then it fits you. Not respondind to bp treatments isn’t a good indicator, as there will always be a proportion of people who don’t respond to treatments for their particular condition.

    x

  16. I don’t blame you for being upset and pissed off and to say that your symptoms aren’t severe enough and slap BPD on you is an insult to you and anyone with BPD. I don’t get why they didn’t tell you sooner. I would be asking for a second opinion. The worst thing for me about having bpd is the stigma even within the mental health profession.
    Wow chick, I’m sorry this had happened. Please don’t stop writing!
    X x x x

  17. A diagnosis is just a label. And it does not define you. And if you have found ways to help you manage your symptoms, then by all means continue them despite what this doctor has told you. If you’ve gotten several green lights on bi-polar and then *one* doc says you have BPD, then I would take his diagnosis with a grain of salt. Get a second opinion if you’d like. Or get no other opinion at all and use your intuition to guide you in your treatment. Doctors are humans; they are imperfect and make mistakes.

  18. Doctors aren’t gods. I was originally diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder which still makes me laugh. I was cleaning while manic and apparently that qualified? It was ridiculous.

    Doctors aren’t gods. In the end, you live and you breathe your disorder, and if you think they’re headed off into left field get a second opinion. They can’t see what’s going on in your head; they only know what you’re able to tell them if they’re listening.

    Second point. I did not respond favorably to most of the bipolar medications I was put on. Seroquel was one of THE WORST for me. It did NOT make me better. It sent me to the hospital repeatedly. Most meds made me worse, and I couldn’t seem to get my Doctors to understand. I’m taking Trileptal now and it is everything I needed. Just because some meds aren’t working doesn’t necessarily mean that your diagnosis is full out wrong, especially when there are more meds out there than the ones I’ve seen you list!

    Honestly, it sounds more like they’re throwing up their hands and giving up than giving an honest diagnosis. Call them on it and get a second opinion. If they don’t know, they should owe up to it, not tack on a muddy diagnosis that will make things more difficult later. Also, would the new diagnosis mean that you would no longer qualify for government help? If it does I would definitely be super suspicious.

    In the long run though, it doesn’t matter what they call it. Period. All that matters is that you find some treatment that helps you get better. They could tell me I have foaming mad acorn rabies, and so long as the treatment worked I wouldn’t care. (Not that I wouldn’t think my Doctor was the one who was nuts with a diagnostic name like that!)

    Other things I noted that you might think about. How long have you had this Doctor? When did the diagnosis change and who changed it? Are they just disregarding everything before they started treating you?

    And mood swings not being severe enough is BULLSHIT. I am bipolar and my mother is as well. Her swings are barely perceptible to me. It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have them just because they’re not as severe as mine. My swings are under control now and seem to be just a PMS type behavior to strangers. It doesn’t mean I don’t have them. I would say that if they’re disrupting your life and ability to function that’s pretty damn severe.

    Whatever is decided, remember this: Readers are drawn to you not because of the name of your disorder, but because you arouse empathy in those who are ill and bring understanding to those who are not. You are a person, not just a disorder, a statistic, or something to politely ignore. You remind us all of this. You rub people’s faces in it so that they can’t just look away and pretend that no one is suffering or that we somehow have brought this suffering on ourselves.

    We’re people, and while I show people around me this, you have the balls to shout it at the world and force them to see.

    Thank you.

  19. The problem with diagnosing mental disorders, is that they are all too often based on what one therapist sees at one given time. There are no blood tests (or any other methods of objective testing) available to either confirm or refute any given diagnosis.

    If you are convinced that bipolar “fits” you, whereas BPD doesn’t fit, I’d suggest you just go with your gut feelings. They’re often right.

  20. I have BPD and feel it fits me. The first time I read about the condition, in the list of symptoms I could see myself reflected back. This helped me immeasurably. I’ve also lived with someone with bipolar so have personal experience of both conditions. From your writing, I’d say you definitely fit more into the bipolar category, but who am I to say. Remember thought that they are just labels, and ultimately you’ve got to go with what feels right to you.

  21. I have a negative reaction toward being called BPD as well. I think that there are a lot of legitimate reasons to have that negative reaction that don’t imply having a negative reaction to BPD itself. Being labeled with BPD involves a big muddle of complicated consequences and implications. For me, that means having a gut negative reaction to BPD, but this is what that negative reaction is composed of.

    I don’t think being extroverted is a bad thing, I don’t attach any stigma to it, but I will get offended if someone says I am extroverted because I am not. When someone makes such a sure statement about me (and psychiatrists have a lot of power in that regard) and that statement is plainly false, I will be offended. One such statement for me is that I have BPD. Having such a sure, but incorrect, statement made about me, especially one so sticky, means that you will be treated in the future as someone with BPD, which may be entirely inappropriate for you as you actually are. It means having to deal with the frustration of the powerful professionals insisting on a reality that differs from yours.

    I also find being labeled with BPD upsetting because I know it is used as a pejorative by mental health care professionals even though I would not use it that way. I also know that it is a legitimate way of being, that there really are people who fit the criteria and who suffer and who should not have to be mixed up in this. For example, I call myself “crazy” all the time because I do not attach stigma to that term, but there are people who I will be offended by if they call me “crazy” because I know that they attach stigma to the term. If I didn’t know there was stigma attached to being labeled BPD from a professional, I would just be upset because of the reasons in the above paragraph, but this adds a layer of insult.

    I think diagnoses are useful as long as you remember that they are a cognitive shortcut. They help understanding; they help to inform treatment. But when they are used to replace actually understanding and treating an individual as an individual, they cause more trouble than they are worth. I also think that choosing a diagnosis is largely a game of “what fits best”. For some people there is a clear winner, a diagnosis that clearly fits better than the rest. For others, there might be several diagnoses that fit equally well (and equally poorly), but that each reflect different aspects of that person’s experiences.

  22. I can’t even imagine how difficult this must be. Butt you are more than just a label, and you should definitely keep writing your blog, it’s helped so many people, including me, whether or not you have bipolar or bpd. And you should definitely still write your book.

