“A diagnosis is only a name to describe a set of symptoms that doctors use to set you on the correct pathway to healing. It is not your name.” -Amy Belle
My official diagnosis on paper: Depression, Anxiety, Emotionally Unstable Personal Disorder awaiting Bipolar
I had felt something wasn’t right all my life. I remember having an argument with a previous partner years ago and how I was acting just wasn’t normal. The screaming anger and hurt I felt was overwhelming. It is only looking back now that my family can see that how I behaved as a child was not normal. I was loved as a child but became very confused in how to validate my emotions in confusing and different approaches to parenting. I was also bullied badly and suffered many traumatic events. I started self-harming when I was 16 years old, however, my parents did not know how to support me in a healthy way so I kept it to myself. I first became unwell when I left home to live on my own in 2010. Back then I did not know what depression was, let alone that what I was feeling was an acute stage of clinical depression. I got stuck into a vicious self-destroying routine of sleeping for 16 hours a day. When I woke up I would cry. I only felt help happy when I was nursing and being distracted from my sadness at work. I became addicted to sleeping tablets and paracetamol. I was driving around different pharmacies at night to hoard a collection of pills. I was not aware of what I was doing. All I wanted to do was sleep and forget I was alive. I remember being aware of my sadness when the sun was shining and I was with a good friend and my land lady’s dog. He was trying to make me laugh but I just sat miserably on the bench sulking. Something that would make me so happy could not cheer me up and I knew something wasn’t right. The move did not work out well for other reasons so I returned home. A few months later and feeling the same way, and of course keeping my depression to myself, I took a massive paracetamol overdose. I did not realize what I had done- all I wanted to do was sleep. I ended up collapsing and being rushed to the hospital. There was no more lying when the blood results turned up. It opened the can of worms and started my long journey to healing my mental illness. My family was amazing and I quit my job to focus on getting better. I completed six months of counseling, I also went to the doctors who handed out anti-depressants like sweets. I was slowly feeling better but did not realize how embedded and miserable my existence was. The death of my grandparents made it worse. I then took my second overdose, deliberately, to prevent my mother from going on holiday. This opened up another can of worms even further. I also started having auditory hallucinations. I remember what I was feeling wasn’t normal and searched desperately for the answer on the internet. It was then I came across Borderline Personality Disorder on the Mind charity website and I cried because I believed I had found an answer. I discussed the diagnosis with my mental health team and they later officially agreed and diagnosed me. They attempted to place me on therapy but being fresh out of crisis and not being prepared for group therapy, it fell through. I remember the mental health lady calling me “an interesting case”. Not very helpful. Left to my own devices, the next year was a series of drinking heavily, fighting, tearing my family apart, tantrums, self-harming and suicide attempts. I tried to jump off a bridge. The major break through was when I had pushed my family to the brink. I had to move away to be with my father and make a fresh start. The next year I calmed down a lot but my tantrums has become worse. My self-harming and anger had escalated. What hit the nail on the head was when I had taken my third massive overdose and ended up on life support. I realized then I needed to get help or I would die. The NHS therapy I felt wasn’t for me as it was group therapy. I had a year of intensive psychotherapy which changed my life. I became aware of how I was feeling, I managed to gain closure from bereavement and many other traumatic things. I feel that I have lost the Borderline/ Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder diagnosis. I no longer have that way of thinking and feeling. However, the disorder has now replaced into grieving anxiety. I never had panic attacks in all my life. Isn’t it funny how it’s stepped down a notch? I felt I was coming to the end of therapy and moved out on my own. Following other events and my relationship breaking down I believe this year that all along I have Bipolar. I often feel level and happy, but I have also felt so elated and happy and made many decisions that could have changed my life forever, one of these was moving to Thailand on my own and believing I was on the Truman show. I also experience depressive cycles where I can not get out of bed. I am on medication for Bipolar currently and I am waiting for my official Bipolar diagnosis. The NHS has again offered me the therapy for BPD but during a manic stage recently I felt I was cured and did not want the help. I have started seeing my own private counselor. My self-harm has escalated because I am more aware of how I am feeling. Previously I was ignorant to how I was feeling and felt no shame. I am more aware of my moods and know when I am becoming unwell and I can ask for help. I know that I am going to become unwell again, but right now I am feeling level and happy. This time I hope it lasts a lot longer. All the best to you my fellow soliders.