Before I go, a relevant post on therapy

Hello!  Occasionally some posts, like this one, will be illustrated by the lovely Prozacville, so go and visit him and give him praise as you would a deity.

I am sick of having “issues”.  But here is a post moaning about them!  Delicious irony.

But ooh.  I had forgotten the (free and fixed) Macbook had Photobooth.  Here I am relaxing in my sitting room.  Not pictured are my chandelier, maid, cigar and rent boy.

Except I’m clearly not relaxing in my sitting room, as only maniacs can relax when a lens is on them, and I have in fact turned the Macbook upside down and that’s not a relaxing pose.  I also have silly hair.  I dyed it red and blue, which apparently means orange and green.  I like to think I look like I’m sporting beguiling autumnal plumage, and not that I just look like a twat that’s been left out in the rain too long.

Ah, an illuminating appointment with my social worker today, so, thought I’d write about it.  Long, self obsessed and introspective- you could say it’s a Classic Secret Life… post.  (And a caveat here: remember this is a blog exclusively about mental health.   Some people seem to forget that.  I do not go through my day to day life going, “ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH”.  I have other, more cheerful topics of conversation).

I’ve never really gone into detail about my now twice-monthly (or, as the kids say, “fortnightly”) appointments with my social worker.  They are mostly a bit of a chat, commentary on mood and someone for me to talk to.  She’s a lovely woman, quite clearly no-nonsense, which is sometimes appreciated and sometimes not (who doesn’t occasionally want a bit of, “Ah, there, there” and to just moan into your sleeve) and I like her.  The appointments are usually conducted in a small room with one window, and today there was the smell of cat piss emanating from…something.  I suspect it was me, since I’m not entirely convinced that Girl Cat hasn’t weed on the cords I’m wearing.  Then again, I didn’t really care this morning when I got dressed.  A cheeky sniff almost clears my name, but I have a bit of a cold so I may well infact stink of her waters.  My social worker insisted it was somewhere else in the room as, being a residential area, cats sometimes become cat burglars (a term which used to confuse me greatly) and pee all over the place before they’re shooed away.

She helps me with practical matters, and carried on my old CPN’s work in terms of benefits and housing.  But I can mostly do these things alone.  Okay, it takes me about three and half millenia to get round to doing it,  but I am fairly independent, as far as people within mental health services go.  She has been trying to sort out direct payments for me to study something, with both of us agreeing I need more structure in my life.  I keep- genuinely- forgetting to ring up, but I will tomorrow.  To be quite honest with you, I don’t particularly feel up to a lot right now, but I’d regret not trying, and it may well be good for me, especially with Robert going to university in October.  We could compare notes.

Today we discussed therapy, and why the person who makes the assessment had been unwilling to make an appointment with me.

I had therapy was last year, and it was CBT for body image problems (BDD).  I spent most of 2008 in a depressive stupor, indeed, I don’t particularly recall much of it.  Therapy started off okay, but I was already rather depressed, and as it progressed, I began to feel worse.  By the time of the fourth or so appointment, I was so depressed that I didn’t actually give a toss about my appearance, so it was difficult to engage with it.  What had seemed greatly important no longer felt important, along with everything else in my life.  So, the therapy ended.

It was assumed that the trials of therapy had worsened my depression.  The stress of looking inward and so on.  To this day, I still don’t think that was the case, but maybe there was something subconscious.  Either way, in September (or possibly October), I was prescribed Effexor, went loony, took a huge overdose and there you go.

So.  The Therapy Lady didn’t want an appointment for that reason, and also another reason, which is that she didn’t think I saw some of my problems as being part of my personality and that I only saw my problems as part of a chemical imbalance.  Ergo, therapy would not be helpful.