    Have you thought of asking for a second opinion? It seems strange that they’ve just suddenly rediagnosed you, especially when to all of us and all of your friends, your mood swings are severe. And it isn’t fait of him to say they aren’t, and it must be really invalidating for you. I hope you get this sorted, but whatever yo do, please don’t stop writing x

  23. I’ve been following your blog for a while, and it’s become a great place for me to find solace. It inspired me to go back to CBT.

    You should carry on this blog, and the book. Sounds trashy, but you have inspired so many of us, and probably so many more.

  24. The exact same thing happened to me. After having been repeatedly diagnosed as Bipolar, but having not responded well to drug treatments, I was transfered to a new doc who promptly relabled me as Borderline, briskly dusted his hands, snapped shut his file and bid me bugger off. The symptoms that had previously been used to catagorically “prove” to me that I was indeedy Biloopy were neatly reordered to prove catagorically that I am BPD. Utter nonsense.
    My Cog Therapist flatly disagreed and hot debate insued.
    Now I am in diagnosis limbo and my slender trust in the medical specialists has withered as my resolve to sort things out myself has grown. Doctors it seems are split into two camps; those that blindly and blinkeredly believe in their brother bloodletters rulings and who will refuse to wavour or doubt these holy gospels; and on the other side those doctors who will purposefully disagree with any diagnosis other than their own.
    Both are frustrating.
    Neither should affect your decisions regarding writing or life in general.
    Wait 5 minutes, they’ll soon be diagnosing you as a hedgehog and whipping out the saucers of warm milk and dogfood.(Any refusal to consume these delicasies will be seen as proof positive that you are indeed a Hedgehog because we all know how timid hedgehogs are don’t we…)

    All the best :D

    • Sidetracked!

      My hedgie hates milk and wet dog food, but she’s all over dry dog food.

      And meal worms! Nom nom noms!

      Obviously, she is in denial about being a hedgehog. Or maybe she’s a ferret, but she’s pretty damn sure she’s a hedgehog. She’ll bristle just to show you so.

      ‘Hurry up with that meal worm!’ she’s saying right now. ‘I can’t quite reach!’ and her little nose goes twitch twitch twitch!

  25. Psychosis can be associated with borderline as well. That said, I have borderline traits. I fit the criteria pretty well. You? You don’t fit the criteria, honey. Tack it up to a guy who thinks he knows it all and try to get a second opinion, see what your cpn thinks, etc. I figure if you really were borderline and not bipolar resistant to treatment they would have told you years ago and that would’ve been a possible diagnosis all the way from the beginning. Borderline mood swings are all about timing and reasoning. There are REASONS behind our depressions and our highs, even if we are blowing whatever it is out of proportion. That’s the way I tell when my swings are borderline or bipolar related.

    And didn’t you have a few years where you were ranting and raving to strangers? Where you fit all the criteria of mania to a T? Just because he hasn’t seen you like that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  26. Hi
    Ive got the BPD label and I do see myself in the criteria. It sucks big time. I HATE it with a passion. But I read your blog, not because of your diagnosis, but because I can relate to alot of what you say. Please dont stop writing, you are still you whatever label you get x

  27. Hello,
    My story and condition are very different but I think I know a little of how this feels. I would recommend getting a second opinion. Doctors seem to frown upon patients ‘self-diagnosing’ but who knows you better than you? You know what your head feels like, and if you feel bipolar after learning a lot about it, then I’d be sceptical of someone telling you you’re not. Also, what do the people close to you think? Do they think BPD fits?
    Also, psychiatric diagnoses have a lot of overlap, and I suspect a lot of people with mental health problems don’t really fit any criteria all that well.
    Sorry if what I’ve said is bad, and I hope you feel better about this soon.

  28. Hi,

    I just started reading your blog today. I almost never comment on people’s blogs, but I wanted to say a few things.

    First, it seems like you were using your diagnosis to help you cope with some of the things going on with you, meaning it helped when you were able to label your experiences as ‘bipolar’. With so much invested, of course it would feel scary and disorienting and more to have that “taken away from you,” by a doctor. However, a change in diagnosis doesn’t change who you are!! And it doesn’t change the worth of your contributions, to this blog, your book etc. You have affected a lot of people with this blog, one visit to the doctor doesn’t negate that! And you’re not just helping other bipolar people. What you say on here is accessible to all sorts of folks, both mentally ill and not. I’m so sorry that you felt invalidated, it sounds like the doctor said some things that made you feel like your condition isn’t as serious as it is. However, BPD is very serious, and a change in diagnosis doesn’t negate your experiences.

    Secondly, the way professionals understand Borderline Personality Disorder is constantly changing. Some have even proposed calling people with BPD “chronically distressed persons” because they feel that that name more accurately describes what the person is experiencing and is less stigmatizing. In fact, the DSM V has proposed sweeping changes to the entire section of personality disorders in the manual. Here’s a link for some of the proposed changes http://www.dsm5.org/ProposedRevisions/pages/proposedrevision.aspx?rid=470.

    I think maybe learning more about personality disorders in general might help. For example, as a rule, people with PD’s generally mellow over time and the condition becomes less severe. You note that you have been better in the last year. I think that’s a great thing. And there are some really great therapies out there! http://www.priory.com/dbt.htm

    Keep the blog going!!

  29. [...] apparently Seaneen, my fellow Norn Iron mental health blogger who writes at mentallyinteresting.org.uk, has [...]

  30. A similar thing happened to me, they decided I have BPD not bipolar because I did not respond to meds, and I dislike the BPD label for similar reasons. Like you say, your understanding of yourself should be the most important thing. I wish I had a snappy, “this happened to me, and I did this, and now it’s all better” reply but the truth is I haven’t figured this out at all. So it’s just a “this happened to me”. Please don’t stop writing!

