I always knew I was different from my peers when I was a child. What I did not know was why. A blood test taken during my teen years eventually showed that I have a genetic disorder, and that answered a lot of questions for me. I finally knew the answer to why. Receiving a diagnosis of a mental illness is no different.
I have been seeing a counselor for a little over a year now. My biggest issue when I started going to therapy was depression, and that was the focus of my sessions. However, as time went on, I started talking with my therapist about other issues outside of my depression as well. Around March this year, my therapist added borderline personality disorder to my major depressive disorder diagnosis.
The American National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) describes the disorder as thus:
“Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties regulating emotion. This means that people who experience BPD feel emotions intensely and for extended periods of time, and it is harder for them to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally triggering event.
This difficulty can lead to impulsivity, poor self-image, stormy relationships and intense emotional responses to stressors. Struggling with self-regulation can also result in dangerous behaviors such as self-harm (e.g. cutting)”.
People with BPD can be extremely sensitive, and HelpGuide describes having the condition to “having an exposed nerve ending. Small things can trigger intense reactions”.
After doing a bit of research on BPD, I felt my new diagnosis was accurate and described me in a way. After diagnosing me with BPD, my therapist changed my therapy sessions slightly. Research shows that Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is the most effective therapy treatment for patients with BPD. In fact, DBT was created to treat patients with Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT helps patients with borderline personality disorder regulate their emotions “… – it encourages them to solve their problems. It focuses on skills training to equip clients with tools to effectively cope with their issues. DBT also helps them create long-term goals and work towards it”. My therapist started incorporating some DBT techniques into my therapy sessions, and they have definitely been a helpful new addition to the skills I have already been learning. I feel like a puzzle piece that has been missing a long time has finally been found, and now I have all the pieces I need to reach a place of mental stability soon.
Life is a journey, and we never really stop learning. My BPD diagnosis is helping on my journey of self discovery the same way my genetic disorder diagnosis did. Answering the “why” questions (why I am I having these problems I’m facing), leads to answers for the “how” questions (I know why I’m having these problems. Now how can I fix them). Now the road to recovery can really begin.
Until next time,