It is true that I have tended to be overly clinical about myself.  I am increasingly seeing myself as a whole person, with other problems, but for a long time, I was quite clinical about everything.  I saw my moods etc etc as being outside myself.  Which puts me in a helpless position, no?  Not entirely.  I have made the appropriate “lifestyle changes” to manage my illness- I didn’t drink for ages and am not doing so again, don’t take drugs, try to sleep, try to eat, avoid stress etc etc etc.  But…

Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder was a kick in the bollocks for me.  Who in their right mind (FNAR!) wants to be diagnosed with a serious mental illness?  It sucks.  It’s crap.  It makes you feel as though you have, “REJECT” stamped across your forehead.  The only way I felt able to cope with it was to see it in a medical sense, as an illness, as something outside myself.  Because if I thought that I bought this on myself, that it was my fault, that I was flawed and fucked up (which I do often think), I could not cope.  I would simply just not be able to face it.  Giving myself distance, writing about it, even sometimes coldly analyzing, was what I needed to do for a few years.  And I was rather, “Ah.  Well.  That explains an awful lot”.  And I should have been relieved, but I was devastated.

It was easier for me to see it that way.  I would not have come this far without that perspective.  It’s unhelpful for therapists, but I needed to face up to and deal with the other stuff in my own time.  I do consider bipolar disorder to be a chemical thing, by the way.  The chemical basis, if you will.

I have other diagnosed problems, namely body dysmorphia, bulimia and self harm.  My social worker mentioned that those things in tamden with bipolar disorder are not that common, due to the shifts in self perception and weight that comes with bipolar.  This is true,  but it still stands, although in terms of bulimia, I’d consider myself better.

That’s enough for me- I don’t really want more fecking problems, more diagnosis. I have trouble enough agreeing with the existence of the others.  I don’t want to be pathologised.  And, although maybe once I did see these things in isolation to bipolar disorder, I don’t think I do anymore.  As time has gone on, I’ve moved further and further away from defining by diagnosis, and thinking in terms of diagnosis at all.

Then she said the dreaded words- “personality disorder”.  My arse clenched right up.  You couldn’t have fit an atom up there.  Because I knew what was heading towards me, with the stinging predictability of a slap from a raised hand.  Borderline personality disorder.

Diagnose me with shit if it’s accurate.  Don’t diagnose me with inaccurate shit just because I’m a woman who self harms and has rapid cycling.  Borderline is one of those things nobody really wants to be diagnosed with because it is the equivalent of your doctor saying, “Fuck knows”.  I don’t want to be diagnosed with it, either, because I think it’s wrong. I was told I had “borderline traits” after an hour long appointment with a doctor in Haringey a week or so after I left hospital.  That isn’t a diagnosis, but I even disagree with traits.

The only criteria I meet for BPD is self harming and mood swings.  My mood swings, however, are longer than those of BPD.  I am not that reactive in terms of my mood.  I can be depressed at happy times, happy at depressed times and so on.  Recently, I have been- I got depressed at the end of a relationship, I went a bit mental in May- but I think that’s normal. I’d had an abortion (and my social worker stuck her foot in it by using the word “blase”, my eyes almost glowed red when I corrected her, but I think she just used the wrong word), my relationship ended, things were a bit mad.  I think I reacted normally. I actually think I’ve dealt with it well and maturely.  BPD is a complicated disorder, but I do not freak out when people leave me (I like being alone), I don’t get self destructive when they do, I don’t threaten suicide or make suicidal gestures (though I think about suicide, but when I’m depressed), I don’t have “inappropriate anger” (I only get angry when pissed beyond recognition, and that is rarely.  Otherwise, I almost never lose my temper), I don’t indulge in risky behaviour, I don’t have sex with more than one person, I don’t binge, etc etc, and I self harm incredibly rarely either pissed or under great stress, and then it has always been a private act that I cover up.  When I’m pissed, maybe I am more BPD-eque, but I mean pissed to three bottles of wine.

That leads on to what happened next- My social worker said she had seen something about a personality disorder in recent correspondence and went looking for it.  She couldn’t find it, but I recalled reading it- in fact, it is here.  I quote:

The GP also printed out some correspondence from the psychiatrist which I hadn’t seen, and wish I hadn’t seen.  It’s nothing damning, but these letters always seem so.  Some things he said interested me, some amused me.  What amused me was that he wrote:

on examination, she has a very young appearance for her age

which is bloody true and is why I’m often barked at by schoolteachers as they ferry little crocodiles of primary school children down Upper Street.

obviously of above average intelligence

but not height. Boo.  Still, cheers, Consultant Psychiatrist.  You’re of above average physical attractiveness.  In fact, when my CPN asked me if I’d met you before, I said, no, I don’t think so.  She replied, “Oh, you’d remember him”.

He also said:

I was impressed by significant anxious avoidant traits in her underlaying personality

(SNIPPED FOR LENGTH, like a circumsized pe….)

and remarked on my tendency to criticise myself.  He said that I was, “warm” but avoided eye contact, found fault with myself too easily and clearly found it difficult to function in social situations.

I’ve written about being a big old socially anxious bird before, and it’s true that if I meet most of the criteria for any personality disorder, it’s Avoidant Personality Disorder (common, by the way, in people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.  Even my appearance screams, “Look at my clothes, look at my hair, but not my body, not my face”, or I cover up entirely in an enormous coat that makes me look mental enough for people to look through me, not at me).

I’d rather not, given that I feel I carry enough diagnosis’ around, and I don’t think it’s entirely accurate, but it is perhaps rather surprising to some given my “engaging” nature, my slight arrogance and self confidence just how socially anxious I am.   If you want a cause for being allegedly avoidant as a person, then I guess being bullied to fuck for years probably covers it.

I think that’s possibly what she was referring to, because she couldn’t remember the name of the disorder.  Again, “traits” doesn’t mean a diagnosis, but in this sense, I agree.  And because of the mentioning, I think it’s more strongly suggested, rather than just a passing thing.

I don’t see my problems in isolation to bipolar disorder, nor do I want to see them as avoidant, etc etc etc.  I want to dispel with the names and just get some help with other stuff, which is why I requested therapy in the first place.  I have increasingly, as I have become better at dealing with my illness and so on, began to see things as a whole, intertwining, one big, fuck-off Venn Diagram. But it gets tiresome looking inwards so much- for feck’s sake, bipolar is enough.

The way I see it is that bipolar stuff is the unsteady basis for everything.  There are moods that do feel out of my control and aren’t often “triggered” by stuff.  I manage it better these days because I know when a fall is coming, and my medication caps the worst excesses of mania.  I am very very self aware in these terms- perhaps too much.  The shifts in moods do cause shifts in my self perception, and massive shifts in my energy, which makes some things harder for me than other people.  It isn’t through lack of trying, just often a total lack of energy.   That’s what I mean by an unsteady basis.

But I have zero self esteem, which is the thing I’d like to change.  There are a lot of things about myself I’d like to change which is why I wanted therapy.  I want help.  Bipolar pisses me off, but my self image stuff is just sad and annoying.   My social worker mentioned childhood trauma in relation to this.  I certainly had a traumatic childhood, but not in the sense that I was being told at home I was shit, because I wasn’t.  It was hard, for all of us, dealing with an unstable, violent, mentally ill mother and an alcoholic dad.  But honestly, without pretense, I don’t hold it against them, and I don’t think it fucked me up much.  Because as a mentalist myself, I understand.  I wish things had been different, for their sakes.  I want my dad to still be alive, and I want my mum to be happy.

She also mentioned that people with bipolar disorder have often been criticised in childhood and therefore build up a false sense of self esteem when manic then it comes crashing down when depressed.  In my case, the self esteem thing is kind of accurate in mania, but more often than not, my self esteem is in the gutter somewhere.


I was bullied very badly, which I already said is probably the cause of my body image problems, which get worse, or better, depending on my mood.  (My social worker, bless her, said that she couldn’t understand how anyone could call me ugly.  Oh I chuckled, because that’s all people ever called me).  In that sense, I was told I was shit every day for a good few years.  But BOO-HOO bullying.  Who wasn’t bullied?  But it made me think of the “false sense of self esteem” she mentioned, which you could say is how I conducted myself in grammar school.  As a preening, mouthy, class clown of a peacock.