  31. Hi Seaneen

    I started out with diagnosis of depression. Then they decided I had bipolar. Then they decided because I wasn’t responding to meds and od when depressed I had BPD. Only after being assesed in hospital did I get Bipolar diagnosis. even after ward BPD was branded around. a year later they have finally shaken off the BPD thing with me and realised I have rapid cycling Bipolar. Anyway I know your frustration I felt same when I knew there was no way BPD applied to me. Not saying I want to be BIpolar or that BPD isn’t distressing but you don’t want to be labelled inaccurately. Only way is to give it time and they will see if you remain stable and distress free and how you come off the meds whether the BPD is accurate. x

  32. Seaneen, I’m not 100% sure I’m bipolar myself but it comes closest to encompassing what manifests in me. I also have TBI (traumatic brain injury) which includes the temporal lobes. Damage to those area can cause symptoms of BP as well but even so, TBI would be treated pretty much the same as BP. The daughter of one of my best friends, who is BPI w/ psychosis self-harms as well but I know she is not BPD. She is also one who is difficult to treat. This whole mentalism & diagnosis stuff is a labyrinth & things can change on us while other stay the same. Please don’t let this undermine your writing regardless of the outcome. It would be a loss for yourself & for us. Hang in there, Love!

  33. There’s nothing more irritating that so-called professionals defining your experience for you. It happens a lot to people with physical disabilities too. The big one we experience is other people’s definition of pain and how we should perceive and manage it. They don’t account for the fact that everyone has different ideas about what level of pain is tolerable for them and the way you deal with it most effectively is a very personal thing.

    I think sometimes labels are too rigid, particularly when it comes to mental health and the professionals look too closely at your label and discount your experience and respecting what you have to say about it because the way you feel doesn’t fit the criteria they’ve been schooled on. This in turn makes you doubt your initial diagnosis.

    Maybe now you understand more about your personal experience (whatever the doctors are calling it) and what helps or exacerbates your symptoms, you can approach each factor slowly and gently rather than trying to deal with everything under one banner?

    I agree with those who are saying that this doesn’t change or diminish your experience and that your blog is still very relevant to a lot of your readers.

    • “They don’t account for the fact that everyone has different ideas about what level of pain is tolerable for them and the way you deal with it most effectively is a very personal thing. ”

      Very well put!

      I live with chronic pain from a physical disorder that is not visible to the naked eye, and because I’m not crying or writhing on the floor for my Doctors, it isn’t serious and doesn’t need treatment. I don’t complain about it. I don’t cry, and I just keep pushing through it until I can’t. But my lack of reaction is keeping me from getting treatment because it doesn’t jive with what I rate for them verbally on the subjective pain scale.

      Or worse, they tell me it’s a manifestation of my Bipolar. Ignoring the fact that I had the physical disorder since birth and x-rays clearly back me up.

      I’ve had to learn to be very politely assertive about what I need and what I can and cannot do and to not back down just because Doctors pressure me. I don’t yell or cry or sulk. When I say ‘no’ it’s generally not going to happen. When I need help I persist until someone hears me. I’m not an outgoing or assertive person, but I’ve had to learn to project that (and a great deal of calm politeness when I want to throw things) I am so that I can be heard and I stop being a diagnosis and start being a person to them. More than once I’ve had to politely smile and tell a Doctor that no, I won’t be seeing them again and deal with their annoyed notes on my record and find someone else.

      Frustrating! I hate dealing with a Doctor who won’t see that they’ve missed something or are flat out wrong. I treat my current Psych Doctor like gold because she cares and listens and THINKS about things. She also tells me when I’m being unreasonable in a manner I can swallow which is very helpful for both of us.

  34. i can only say what my dad says to me when i feel crappy, you is what you is kiddo xx
    I hope you keep writing, it means a lot to me (and i am sure to others too) to have someone who can articulate the ups and downs of living with mentalness (whatever the label) so well.

  35. From what you’ve shared on the blog this seems like a very strange change of diagnosis. Of course relying on self-diagnosis is no good, but I’d definitely get a second opinion.

    In any case, even if the doctor is right, please continue your work with the blog and the book! I’ve found this blog very helpful since you write brilliantly about your issues, even if they never were exactly the same as mine. It’s perfectly understandable that you’re upset about this, but in the end your diagnosis really is just a label. An ill-fitting diagnosis doesn’t invalidate your actual experiences.

  36. For me,being given a diagnosis of bipolar has been like finding a raft to cling to in a great big sea of uncertainty – i cling onto it for dear life. I think this is partly because most people know about bipolar – it has credibility as an illness and therefore elicits a degree of understanding /sympathy The thought of someone taking that away from me is terrifying. I think BPD is probably considered in 99.9% of all females who present with mental health problems, yet the average lay person knows precious little about it – it’s not on Eastenders and there isn’t a list of creative celebrities as long as your arm all professing to “be BPD”. I don’t know a great deal about it but i think given a list of criteria for BPD, most people would recognise some of their own personality traits. There has been a lot of opinions and/or advice on here about diagnoses not defining you, etc and whilst i think that is sound advice i can only go off what i imagine my reaction to such news would be – i think it would send me into a spiral of despair – frustration, embarassment, uncertainty. In short, it would leave me very vulnerable. I hope that if you feel this way then you are able to flag this up to whoever necessary and surround yourself with support. Take care.

    • I do feel that way, yeah. A bit like the rug has been pulled from beneath me, and exposed, and embarrassed, especially since I write one of the most well known bipolar blogs. All the bipolar research I’ve done etc. The psychiatrist said his students when reading descriptions of bipolar thought they had it to. As if I did that. I am, in short, distraught.

  37. You should keep blogging.

    Is a borderline diagnosis given by someone who cant decide between psychiatry and proper medicine?

    A psychiatrist once asked me what my diagnosis was and i responded by saying that i was about to ask him the same question. Rather cleverly he countered by saying that in psychiatry names were not important which was reasuring as I wouldnnt want to think that I was being treated by a lazy cunt that couldnt enen be bothered to read the file.
    In my time I have been “helped” by boat loads of \\\\\\\\psychiatrists over the years and I know that if I got stuck on a desert island with them it would be me telling them what to do. No joke.

  38. Yikes! Borderline Personality Disorder???! I can’t begin to imagine how this must be affecting you! From reading your blog I see A LEVEL OF INSIGHT INTO BIPOLAR DISORDER THAT ONLY FIRST HAND EXPERIENCE CAN BRING!

    So many of your accounts of your experiences and symptoms have resonance with my own experiences (of Bipolar with Psychotic features), and I would imagine other Bipolar sufferers would feel the same.

    If your symptoms point to Borderline Personality Disorder then it would seem so do mine and possibly the majority of visitors to this site that have been diagnosed Bipolar! ‘Things living in the walls’ I’ve had that! Cars with malevolent occupants waiting to get me! That too! I moved to a different city on a whim and went completely mad freaking out my housemates. I manically rearrange my room causing distress to my (now ex) girlfriend. I believed I was a rock star. At work I’ve run about giggling to my self, scrawling ridiculous slogans in permanent marker on things and stuck all the pens to the ceiling! I’ve tried to dry my clothes under a grill (they were taking too long) and set them on fire (that one always makes me laugh though!). I’ve had Satan stand in my room. I’ve stared making advances to women right in front of my girlfriend, I’ve woken the same girlfriend up at 4 in the morning panicking and in tears because there were demons in the attic. Just a few my examples and I’m sure some will be familiar to you and a lot of people who are reading.

    I think your new Psych Doctor has got this one so wrong and that really worries me!

    Should those of us who see a lot of our selves in the experiences you’ve shared in your blog start to wonder if our diagnosis is also incorrect? I admit I have some personal investment in Bipolar Disorder, it has been my goal to define its affect on me and also my past actions and to take steps to prevent it constantly ruining my life. I don’t want it to define who I am, but I can’t deny that the diagnosis has shaped the last two years of my life. When I received the diagnosis I decided to find out as much about the illness as possible, this eventually lead to the discovery of your blog. The diagnosis didn’t just tell me I was ill, it provided a way to take steps to recover, at least to some degree. If the diagnosis was changed again it would be just as devastating as when my diagnosis was changed from OCD. In a nutshell, if you redefine the illness you make the previous recovery irrelevant or certainly less relevant.

    The medication I am prescribed, Seroquel, has helped me, but some days are better than others, depression is still domiciled in my brain most of the time. I hate the way Seroquel saps my energy and lowers my IQ by 100 points. I would say it marginally affects my mood but it is just enough to allow me to make small changes to my behavior I had been previously powerless to make. Especially after a short while being on prozac, which it seems pushed my mood over the edge on several occasions.

    Clearly all I know about you is limited to what you have shared through your blog, and based on that, your bipolar diagnosis seems the most accurate. My instinct tells me that if there were ever a time to get a second opinion about your ‘new’ diagnosis, it is now!

    Whatever the diagnosis, I think I can safely say that your blog has helped many, many people, possibly even saved lives! There are countless people that are very grateful that you authored it and that they discovered it. And you should continue to maintain your blog no matter what happens. And I say again I believe your first diagnosis of Bipolar is the correct one!

    I can’t help but be concerned how this may affect your mood, especially trying to quit Seroquel. Why they would continue to prescribe it for so long if it was their belief that it was not relevant to your condition I don’t know?! Seems all rather strange to me!

    This has been a long rambling rant/reply, I vainly hope it has done some morsel of good.

  39. I don’t deny that mental health problems should be treated like any other illness.Because they are;
    but “bipolar”, “bpd” “schizophrenia” “ocd” are just labels,to help define a specific mental problem,and to help the psychdoc in prescribing meds or therapy or whatever.That’s all.You should look at this in another way:labels are not set in stone;consider schizophrenia as a severe form of bipolar,and bpd a mild form of bipolar…I knew a woman who was first dx’ed as schiz, and then bipolar,because she got treatment and her hallucinations were gone.Maybe you are recovering,considering you suffered from psychosis,which is more proeminent in schiz.

  40. Actually, forget the last post.

    As a bipolar I regard myself as one of the mental illness elite and I shouldnt really be associating with people with lesser diagnosises even
    Im such a wanker. Ha ha.

  41. Please get a second opinion. I’m not a psychiatrist but I have some background on mental illness from medical school and my own intense interest and I’ve been reading you for years.

    I really don’t think you have borderline personality disorder. It just doesn’t match at all. In a magic world I wish I could talk to your psychiatrist to ask deeply about his reasoning.

  42. Your psychiatrist is full of shit. My 2 cents.

  43. Just one last thought… This guy has been having his students read your blog??? WTF? This sounds to me like this guy has far too much investment in overturning your Bipolar diagnosis, his Students’ opinion on your illness is about as relevant as horse shit is to retinal surgery!

    He Sounds very unprofessional to me, how many of us would be writing similar stuff in our blogs if we had the courage to? They don’t have the luxury of using our blogs to decided a diagnosis, why should they be able to use yours that way? A blog should not factor into a diagnosis! What is the world coming to!?

    The students thought it could be about them??! Ok when they actually experience Psychosis, I mean the really real “OH MY FUCKING GOD THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING!” type then they can come back and say that!

    It’s all very well saying “Oh I get that sometimes too…” when you are a reasonable mentally stable MED STUDENT! True or not they don’t have to live with the illness so it doesn’t matter if they are being truthful or not!

    I had a sore head once, that doesn’t make a flipping brain tumor any less serious or real to those who have one!!

    Sounds to me that this guy is arrogantly peddling his own agenda, something should be done. If he had any sense or clue he would know that making you feel like your experiences with your illness were somehow fraudulent would be very dangerous especially to someone who has a history of self esteem issues.

    I think you need to make a complaint and get a second opinion on this “diagnosis” .

    The more I read about this the more it makes my blood boil!

  44. Your psychiatrist needs a mental health assessment. He’s obviously delusional.

    On a more practical note, do you have any old care plans or similar stating that your diagnosis is Bipolar? Maybe you can take them along to your next appointment and tell him that he may not think you’re Bipolar, but you’re not self diagnosing- it’s what you’ve been told in the past.

