A case study of person with depression who has been diagnosed with ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’
(to see my info and experiences of Borderline personality disorder and depression CLICK HERE to see all the posts or use the drop down boxes on the top of this website)
I have had various symptoms for years, like feelings of claustrophobia, waking up happy one morning and depressed
the next, together with panic attacks and I have had very little control over those emotions and feelings. It is debilitating, and sometimes difficult for others to deal with.
This is my story(written in early 2009):
I have had therapy for many years – Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, one to one counselling, Adlerian psychology, and, although they have helped in the short term as someone there to talk to, they have not cured me and my symptoms have continued to get worse and my life stuck on hold by them.
Recently, I went to a Psychiatrist, as I was desperate to find out for sure that there was nothing seriously wrong. I had been told and had convinced myself that I had depression, but my symptoms did not last long enough for me to be depressed, as I could flit from being extremely down, extremely angry or fairly happy.
After two one hour sessions, the Psychiatrist came to his conclusion with a diagnosis of ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ based on my current and past history of actions, feelings and behaviour traits.
I was relieved at first, as I had a name for it at last, and when I looked it up on various websites, I had all the symptoms just as they were described on the sites. Then I felt sad, as I didn’t really want to have a mental disorder, and although I wanted to tell everyone my news, so that they would then understand why I am like I am, I knew that they might see me in a different light, and reject me. As my fear of rejection is so strong anyway, I decided to keep it to myself, telling only my boyfriend and one of my siblings.
How I feel
I never really feel ‘happy and content’ inside. I can feel excited, temporarily happy, angry, aggressive, loving, depressed and empty, extremely sad, charitable, obsessive, jealous, hopeless, worthless and confused. I can feel any of these emotions at any time, and often they are temporary (a few hours up to a day or so). The main emotion that stays with me most of the time is anxiety and I have trouble relaxing and dealing with the smallest of things sometimes.
I can switch from one good emotion to another in a flash, and no-one can understand why – even though I have reasons of my own at the time.
Everything is either black or white – I can switch from liking someone a lot, to disliking them completely, just through one individual incident. This hurts those people if I confront them with it, but most of all, it hurts me and my relationship.
Because I moan about so many things, when I have something that really means something to me, it is not taken notice of.
I feel ‘needy’ in relationships and I crave lots of attention.
I don’t really trust anyone.
I can be, as I would call it ‘a performing monkey’ when around others. Apart from my close family, who get to see some of the ‘real me’, I will put on a happy face and pretend everything is rosy most of the time. Most people, outside of my family, would probably say that I am happy go lucky and nice to be around. Whether it be through worry over what others would think, or just to make myself feel a little better, I have covered a lot up, and whilst on the outside, I have been a bubbly, happy go lucky person who seems to be doing ok, inside I have been often darkly miserable and wanted to cry, shout and sometimes just end it all. I have had hardly anyone they could talk to (apart from counsellors, doctors and therapists) as I feel people would not understand and it would possibly have meant that I would lose friends or mar relationships giving them that knowledge. This may not be the case, but I have preferred not to test them. I now have a very understanding boyfriend who, at first, could not understand, but now we are supporting each other and are much happier.
I felt that my past life and experiences were all good and I was a happy person, but when interviewed by the Psychiatrist, I realised that this was not correct. Once we uncovered the fact that I have suffered with self harming, eating disorders, obsessive behaviours, no ability to stick with responsibility and jobs for long, have been in unstable and sometimes abusive relationships, drink and drug abuse, slept around when I was young and have spent a lot of time running away from people or events, I realised that perhaps I had not had the idealic life that I thought I had. I have, in fact, made lots of mistakes that have cost me dearly, due to my anxiety and impulsive decisions.
I am not a bad person – I just have a few issues. I behave within the social system, care for my family and friends, am polite in public and try to be as charitable as I can.
How could I be helped?
What I need is ‘understanding’ from others, so that they can provide help. Some of my friends abandoned me when I was younger, as they could not understand my moods, and it was very upsetting at the time, but I found out who my friends are!
Therefore, I agree very much that the stigma around mental health problems needs to be lifted and I am very grateful to the ‘Time to change’ campaigns and other help.