Anyway- yes, I have bugger all self esteem and am shite socially, hence why, when utterly nervous, I drink (have gone into this before on Anti-Social Anxiety).   It’s quite strange because I am very friendly.  I should, by rights, have quite high self esteem, if you based it upon what other people said to you.  I have been very lucky in the people I’ve been with.  They have been loving, encouraging, sweet, telling me I am great etc- but it doesn’t affect me.  It barely dents, which is frustrating for all involved.   No-one shouts at me and tells me I’m shit except myself.  Likewise, in my “professional” life, people saying, “Hey, you’re a great writer” just doesn’t work, and it means I tend to shy away from things that could be great for me, because I think, “I’m shite, this will prove it”. So I waste opportunities.  And I’m quite ambitious so that’s a pain in the whole.

I prefer being alone most of the time, then get really sad and lonely because of it.  I am BALLIX at being around people for more than short amounts of time.  I am BALLIX at living with anyone other than myself.  I am BALLIX at criticism.  I am BALLIX at instigating social things or even saying, “I love you” in case I get laughed at.  I have problems trusting people.  I don’t like myself at all (I’d use a stronger word but it would veer into total self pity).  I am paranoid beyond paranoia- I replay all my conversations, I apologise constantly, I make a dick out of myself, I second guess everything. I blame myself for everything.  I feel like nobody likes me, and nor should they.  I don’t trust people’s opinions.  I am nervous to the point of physically throwing up before big social things, especially if I organise them.  I am emotionally distant, I can be almost stone cold when I fear being hurt.  I can callous in that regard for that reason.  I want to be liked, loved, even, but my behaviour means that I am not sometimes.  And even if I’m not by some people, then what’s the problem?  Rationally, I know there isn’t one but it burns.  Why should it when I have one or two people who don’t just like me, but love me intensely?   But, of course, being a mentalist for one makes everything feel uber-conditional, that all love and like and everything in between can be snatched away at any moment because people get sick of your mentalism.

In short, I am mess.  And all my bullshit actively hampers my personal and social life.  IT PISSES ME OFF!

What I don’t do is feel dependent on other people, and I don’t mind being left alone.  Aye, I’ll be a bit sadfaced when someone I love goes away because I like them, but that’s about it.  I used to be worse at this, but I value my own company, and my own initiative.  I also don’t particularly feel that people are more “capable” than me- everyone’s a bit buggered, aren’t they.

But I am loathe to pathologise it as another disorder.  In the same way I want to headbutt people who say things like, “Ooh, that’s so bipolar of me!” or, “Ooh, I’m so borderline!”, I don’t want to have to perform an epic self-headbutt by thinking things like, “Ooh, that’s so avoidant!”  I just want to think, “Aye, that’s me”.   It is something I would very much like help with as my lack of self esteem does fuck up my life.  It IS part of my personality which is why I don’t want to say, “Oh look, ANOTHER mental diagnonsense!”  It’s just, I guess, a catch all term for certain personality traits.   And there MUST be an element of narcissism to me despite all this or else I wouldn’t publicly blog.  That said, I have explained before that I find it easier this way because it’s more impersonal.  I feel like a twat, and a liability, talking face to face with people.

Anyway, the problem with therapy was that she thought I only saw myself as a mood disordered person without any issues that I was willing to change and tackle.  I have never seen myself in that sense,  I just wasn’t ready to tackle them- it was difficult enough dealing with the whole manic depression shebang, galling enough to be mentally ill in a seemingly-classic-chemical-sense, as well as apparently being mentally shit in other non-chemically ways that relate but are still shit.   I had to deal with that particular kick in the bollocks first.  And I guess repeated episodes of mania and depression also impact on your self esteem.  I’ve written before about how amazingly alienating it can feel sometimes to have a mental illness, like you’re floating out in space.  Ashamed, isolated, feeling unliked, unloved and unwanted, and most of all, unable to even talk about it, or anything relating to it.  And it does burn me that people have seen me bad, psychotic and so on- it’s incredibly embarrassing and makes me want to run away and hide.