    *squishes* I hope things get sorted. For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re BPD.

  45. Whoops I retract some of my previous statement. It seems misread that they had read your blog, sorry, although I think some of what I ranted can be salvaged! I guess I may be a little tired. My apologies :-(

  46. Most of the problem lies in the lack of knowledge (or interest) by most of society. How many times throughout the last century have people been mis-diagnosed due to ignorance and just plain hatred of the “abnormal.” As a kid I was diagnosed as having ADD, then it was ADHD, then it was ADHD with agoraphobia and OCD, then it was Bipolar disorder. Whatever the case, the titles that are given are frivolous. What is important is that you are making a concerted effort to help yourself and that the people around you are making sure you are on the right path towards recovery.

    Ignore the haters out there, because unfortunately there are going to be a lot of ignorant gits who just want to take you down. Do what you feel is right and prosper,

    Dave.

  47. I’m so sorry that you feel so bad, I guess I’m just echoing what other people have said in that you’re more than your diagnosis. And as you’ve said already doctors often get it wrong. If you ever feel like you’ve lost yourself just read this blog, because your personailty ia clear for everyone to see. You’re a poet and writer allready even, before you begin your book. Despite what any doctor says they diagnsoe or misdiagnose you but you own your own story, never forget that. Your experiences have alll been real because you’re testament to them, nobody can take those experiences away from you good or bad, they are already stories written in the history of your years, psychiatry can’t take that away.

    They deal in labels you and the rest of us deal in self knowledge and that’s the best and most powerful diagnosis of all. All the best and however this turns out never stop being you or writing x

  48. I have read your blog for a long time and am really shocked by the change in diagnosis you have been given.

    I have Bipolar and so many of the words you have written describing moods and behaviours have been similar to mine. Your blog has so many followers and readers because you are open and honest and give people an insight into your mind, I really hope you won’t stop writing because of the change in diagnosis, but I also hope you will get a second opinion because as so many others have said, I just don’t think from anything you have wrote that you fit the BPD criteria either.

    I would be feeling all the same things as you if my diagnosis was changed now, partly because it took 7 years to diagnose Bipolar and partly because it has taken the last 14 months or so to become somewhat stabilised on bipolar medication. None of us like to be a label but sometimes that label helps you understand yourself better.

    You must feel really confused right now and I hope you will get a second opinion as quickly as you can, because whilst you might want to try life without medication at the moment as you say yourself you may well have another manic episode in the future and it would be helpful to have a correct diagnosis on your medical records.

    Take care xx

  49. Whatever the fuck you’re supposed to be diagnosed with, just keep on writing. This is fucked up, and immensely confusing. I’m sorry you’ve got to put up with this shit.

  50. I think your latest psychiatrist is a moron or an idiot take your pick. Has he not heard of rapid cycling, I don’t know the fancy name for it, you can be rapid cycling with both BP1 and BP2.

    It has to be horrioble what you are going through please make sure you get a second opinion.

  51. Do get that second opinion, & a third if you need it.

    Remember, shrinks often get stuck on fads: Everything’s Borderline (it’s a big one right now), everything’s schizophrenia, everything’s straight depression, etc., etc. Some shrinks do nothing but read the latest journal & diagnose everyone based on the lead article.

    My limited understanding is Borderline never involves psychosis (not by itself, anyway), & the mood swings are usually minute-to-minute or hour-to-hour, not even day-to-day.

    No matter what, keep the fuck writing. Your experiences & your writing make you a writer, so there’s really nothing else you can do anyway.

    • borderline can and does involve psychosis and mood swings can last weeks or months, just like with bipolar. They just don’t normally.

      I agree with you 100%, just letting you know a little more about borderline. :)

    • Seconding the people upthread – like everything else psychiatry is very faddish – back in the 60s everyone was obsessed with schitzophrenia, in the 90s it was depression that was “in”… bipolar itsself is often seen by lay people as a rock star diagnosis… BPD is another one of those – Princess Di, Shirley Manson out of Garbage, etc.

      Seriously though, get a second opinion, that guy sounds liek an asshole of the first water.

  52. You are very talented at blogging and I for one would buy any book that you write.You have a lot of supporters here don’t give it up

    Des x

  53. No. No, can’t do this to you. This is ridiculous.
    Look, I don’t care what the diagnosis is in the long run. He could tell you all your problems stem from an intense fear of clowns, for all I care. So long as it fits. Everyone around you disgrees, the people who have always been honest with you, Rob and your sisters who would always tell you when you were starting to part company from reality. Everything inside you is screaming no, and not in denial.
    The plain fact is that you aren’t rejecting a diagnosis, what he is saying doesn’t make sense! To anyone close to you!
    Why does this not get taken into consideration by the Dr. I find this scandalous?Are they all BPD too and in denail?

  54. Oh gods what a fucking cunt! (the psych that is)

    I can totally empathise-sympathise with where you are. :(

    I’ve repeatedly had medics who haven’t had excessive contact with me nor haven’t got accounts from partners/housemates disclaim that I could be having my mood swings. I’ve been passed from “Severe Depression”, to “Cyclothymia”, to “we wouldn’t want to label you, labels are such a burden”, an undisclosed “Borderline PD” I discovered in my notes, to a begrudging admission it’s Manic Depression, to finally willing open acceptance of Ultradian-cycling Manic Dep. (Most of this seems to have been the issue of how can you detect a time-fluxing condition in a 15 minute appointment, combined with institutional denialism about rapid cyclings.) I’ve also laughably got a Dx of “Schitzo-Affective Disorder” a few weeks back from a Psychologist whose giving me a through once over, and thankfully my new (nice!) Psych confirmed that was complete rubbish. (I don’t get psychosis for a start!)

