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4 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Didn’t Have the Right Mental Illness Diagnosis

I always new I was a little different. A little more emotional than most people. But I didn’t start seeking help for my depression until I was 22 years old. At first it just started with various medications prescribed by my doctor. Finally I decided I needed more help, so I made an appointment with a psychiatrist. Again, it was trial and error with medications — my emotions were still a roller coaster. In June of 2015, I lost my job, my boyfriend and I was moving to a new city. I kept everyone in the dark about what was going on in my life and kept it bottled up.

In August, I attempted suicide. While in a 24-hour psych hold at the behavior unit in a hospital, one doctor finally told me what I should have known all along: “Have you heard of borderline personality disorder (BPD)?” I replied I had not. I finally went to my parents house, researched BPD and ding ding ding! We had a winner!

I’ve learned a lot from my journey, but here are five things I wish I had known back when I wasn’t sure I had the right diagnosis:

1. It’s OK to get a different doctor.

I stayed with the same general doctor for the longest time who didn’t have a background in psychological disorders. I should have seen a specialist sooner.

2. There’s nothing wrong with telling others what’s going on.

In the ER, my father told me he was so scared when he thought I was gone. He said that while he knew it was difficult, I should have opened up to him sooner.

3. Ignore the stigma.

For the longest time I kept my feelings to myself because of the bad reputation mental illness receives. I didn’t want people to think of me differently. 

4. Never give up.

It took me three doctors, eight different medications, two therapists and a trip to the behavioral unit to find out exactly what was going on. I didn’t think there was hope for me, but that’s what depression and borderline personality do. They convince you you’re not worth it and that everyone would be happier with you gone, but that’s a lie.

It’s been a little over six months since my borderline personality diagnosis. I’ve become an advocate for depression, borderline personality disorder and suicide prevention. I tell my story to help other people who’ve been what I’ve been thorough. It’s been tough and a little scary, but to finally know the diagnosis, even if it’s not something that can be magically treated or cured, has been worth it. I live happily by myself, have a fabulous full-time job working with people with disabilities and great a support system of friends and family.

You’re worth living. Never give up.

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.

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