Redux- labels, identity, treatment and deciding that it no longer really matters

Garbled entry ahoy!  If you can’t be arsed reading it, here’s the summary:

My social worker does not agree with the BPD thing but also thinks most diagnosis are subject to change from doctor to doctor.  Which is good and was what I was mostly upset about, as she’s known me for eighteen months and had never expressed concern about my relationships etc.   I don’t have a problem with BPD other than its inaccuracy and also the, “KA-POW!” way it was dropped on me.  It was proper, “Oh, by the way…”  I was upset that I felt things had been kept from me when I had asked outright a few times.

I’m not  too upset at the moment since I’m neither being referred for treatment for anything BPD nor am I taking medication.  The only useful thing about diagnosis is the treatment, so if I’m not being treated, it doesn’t matter.  Well, it does, but  I haven’t got the energy to seek a second opinion or challenge anything at the moment.  All I want to know is that if anything goes wrong off medication, I will be taken seriously and helped, and I’ve been assured I will, so!  I’m not entirely confident that I will be, but at least my social worker doesn’t agree and she might, at least. That’s what’s important, knowing that if something goes tits, I’m not alone.  If something doesn’t within the next few months, I am making a graceful exit from the community mental health team.   For now, I’m being kept an eye on.

I feel okay, physical ARGHs aside with withdrawal still kicking my arse and making me feel incredibly ill and making it hard to do much.  This whole thing has actually been a bit of an eye-opener.  I’ll see how I do off medication.  These are unknown lands for me to wander in.

This was at the end so if you don’t read that far:

So! I shall continue to blog, whatever label I have or have not, as it’s original intention has always been to monitor my moods and write bollocks, and that hasn’t changed.  Thanks for your support and for putting up with my wailing.  It’s much appreciated.

For the long version:

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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.



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.

Being a “Woman Who Blogs”-“I’m just a person trapped in a woman’s body”.

This is my favourite post, so now it lives here.

I have a vagina. Continue reading

I’ve Arrived! And to prove it, I’m here!


I’m back from the homelands, imbued once again with the slang of my youth and the teeth-a-chattering of doors slammed in teenage angst still reverberating through me.

I was in Belfast for just over a week, and spent the next two days asleep as I recovered from socialising. I’m still completely exhausted, which is crap, of course. Depression followed me, alas, but I pulled my arse out of bed as much as I could and was fairly honest with my charming host and 11-year best friend so much used to my ways, Stephen, in that I wasn’t feeling great. I did crawl into bed at a birthday party, but there were only six of us, and five whom were interesting people so I wasn’t too missed. My medication doesn’t seem to work very well anymore.  I’m sleeping terribly which is contributing to the daily exhaustion, and I am feeling, as mentioned, really quite shit and physically blasted apart. But I’m trying to do the most obvious, most loathsomely over-touted thing to help myself: DIET AND EXERCISE! Ish. I’m attempting to leave the house at least once a day for a little walk to perk myself up and sellotaping my fingers to my sides so I don’t resort to the usual depressive mechanisms of weight loss, since I can’t keep my head out of the fridge.   I can’t take antidepressants so I’m pooling all my resources to keep me out of the depths.

But, er, Belfast was fun!  Robert came with me, and surprisingly, my family no longer want him dead.  It’s quite novel to be able to mention him- nay, have him with me- without one of my sisters telling me not to ever speak his name again then dashing holy water all over me.  They were furious when we got back together, but it was nine years later, we are different people.  Taller, anyway.

I did lots of things such as…

Catching up with my friends:



The above being Stephen, playing his melodica at Lavery’s, where Robert also joined in in a terrifying rendition of Hey Ya…


Meeting my honourary nephew, Adam!  Adam is the baby son of two of my oldest friends.  I introduced them, in fact.  I take pride in this because they got married and didn’t kill each other.

I surprised myself by being okay with Adam. I’m usually quite tearful and wistful around babies these days, but it was just nice to see my friends, and new parents, and to hold the tiny little nearly-new thing.   I was a bit wistful later but I’m looking forward to future visits and seeing how he’s grown.  It’s quite strange that he’s just there, all of a sudden.

Went to a past pupil’s pub quiz where I ran into half my old school teachers, and where we won a bottle of wine for best name:


Getting together with my family and wandering the Giant’s Causeway:


Where I took lots of photos:

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