    ————————–
    “Bipolar disorder has fit to me but my lack of response to medication points to BPD, apparently”

    WTF? That’s just plain idle jobsworth bullshit. Hasn’t he heard of ‘treatment resistant X’?† (of conditions, According to that logic I have never had any depressions or anxiety because “haven’t responded” (oh shit! *I* best try harder, right? *headdesk*) to the mainstream meds they’ve chucked at me. As for you reacting severely negatively to the meds (as opposed to lacking in positive reaction), having had hell from SSRI, my Psych ‘running out of ideas’ at Lofepramine, and an outright refusal to treat my Gender Dysphoria I resorted to actively learning about relevant treatments and prescribing for myself, which has lead me to preemptively write off most mood stabilisers. Anything with a damn good chance of making my hair fall out even a bit, making me put on _more_ weight, or nixing my hormone therapy is a BAD idea for me. Factor in counterindication for rapid cycling, and not being licensed for the UK and that leaves zero mood stabilisers. (Not that I exactly am clamouring for them anyway, since AFAIU they would only slow my cycling and nuke my highs, which would leave me more depressed(!!!) on ‘positive’ reactions alone.)

    What I’m trying to say is, neither not having success with the commonly successful meds nor wanting to avoid meds that don’t work well for you are in no way indicators that you aren’t bipolar/manicDep and he should fucking know that.
    ————————–

    I have to say I’m very much thinking inline with Lola Snow and Prozacville. As far as I’m concerned BPD as a diagnosis is a crock of shit. Started as an intentionally vague miscellaneous left overs category and then allowed to be twisted into a weapon. It needs killing, and some goddamn attention and _care_ given to anyone whose suffering has be labelled with it. And to me in life in general labels are and commonly misused positive. They should be markers, signposts, like a placename (i.e “Nottingham” or “Westminster”), not a tightly bounded box drawn out on map, metaphorical or not (i.e. Nottingham City Council [large amount of _Nottingham_ not in "Nottingham" {http://www.instantatlas.com/images/ia_showcase_reel/Nottingham_City_Council_elections.jpg} ], Borough of Westminster {which contains Paddington?!?} ). If bipolar is the best fit, then it’s the best fit. Sod what some guy who barely knows you but scored highly on some exams thinks.

    I would back what the others have said about getting a 2nd opinion.

    Kind wishes
    Jessikat

    ————————–
    PS: “I was asked to keep this within a clinical setting for now”

    What’s he afraid of if he’s so darn right?

    /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
    † for clarity; an individuals joblot of condition X being en-mass non-responsive or under-responsive to the commonly successful treatments. Nothing to do with the not taking of treatments.

  55. Seaneen, I know you don’t think a diagnosis is important in the long run, but it is. How would you feel if, 5 years from now, a psychiatrist says “I don’t know where that came from, you clearly aren’t borderline.” I’d imagine you’d be just as devastated as you are now.

    I don’t know how you feel exactly but I have been in a similar situation, although the diagnosis my psychiatrist forgot to tell me really was the right one (sort of, anyway), and not BPD – it was bipolar disorder. I had been treated for severe depression for 3 years, but throughout the various pdocs I saw noted that I had a “possible but not yet known/fully developed mood disorder.” It was on all my notes… but December 2008, while filling in my DLA forms, my CPN told me I was “clearly in denial” about my diagnosis. I went straight to my psychiatrist to find out the truth, and he told me I had bipolar disorder… and had done for months. In fact, he was the one who had made the diagnosis.

    He never told me. He never told my parents, either. They were in many of the CPAs, so clearly we all missed the memo. He said the same as yours did, in more or less words – that he had told me before.

    Although I think it is the right diagnosis now, at the time, I was very upset and angry about it. I should have been told when he made the decision to diagnose me with that, and that isn’t just my opinion – various people I have spoken to have urged me to make a complaint, but I am/was scared to. I like the bloke, as daft as that will sound.

    The worst bit is the lost time though. I can definitely relate to how you feel about that. I have lost so many friends and generally nice things to bipolar I feel like if I had known when I was 16, things could have been different. You know? Something like this really knocks your confidence.

    Please, please look into getting a second opinion, or third if necessary. It’s really important, even if this turns out to be your true diagnosis. It just sounds so weird that he would dismiss your previous medical history and even weirder that you would forget something like this. I know you’ve said in the past how you forget things when you are unwell, but… did he really tell you? It would be interesting to find out. And if he did, would you not tell somebody about it? I mean, it’s a lot to handle… I would.

    Also, do you not receive copies of the letters the CMHT/pdocs send your GP? Fill in a form for that, if you don’t already. Just in case he didn’t really tell you and it happens again.

  56. Fucking diagnonsense!

    I’m on my phone so haven’t been able to read the other comments and can’t write a proper reply now, but I caught sight of this post and had to say something.

    I think you are aware of some of the crap I’ve been going through with my diagnosis. I was interested the other day to see Rethink doing a questionnaire for people who have been rediagnosed with PDs. They obviously think there is something in this at the moment.

    I hope you do get some clarity soon and seek a second opinion.

    Will write more soon.

    Take care Xx

  57. [...] little wonder that Secret Life is confused what with a change of Diagnosis I’ve had a diagnosis change, which I apparently got ages ago and have absolutely no recollection [...]

  58. Hi Seaneen,

    First of all, sorry for my poor english, I´m just an spanish computer science student and I only known technical english, after that I also was labeled as a bipolar disorder type 1 in 2004 with 22 years, 6 years later of reading and redefining myself, I just accept the label and the medication because it works, I´m a science person, the label for me it´s a temporal truth, like in science, now I´m euthymic and a little depressed; it´s a fact that I don´t feel/see/think like the “normal” people, so with my label and my medication I live with them, but In my way I do my own research in all directions, I write, I drawn, I paint, I …. many many things, and others that my teachers can´t imagine, It helps me to wake up everyday, so after this introduction I recommend to you to search a second, a third or a fourth opinion, If something worked for you for years why change it? I haved a second opinion to doesn´t take any pill, in less than a year I was in a hospital again for 3 months.

