What it’s like to live with two personality disorders
However, some things didn’t change. I was still irritable. I was intensely emotional. I couldn’t cope with being alone. I had a constant fear of being abandoned. I saw my psychiatrist once again to explain how I was feeling. I told him things weren’t making sense; I was no longer manic, nor depressed, but I didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel okay. (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk) He agreed that it was strange and went on to ask me some questions about my lifestyle. My work, my relationships, my friends, my family and how I handle them all emotionally. I thought the questions were odd but answered them nonetheless. I told him that I was constantly worried about messing up and losing my job. That I was scared my boyfriend was going to leave me, and because of this I’d act out emotionally, often getting upset to the point I’d struggle to control my tears. I’d explain that I felt strong enough to stand up to and cause arguments with my partner but I’d let my friends walk all over me. I only had a handful and I didn’t want to lose them. He nodded along, and after I’d finished going into depth, he handed me a book, highlighting one sentence on the page. Borderline personality disorder. ‘I’m thinking you may have this alongside bipolar disorder,’ he explained. ‘Now, you definitely have bipolar disorder because you have the extended periods of mania and depression. But you also act emotionally and intensely – and this is happening on a more regular basis as opposed to being spaced out like bipolar disorder.’ I was referred to a psychologist who spent an hour evaluating me. She asked me a series of questions focusing on various sections of my life – scoring points as she went on to see how much each section was affecting me.
At the end of the questions, she added up all the points for a final evaluation and explained I’d met the criteria for a borderline personality disorder diagnosis. I was both scared and relieved. Scared because it was another diagnosis I’d have to come to terms with – relieved because it was another diagnosis. It wasn’t the bipolar medication not working, it was because I was still being affected by something else. Right now, I’m learning to cope with BPD, but it can be hard. Because I live with two personality disorders, it can be difficult to tell which is affecting me – especially if I am both manic from bipolar and struggling with BPD at the same time. There’ll be times where I feel on top of the world, I’ll stop sleeping and I’ll act recklessly – but then I’ll be overcome with emotion and tears. I get confused because it can be hard to tell whether I’m manic, depressed, or just struggling with BPD. It’s also hard work because it can feel like I’m never cut a break. I can be stable with bipolar disorder, the medication working great and feeling fine – but still struggling with BPD, waking up in the worst mood in the world, getting upset at the smallest thing, having crippling anxiety over being alone.
Sometimes I just want my mind to take a break. The only easy thing with having both is learning to control things. Of course, it’s going to be hard – but while bipolar is controlled with medication, BPD is not. Which means that luckily I’m not going to be on any counteracting medications or a pitcher of them rather than the cocktail I’m already on. I’ll be able to learn to live with BPD by mastering coping mechanisms and attending therapy. I’ll be learning how to ease my mind and how to remove myself from a situation when things get too much. I’m thankful that BPD is not a medication-controlled personality disorder because it means that I’ll be able to remain in touch with my emotions, and I’m hoping that it’ll also teach me how to control certain aspects of bipolar disorder when I have episodes.
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