I could just be more, “I don’t give a fuck”.  Robert impresses me by his, “I don’t give a fuck” attitude towards people.  He has no desire to be liked.  He’s happy with his family loving him, my love, and the love of his best friend.  That aside, he doesn’t care, he doesn’t seek validation.  He’s quite shy himself, but doesn’t agonise.  He is, in a sense, liberated, and I admire him for it.  I’d like to be more like him.

On the upside, I guess at least I attempt to deal with problems and be a better person instead of avoiding them.  And I’m quite young, so maybe in ten years time I might be something approaching sane.  So, er, that’s good?

So, my social worker said she’d talk to Therapy Lady again and tell her I was okay with tackling issues and that I didn’t see myself as living in a test tube.  Which would be good, as I’d love to feel a bit better about myself, so I was like one of those twats in an advert that rides a mountain bike and went, “YEAH!” before grinning stupidly at a camera and shagging twenty men and twenty women then being promoted to Lord of the Universe where the annual pay is the world’s economy and blowjobs.  Rather that than throwing up in my toilet because I’m scared of being around people this weekend, rather that than not replying to emails from interested parties because I think they’ll think I’m toss anyway, rather than not answering my phone so often people stopped phoning, and I blamed them instead of myself for it.  Because that, let’s face it, is kind of pathetic.

40 Responses

  1. It’s strange with BPD because I love to be alone which is why I could never imagine myself sharing my life with someone, my home is my space and I don’t want anyone else here… but at the same time I hate it when people leave me and I do feel abandoned. This year I’ve had a dear friend cut me off because she became jealous of my friendship with a mutual friend just weeks after my mum died, that was really difficult, followed by the fact I walked and was discharged from group therapy… that was the hardest thing for me to deal with. I felt very abandoned by the staff and friends of the group which obviously resulted eventually in me being admitted to hospital.

    I do have the ‘inappropriate anger’ more often directed towards my family namely my dad since my teens and was one thing I tried to focus on and work through in group therapy. I’ve been binge eating my entire life but am gradually getting more control over it but it still needs work. Self harm is more under control, 15 weeks and counting…

    My mood swings were always my biggest problems, I would fly off the handle at the slightest thing but since starting the Topiramate in March I am a lot calmer. There is still room for improvement but the cycle of my mood swings have improved somewhat.

  2. bpd – sucks

  3. Well at least you will hopefully be getting therapy (or getting on the waiting list for therapy!), it can certainly be interesting. I think I get the way you convince yourself that your bipolar is due to chemical imbalance, I’ve been trying to convince myself for a long time that my depression is due to chemical imbalance, but recently I’ve begun to think that maybe it’s flawed little old me that brought all on – which is hard to deal with. I hope you get your therapy!

  4. Am I right in reading that your Social Worker (and also ‘Therapist Lady’?) read something here on your blog, and used it to analyse and generalise something about how you see yourself, and whether you would benefit from therapy? If so, that would make me really angry.

    Is CBT the only therapy available? Is ‘Therapist Lady’ the only way in to therapy? They both strike me as naff and inappropriate, and unable to make an appointment to reassess someone who might have changed over the past couple of years.

    Why are ‘they’ seeing you avoiding certain things at a particular time, as the underlying cause/condition? How superficial. I’d feel sorry for them, if I didn’t feel cross that you’re not getting someone better to deal with.

    Also, surely mental illness is always a strange combination of chemical imbalance and personality stuff. You can’t really separate the two, and so have to deal with both, even while some people think one thing is stronger than the other.

    Sorry if I’ve totally misunderstood. And sorry if I’ve been inappropriate, wrong and unhelpful.

  5. I’m currently seeing a CBT Therapist, this time through the NHS after visiting a private practictioner a couple of years prior and I’m at a loss as to whether you are supposed to switch off after the sessions or churn things over in your mind, I’m a naturally neurotic type and I’m found therapy is bringing to the surface more questions then answers.

  6. I replay all my conversations, I apologise constantly, I make a dick out of myself, I second guess everything. I blame myself for everything. —that is totally me as well. I, too, have a very low self-esteem and what I want to concentrate on in therapy…that and my overreating issues. The meds are working on my bp and I don’t need to talk about it so much. It’s funny how we find so many other issues to take its place.