    Take it easy, I know it´s easy to say hard to do, and keep writing ;)

    A huge hug from spain,

    Dani

  59. One word: comorbidity.

    • I would be fine if that were the case, but he doesn’t think it’s bipolar at all and told me not to “self diagnose” which upset me. I didn’t, I was diagnosed by psychiatrists. I have my DLA form filled in by the CPN where the diagnosis is Bipolar Disorder, and going through it all, it’s all about long mood swings and etc. I am upset and confused by this.

      • Well, he’s certainly not infallible & you’ve got paperwork to back up your diagnosis. His arrogance is very off putting. There is a FB group I belong to that shares quotes of the asinine things OB/GYNs say to pregnant/birthing women & I’m wondering if I might start one for the things that pdocs say. :) Again, hang in there!

  60. 1 GP says that I have severe anemia, and should be taking iron tablets.

    2 consultants and 1 medical research fellow disagree (it’s good to have friends in high places) and say I shouldn’t be taking the tablets.

    Who’s right? Well, my GP could be, and the other doctors could be…

    Fortunately with conditions like this, there are reference ranges. Hence I know my doctor friends are right and the GP is wrong.

    Mental health isn’t so easy. No reference tables. Even if you have medical friends, they can’t just run a few tests and give you a diagnosis.

    I wouldn’t get upset about 1 psychiatrist saying you have BPD.

  61. Stay strong.

    You have not let anyone down. Diagnosis is not identity. You are you; not a diagnostic category.

    Maybe the psychiatrist is mistaken, but he will be doing his best.

    You are fine writer. And cool. That has not changed.

  62. Well, someone thought you were bipolar, as you didn’t write that Rx for Seroquel (or any of the other bipolar meds) yourself….

    Maybe you can use all of this to explore in your blog the construct of identity and how that shapes one’s connections with others. It’s such an interesting topic.

    And don’t worry- it’s the YOU beyond the you that attracts people to read your blog. Your spirit and your ability to articulate your life experiences in the unique way that you do. You could be blogging about the scrambled eggs you made for breakfast, and people would want to read it.

    What you are going through right now is another really interesting chapter for your book. And perhaps the next chapter after that will be “then they told me again that I have bipolar” – or maybe not. But whatever the next chapters are- they will still be interesting to read because it’s your spirit and unique way of articulating your inner world that draw people in. Your diagnoses may come and go and come back again and go again, etc., etc, but your inner world remains no matter what- and that’s what people want to hear about.

    If you need to, you can just change the title of your blog to “The Secret Life of a ‘Now-They Say I’m Not’ a Manic Depressive” :-) Or something else that captures the essence of your wild ride through the mental health establishment.

    In other words, your dialogue-ing about what you are going through with all of this diagnosis chaos is so valuable- for both yourself and the many others who are or have experienced this.

    There’s absolutely no shame in the up-ended feeling you are experiencing right now. Ultimately, your experience right now highlights the shoddy side of the medical establishment. They have very little interest in the soul-side of life- the real marrow of inner experience that you give voice to through your writing. Keep writing about your inner experiences like you’ve been doing, and you’ll be fine.

    And don’t forget to keep poking ALOT of fun at the craziness of a medical establishment that can’t even agree on what the hell is “wrong” with you. All their collective degrees and they can’t even crack the code of your inner world and your mood journey. The joke’s on them really. So PLEASE make sure you keep pointing that out. You are just trying to find a sense of stability and well-being in your life. Don’t lose sight of the fact that there’s plenty of Shadow in those personas you are forced to interface with on your healing journey. It sounds like that psychiatrist was a bit “inflated” in terms of how he was dealing with you. Totally disregarding what you had to say in terms of what other medical people have told you and your own experience of your problems. Physicians as a whole struggle alot with psychological inflation. The need to be right. Sounds like this guy might want to be “right” more than he might want to be accurate….

  63. I am bipolar and a writer and I also apply for jobs as a gym instructor because I think it would be brilliant. So you must be bipolar, right? There’s no logic in this but it works for me. I also don’t have a problem with anger, for fucksake! Seriously, you know what I think happened? I think you so recovered from so much and so stabilised yourself that you don’t look like you’ve got bipolar at all. You look like you’ve got something much milder called borderline personality disorder. Which is a one-size-fits-all label for “unspecified unknowns”. Who is this person who sounds not only ignorant but dictatorial? I recommend you take your business elsewhere. Love your stuff, Angela.

  64. To thine own self be true. Doctors are not always right in their diagnosed. I read most of your posts and nothing ever really pointed to BPD at all. When I was 11, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. They seem to be giving that diagnosis to every kid these days. Anyway, when I was 19 I was diagnosed bipolar and when I read the symptoms and talked to people I knew with it, I knew I was home. My mental doctor when I was younger only saw me when I was manic. He never saw my depression, cutting, or feeling the sorrows that I felt that no one else could feel. Borderline in my opinion is less severe and can really be diagnosed to anyone. Get a second opinion, and tell them just because you have a mental illness doesn’t mean you’re stupid. You know yourself and your feelings. Go with your gut.

  65. did you think writing a book ? I think you can :)

  66. God psychiatry is evil.

    And – it reflects more on them than on you. They don’t know what to do – blame the patient. Been there, done that.

  67. It’s not my business to go around diagnosing people on the internet, especially when I don’t know anything about Borderline Personality Disorder. However, I do know a fair bit about Bipolar because my mother suffers from it. So on that basis I would say that everything you’ve posted that I’ve read fits with my ideas about being bipolar.

    You’ve been in the system a long time. It sounds like you’re saying this is the first person who has said you’re borderline (regardless of how long ago he said it).

    I think, at the very least, this warrants further explanation. Which, in practice, I think can only mean getting another opinion.

    I’d urge you not to make any massive decisions on the back of this new information until you get this clarified to your satisfaction.

    I would say something like “I have been diagnosed bipolar for x years. You are the only person to diagnose Borderline. This has had a profound effect on me. Since your diagnosis is at odds with everything I’ve been told all this time I would like to get another opinion.”

  68. Remember that the label of BPD is no more than a made up description of traits that we put together into a category. And psychiatrists generally miss the point when they do so.