I had a very bad experience a few years ago, when at my lowest level, I moved back home to my parents, and tried to get a doctor quickly to help, as I felt so awful. I trudged the doctor’s surgeries in my area, desperately asking them for help – some said they were full, and others saw me first, and once I told them my problems tearfully and that I felt suicidal, I was told they could not take me on. Luckily, my old family doctor took me back on, and my symptoms subsided once I felt the comfort of someone caring, but the fact that I was dismissed by doctors in the national health system when telling them of my suicidal thoughts, is disgraceful and not acceptable.
I decided not to take antidepressants as I do not like using drugs, but this could be seen by others that I do not need them. It is not the case. I have decided that rather than covering it up with drugs, so that I forget I have a problem, I would face it full on and not forget, so that I can help myself to understand my problem fully and recover. It has proven to be a long journey, but I am getting there, and life looks brighter right now and I have a wonderful boyfriend who is very understanding and has stuck by me.
I am going to get a second opinion with the National Health, as I cannot afford to have the suggested therapy and consultations with the private Psychiatrist and specialist that was recommended, and then move forward from there with the correct therapy for me. I am also writing as a self therapy process. My main objective is to settle down and be more ‘normal’ whatever that is 🙂
Some site about this disorder:
The personality disorder website: http://www.personalitydisorder.org.uk
Types of personality disorder: http://www.rethink.org/about_mental_illness/mental_illnesses_and_disorders/personality_disorders/types_of.html
Symptoms of personality disorder: http://www.rethink.org/about_mental_illness/mental_illnesses_and_disorders/personality_disorders/symptoms_of.html
Causes of personality disorders: http://www.rethink.org/about_mental_illness/mental_illnesses_and_disorders/personality_disorders/causes_of.html
Treatments for personality disorder: http://www.rethink.org/about_mental_illness/mental_illnesses_and_disorders/personality_disorders/treatments_for.html
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What's it like living with Borderline Personality Disorder? Read therapy notes of female diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD.
Notes of first therapy session with T. Dal, female, 26, diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Dal is an attractive young woman but seems to be unable to maintain a stable sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Her confidence in her ability to "hold on to men" is at a low ebb, having just parted ways with "the love of her life". In the last year alone she confesses to having had six "serious relationships".
Why did they end? "Irreconcilable differences". The commencement of each affair was "a dream come true" and the men were all and one "Prince Charming". But then she invariably found herself in the stormy throes of violent fights over seeming trifles. She tried to "hang on there", but the more she invested in the relationships, the more distant and "vicious" her partners became. Finally, they abandoned her, claiming that they are being "suffocated by her clinging and drama queen antics."
Is she truly a drama queen?
She shrugs and then becomes visibly irritated, her speech slurred and her posture almost violent:
"No one f***s with me. I stand my ground, you get my meaning?" She admits that she physically assaulted three of her last six paramours, hurled things at them, and, amidst uncontrollable rage attacks and temper tantrums, even threatened to kill them. What made her so angry? She can't remember now, but it must have been something really big because, by nature, she is calm and composed.
As she recounts these sad exploits, she alternates between boastful swagger and self-chastising, biting criticism of her own traits and conduct. Her affect swings wildly, in the confines of a single therapy session, between exuberant and fantastic optimism and unbridled gloom.
One minute she can conquer the world, careless and "free at last" ("It's their loss. I would have made the perfect wife had they known how to treat me right") - the next instant, she hyperventilates with unsuppressed anxiety, bordering on a panic attack ("I am not getting younger, you know - who would want me when I am forty and penniless?")
Dal likes to "live dangerously, on the edge." She does drugs occasionally - "not a habit, just for recreation", she assures me. She is a shopaholic and often finds herself mired in debts. She went through three personal bankruptcies in her short life and blames the credit card companies for doling out their wares "like so many pushers." She also binges on food, especially when she is stressed or depressed which seems to occur quite often.
She sought therapy because she is having intrusive thoughts about killing herself. Her suicidal ideation often manifests in minor acts of self-injury and self-mutilation (she shows me a pair of pale, patched wrists, more scratched than slashed). Prior to such self-destructive acts, she sometimes hears derisive and contemptuous voices but she know that "they are not real", just reactions to the stress of being the target of persecution and vilification by her former mates.
This article appears in my book, "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited"
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Last Updated: 06 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD