Part 1 of 2 I have been dealing with various mental illnesses since before 2008 when I was officially diagnosed. I started out with diagnoses of panic and #Anxiety disorders and then severe #MajorDepressiveDisorder . And eventually, I was diagnosed with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder and #DependentPersonalityDisorder .
I have been diagnosed with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder for many years, and when I got that diagnosis it was like everything I was dealign with clicked into place. My struggles, my feelings, my thoughts, my #Relationships just all suddenly made sense. My intense fear of being alone and being abandoned made sense. And I learned I wasn’t alone in it. Others dealt with this, too. I also learned this is a highly stigmatized diagnosis. My therapist warned me not to research it too much further than learning about it because he knew I’d stumble upon the websites talking about how horrible people with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder are. And I did. I found websites with parents of kids and teenagers with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder talking about how horrible, how evil, how difficult, how uncontrollable their child is. They wrote as if they hated their child. And this was how I felt my parents felt about me. I tried so hard to be an easy enough teenager. I abided by the rules. I didn’t drink. I didn’t cause issues. I internalized most of my struggles and brought them to therapy. That isn’t to say that those who did drink or broke the rules are “bad” or “unmanageable” like these forums suggested. We are all going through intense emotional pain and turmoil and we deal with it as best we can with the resources we have available to us. So it was really difficult to read about how parents viewed their children and teenagers with #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder . I appreciated that this diagnosis explained a lot of what I was feeling and going through, but I kept it a secret from most because I saw the stigma surrounding #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder at that time. I saw how I may be viewed, and I was scared.
A few months ago, I was also diagnosed with #DependentPersonalityDisorder (DPD). I still struggle with this diagnosis because of the internal and external stigma associated with it. When I was first diagnosed, I thought I was being told that all forms of dependency and needing people are bad and that I shouldn’t need anybody. That I shouldn’t depend on anybody. That attachment is bad. That there is something inherently wrong with me. And I struggled to find articles even on The Mighty with stories about DPD and it was even harder to find stories about people with DPD and #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder . My searches mostly came up as articles on #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder or #PersonalityDisorders in general which made me feel even more alone. I kept it a secret from everybody who didn’t already know about it which was only my therapist and psychopharm. I didn’t tell my parents. I didn’t tell my friends or other professionals I work with. I rarely talk to even my therapist about how this all makes me feel, but he knows how I feel. I feel intense shame around this diagnosis. Intense embarrassment. Intense fear. Intense #Loneliness . Intense confusion. I feel abnormal, like something is seriously wrong with me. I feel humiliated. And I know in my head that I don’t need to feel those ways and that there is nothing wrong with having DPD. I know it doesn’t mean anything is inherently wrong with me.
I know I don’t need to feel embarrassed. And, yet, I still feel all that I feel. I know that there is no reason to feel ashamed about having DPD or #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder . That it doesn’t make me a bad or wrong person. It just makes me a person with certain obstacles I struggle with. There is no need to feel embarrassed or abnormal. These are real clinical disorders that create a lot of pain for the person suffering from them. And often times, people without the disorders don’t understand the pain dealing with these symptom sets creates.
On a logic level, I know there are reasons I have the symptoms I have. A lot of it has to do with growing up with emotionally absent and emotionally neglectful parents. Growing up with verbal #Abuse and an absent father with #Addiction issues. I grew up with inconsistencies and instability. I grew up without any stable ground or anybody to lean on or depend on safely. I didn