    I apologise if this is breaking ettiquette but if you look at my blog (it’s linked below yours automatically by wordpress) you’ll see why this pd diagnosis is very different in reality from what the shrinks think it is.

    Follow the series to get an idea of why it’s really an issue with emotional management and probably linked to PTSD more than anything else. Not sure about your particular circumstances of course and I’m not making any assumptions here about individuals – just the diagnosis itself.

    Cheers,

    Stuart

  69. There are some anomalies about my bipolar diagnosis. Was it all the LSD? Where are the bipolars in my family history? I like the notion that I have several axes in my psychiatric/psychological profile. I have alcoholic and addiction aspects, nature/nurture issues, personality issues…ad nauseum.

  70. Okay. BPD sufferer here with some thoughts. I was diagnosed with bipolar, recently had that changed.

    1. To have the disorder, someone needs to have five of the nine criteria. That means you could get a room of sufferers together and find they are very different people with different problems. Some self harm, some don’t. Some are aggressive, some aren’t. Some dissociate, some don’t. This is not a one size fits all diagnosis. Got bipolar? You’re a one or a two. Pretty restrictive if you ask me.

    2. To have BPD, there is research that a sufferer will have an innate biological sensitivity to stress. There is wonky brain chemistry, and meds can and do help. It is a lot like bipolar really.

    3. Trauma isn’t quantitively measurable. You can’t say that one trauma is bigger than the other. Peoples response is individual. You can have BPD and have grown up in a home where you weren’t beaten or sexually abused. A little bit of trauma can go a long way.

    4. With BPD, there is BIG hope. It’s a set of maladaptive coping behaviours. With therapy, you can make a total recovery, you can be totally sane. With bipolar, you just take the meds and hope for the best.

    BPD is psychiatry’s black sheep diagnosis. It does have a stereotype. It doesn’t have a Stephen Fry character championing it. It does carry this stigma. But we as mentally ill people don’t have to adopt that sitgma and carry it on. We can be bigger than the reductive image of a difficult woman weeping to her CPN and cutting. We all deserve better than the ignorance.

    BPD is not a life sentence. Let’s not pretend that it is.

    • Hello- I’m sorry I’m not trying to add to some stigmatising view. I just think it’s inaccurate- I don’t meet 5 of that criteria- that’s my only issue with it. If I ever did have BPD- I don’t now. (Sorry for using hyphens my comma button is broken!)

      I may not have bipolar either- it may not be anything I don’t know.

  71. [...] Borderline personality disorder « http://www.mentallyinteresting.org.uk | Pole to Polar: The Secret L… [...]

  72. I haven’t told my wife that I am ready to file for divorce because I’m afraid of how she will respond but I need to do something within the next month. It’s not a matter of stepping back and thinking about it I have been secretly contemplating divorcing my borderline personality disorder wife for six months now. Can you give me what you would consider your top three tips or advice for divorcing someone with borderline personality disorder?

    http://www.bpdsecrets.com/advice-for-divorcing-someone-with-borderline-personality-disorder/

  73. Hi. Hope things sort themselves out for you. I’m in a similar situation, having been given a diagnosis of BPD from bipolar that I too have never actually been informed of; I only know because my gp told my mum. I’m 25. What the hell? I just don’t know, as whilst my mood swings seem to be related to nothing whatsoever, they change pretty fast -i don’t know enough about either tbh; I’m just trying to stay alive here. But reading this, is BPD just a made-up term to shove me in a dustbin because I’m an emotional girl? Like fuck. My entire life is rapidly disintegrating; people don’t want to know me and I’m losing strength and steam to cope with this dead-end journey.yet now I’m just made-up? That feels great.

  74. It’s late in the night for me…I’m usually up at 3am or so as I don’t sleep well. So angry I could chew bricks and not feel it. This is the first time I’ve put down my experiences…opened up to people I don’t know…but I stumbled across this blog and it hit me square in the eyes. I’ve been attending a clinic and, as is the way, been passed from intern psych to intern psch. Some I liked…some not so much. My diagnosis kept changing. I’ve had bipolar, soft bipolar, cyclothemia…depression, then with anxiety and now this new psych says I don’t have any of these but I’m borderline! I don’t fit any of the criteria for BPD but have had swings between depression and hypomania my entire life. I found ways to weave these mood swings into my life but was left out of control following an accident and chronic pain which took much too long to be diagnosed. So…here I am. I took myself off the depakote because of horrible side effects and she off handedly told me that the med wouldn’t help borderline anyway (after insisting I stay on it) Yup. I do have problems confronting people when they cause me hurt but that hardly qualifies as BPD. The clinic is the only one left for me because of my poor insurance coverage, so now I’m wondering how to switch and not have the next psych go by her diagnosis. I’m really ticked off and frustrated. It’s hard for me to ask for help and not easy to open up to a stranger and I’m wondering now just who she was listening to all that time! Anyway, thanks for letting me vent. Doesn’t change the problem but at least I said it.

  75. “BPD being a dustbin diagnosis given to difficult women.”

    That is unfair to many of my patients whom I treat.

    For the record, BPD patients have the highest rates of recovery ie. the condition is very treatable and full recovery is achievable. My BPD patients are also intelligent and eloquent. Bipolar Disorder on the other hand, like Major Depressive Disorder are much harder to achieve full recovery and for many patients, it is a lifelong condition.

    BPD patients often grow up with chaotic role models and their behaviours are emotion-driven but their minds are like a fresh canvas – patients need only learn skills to cope and many move on to lead meaningful lives.
    Bipolar and Major Depression patients on the other hand, have their condition hard-wired into their brains and are much harder to treat.

    You should sigh relief rather than insult other BPD patients who, precisely because of the stigma are afraid to ask for support.

  76. [...] having spoken to him in the past year, I give more credit than that and may have misinterpreted), my psychiatrist at that time said I did not have bipolar disorder but borderline personality disorde…. This was a punch in the gut.  I had always been open to the idea that I had borderline [...]

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