  7. My mother praised me like alot during my childhood years but criticized me right through my teens and twenties when I was at my most rebellious and out of control in terms of mood. She didn’t understand me but she did the best she could . I know she loves me and while I understand how difficult it must have been for her, there is no denying that at that young age I felt unloved and rejected and this contributed further to my self destruction ( pregnant at nineteen , excessive drug and drink use, destructive relationships, recurring episodes of eating binges and fasting, smoking way too much ) which in turn contributed further to the severity of my episodes . I was also bullied for over a year.

    I think people with BD can develop dsyfunctional patterns of behaviour as a result of having a mood disorder( defense /coping mechanisms maybe) but I would not agree that these behaviors sort themselves out on becoming stable.

    I too am at the same cross roads in terms of therapy . I know I need help to build my self esteem even though at first glance no one would ever think it., but like yourself I have rapid cycling so every three or so weeks my view on myself changes making it extra difficult to resolve anything. I tried CBT , the therapist barely let me get a word in, I felt insulted and patronized. She didn’t know what a mixed state was and figured she too could smell things that were not there (if she meditated deeply!) Stability however on a positive note must make it easier to face demons head on. I try to be positive and hope that I’ll get there but alot of the time I just want to scream out loud as I do in my head – How do you get out of all this suffocating shit? Is there a way those of us who are intense and self analytical can let it all go and become carefree and just enjoy living and laughing?

    I have read most, if not all of your entries and I really don’t see the whole BPD connection. You know yourself best Seaneen , good luck and take care.

  8. You have a great deal to say; it appears to be honest and conveys plenty of very understandable frustration, some of it is insightful, and readers will certainly identify with many portions of it. You, like plenty of others, have been through the proverbial meat grinder and, for that reason, may find my recently released biographical novel, Broken Saint, to be of interest. It is based on my forty-year friendship with a bipolar man, and chronicles the internal and external struggles of his troubled life as he battles for stability and acceptance (of himself and by others). More information is available at

    Mark Zamen, author

    • You do not appear to have much to say & it is not very insightful. readers will be able to identify that you have probably trawled through several bipolar blogs, leaving the same comment each time.
      For that reason, your book is of absolutely no interest to me.
      These feelings are based on my instinctive, lifetime distrust of such cynical & annoying marketing techniques.

  9. Thank you for this post. A diagnosis of bipolar does initially feel like a kick in the pants for the diagnosed, and the loved ones. But we are muddling through!

  10. I find it difficult to follow your long pieces, I tend to read the first bit and the end bit and guess the rest. I always put this down t the M.D (sic)and a lack of concentration but I suppose I could be a bit thick.

  11. When I appealed my section, a psychiatrist (who was a stand in as my regular consultant was on holiday. Very rude of him to go on holiday just before they decided to section me, I feel.) said to the tribunal people that my main diagnosis was schizoaffective disorder, but that there were possible “personality issues” because of the self-harm. She had known me only a couple of weeks, and her theory was based purely on the fact that I had hurt myself.

    A few months later, I asked my Dr what she meant by that. He said that he’d come to no such conclusion after knowing me for two years. I thanked him.

    I have a friend with BPD and it’s awful. Really awful. She seems to be in a perpetual state of crisis and needs a lot of support in order to live safely in the community, and even then she struggles. I’m so grateful that my distress is episosic in nature, and that medication enables me to live a pretty normal life most of the time. My friend has, as of yet, had no such relief.

  12. on examination, she has a very young appearance for her age

    This is a standard part of medical reports, you are supposed to write it in the first sentence or two almost always – in regular medicine too. Like, sometimes some homeless guy comes in and looks like he’s 70 and you find out he’s forty. You’re supposed to write down stuff like that…”Looks his age.” “Looks older than his age.” “Looks younger than her age.” It’s just sort of a basic medical thing to place your reader. Because there IS a difference in the body of someone who has lived really hard, despite chronological age…they’ll have different health problems than someone their real age. It’s a standard line, I don’t think there was any implication to it.

  13. The thing about these so-called disorders is that they represent the extreme ends of behaviour patyerns which most people show sometimes to some degree. If you look at the classification systems they usually involve having examples of four or five patterns from a list of seven of eight. This means in theory that one person can have one set of four symptoms and be judged to have a personality disorder: somebody else can have the other four and be judged to have the same disorder. Are they the same people?

    Also, how do you quantify ‘problem’ behaviours so that you know you are comparing like with like? How much of one type of behaviour do you have to show, and how often, before you can be said to be similar to somebody else?

    The whole thing is very broad brush at best. There are some common patterns of course, and people showing them can sometimes appear to have similar histories. The danger lies in noticing the similarities and ignoring the differences. Good mental health professionals know this and are very wary of pathologising anybody. The trouble is, there are those who are not so good who find labels convenient and labour-saving and who hand a label to people who have come to them for help which confuses more than it illuminates.

    Me, I’ve changed my e-mail account. I’m paranoid, you see.

  14. Therapy Lady sounds frustrating. I bet even the normies have “traits” of personality
    disorders if you study them long enough

    I guess misery loves company. I thought I was the only one who barely made it thru 08. As a BPII I m stuck with the depression and not the highs. I don’t know if this is better or not but it is my hope that 09 ends better than last year.

  15. They’re eating endives there, very cheap at this time of year.

    You’re almost like one of my students, but then again that may just be the mental illness talking.


  16. Friends experiences of BPD:

    people seem to care about you though. i wish i knew what that felt like.

  17. I am
    the bottom of the three
    in the mental illness hierarchy

  18. I still dont understand why someone with body dysmorphia can post a photo of their face when they have issues with their face? Its not a criticism I just dont get it.

    • (Seaneen here. It took over a hundred before I was even vaguely okay with a photo, and it doesn’t look like me).

  19. Seaneen, just wondered if you’d ever seen your ICD 10 diagnosis. Just got mine! (ICD10 F33.4)

    Feels very ordered and nice.

  20. You’re a very amusing writer, taking serious subjects and finding the humor in them- at least from your “turn of phrase”. I’m shocked that you’re not in counseling any more, and that from what you said it sounds like the government is keeping you out. Sounds bizarre from here in the US. Also,. it sounds like you and/or the counselor went too far too fast, so you got overwhelmed. I wish you could give it another try. It’s the only thing that helped me cope with Bipolar Disorder. Feel free to check out my blog at

    • Comorbid conditions are just multiple conditions that occur at the same time. There is the primary illness, and then the comobid conditions. The one that is considered the worst of the lot is the one that is typically (always?) considered the primary illness. There is a wikipedia entry on this that, from the first bit, seems pretty good.

  21. “diagnonsense!”

    Ha ha! Hadn’t heard that one before, very good :o)

    I know way too little about either you or borderline personality disorder to make any comment on the facts of the matter, but I wouldn’t take the suggestion too much to heart. Professionals are somewhat in the business of labelling and classifying, there’s bound to be some occasions when the wrong label gets applied.

    If it really grinds your gears you could raise the subject with them again and discuss it more, you might achieve a change in your notes that way. You might even want to show them this post as that would probably be easier than trying to remember to say it all during an appointment.

  22. “Diagnose me with shit if it’s accurate. Don’t diagnose me with inaccurate shit just because I’m a woman who self harms and has rapid cycling. ”

    The catch-all label, ‘personality disorder’. I was diagnosed with schizoid personality disorder when I was 18 by a newly qualified GP. Another shrink gave the label of ‘depression and anxiety’ and a couple of wks later it changed to ‘schizophrenia’…. I give up! Maybe I shoulda just gone up to a random number of people on the street and said, ‘pick a label, any old label will do’ and believe me that would be a darn sight more scientific than the clever shrinks in the profession.
    Oh, and they like to lump self-harm into the personality disorder as well to women who self-harm (yeah, and I can relate to that as well).

  23. How self involved. If you would worry about something or someone other than yourself once in a while, might it help? It sounds like you focus all of your thoughts and energy on yourself constantly. Busy people have less time to be self involved. Volunteer somewhere and see how others have real non self- inflicted problems. Talking about yourself so often must be tiring and boring.

    • “remember this is a blog exclusively about mental health. Some people seem to forget that. I do not go through my day to day life going, “ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH”. I have other, more cheerful topics of conversation).”

      Did you read that bit?

    • In what way is bipolar disorder “self-inflicted”, Susan? Perhaps you should “volunteer somewhere” yourself, and find out a bit more about mental health.

  24. random thought: why does blue hair *never* come out even vaguely appropriately blue when you’re using a permanent/semi-perm? always this mopey green that you know everyone knows you weren’t looking to get. yet the stuff from a can, that comes out true blue?

    it’s like the Cheez Whiz of hair.

    • Does this top your worry list at the moment? Im one of those that think that people that buy blue hair dye need to be saved from themselves.
      Doesnt everything fall short of expectations be it politics, mental health care, or food with pictures on the box, its the way it is.

      • most things do, yes with the possible exceptions of a pair of shoes that make my best friend look like Audrey Hepburn, and the sultry combination that is anything involving Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.

      • Really? I’ve always wanted to dye my hair blue..

        • unfortunately yeah. even if it comes out blue at first, it tends to fade so fast it isn’t worth it.

          if you must, i recommend Fudge but it still didn’t do that well for me. oh and be careful not to over-bleach to start with. total disaster.

          • Im a sucker for blue hair and an Aussie accent. I always had a thing for Dame Edna but the injunction spoiled any chance of a relationship.

  25. Assuming that its a female friend you should steal the shoes.
    Stephen Fry was never adverse to a bit of theft.

  26. I too have low self esteem as a result of being bullied about my body but haven’t been given the diagnosis BDD ’cause I *AM* really fugly!

  27. I too have been diagnosed in the past with “traits of bpd” along with bipolar…and that I could wrap my head around. However, last week I picked up a psych eval I needed for a housing application and there it was staring me in the face: Axis II Borderline Personality Disorder. I just about screamed. You are totally right when you say it feels like a slap in the face. It scares me that other mental health professionals may see it as trumping the bipolar dx in some way when I feel it is the other way around.

    I think that as long as bpd is the only diagnosis in the DSM that includes self-injury as a criteria, those of us with a history of it will be lumped in that category. This needs to be remedied.

    Thanks for posting about this Seaneen, I could really relate.

  28. I know Im going to rant so very sorry in advance. Ive spoken to lots of people who’ve said they were relieved to get a borderline diagnosis with that ‘finally I can make sense of this a bit’ feeling so that’s cool and I don’t want to knock it. But I’ve also known people that really hated it and it doesn’t surprise me. Reading the common descriptions of its traits by supposedly ‘objective’ psychologists and psychiatrists you invariably come across words like like ‘manipulative’, ‘attentionseeking’, and worse. Narcissistic PD the same: words like ‘seductive’, ‘histrionic’, ‘manipulative’.
    These really piss me off. It seems to osmose the pain and self dislike experienced by the person being described, and fling it right back at them, confirming their worst fears and often their earliest traumatic lessons. I don’t believe in namby-pambying around people and not calling people on their shit. I think not calling people on it confirms you think they’re incapable of reason, which is also rude. But I believe we need to do it from a place of love and respect. If you call someone ‘manipulative’, admit you’re pissed off with them, and do it as a human being with feelings, equal to equal, not pretending objectivity or superiority. If you want to be objective about it, you need to say that when people are hurt and defensive, they are less likely to ask for what they need directly. And as human beings, when we’re hurt, we all, mad or sane, go into defensive mode. I’m not denying there are extremes of this and some people are more hurt than others. But I really want to reframe some of these borderline labels. ‘Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment’ – what about ‘desperately wanting to connect with people, but not having enough faith in yourself or others to trust they won’t leave’? Which is often the case when it comes to personality disorders – professionals wanting to pass them over to someone else, after some really hard early lessons in this! grrrrrrrr! im so sorry I ranted! this is from a mental health worker by the way, you can tell by my measured tone…

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