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I will not let my condition define me. Saturday August 20, 2016

Four years ago I was hospitalised with severe depression. Several months and appointments later I was diagnosed with Moderate to severe recurrent depressive disorder.

Numerous appointments, no improvement at best, and at worse, relapses later, seeing yet a different psychiatrist, the diagnosis has been recently changed to – Less likely recurrent depressive disorder, more likely, Unstable emotions personality disorder.

This new diagnosis has thrown me off course a little, and led me to a discussion with my GP last week about how I am struggling to deal with the new diagnosis.

The GP asked me why this would make a difference, why I would want to be labelled.

The truth is, I don't. I don't want to be labelled, I don't want to be stereotyped, but I DO want to know what I am facing, and I want to be able to tell other people what my condition is.

I think this is because I don't feel that it is who I am, it is something that I have. By not having a clear diagnosis it feels much harder to separate my condition from my personality, something that is essential when it comes to the less likeable traits of a condition.

It is more empowering to be able to say "I self harm because of my condition", rather than "I self harm because I don't like myself". They may sound like subtle differences, but when you are grabbing on to every tactic to keep hold of your sanity, it can make a huge difference.

I don't want to be pigeon holed, I want to be treated as an individual, but I also want to be assured that I am not the only one out there feeling this way, and the only way to do this is to put this nasty little creature of a condition in a box, clearly marked. I may have to carry it around with me, it may be heavier at times than others, but this way, it WILL NOT define me!

Vicky
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Frances Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 6:58am

Although it may not always feel good to be labelled, sometimes it can be a relief to know what you are dealing with.

For me, hearing my clinical psychologist say emotionally unstable personality disorder (or its older less accurate name, borderline personality disorder, BPD) was the best thing that had happened to me in years, and as it is such a complex condition, a GP may simply not understand this.
I personally feel that there is so much out there on bi polar disorder, which is good for those with that condition, but not so much for BPD, and so much is unfortunately negative.

What is so important to remember is that you can read and educate yourself on BPD, and that you can recover and learn to manage your emotions in a healthy way so they don't overwhelm you, no matter what some (even medical professionals) will tell you, you can recover with the right help.

My severe depression only began to improve when we started to work on the BPD, you can't treat someone with BPD and depression, for depression only and expect them to recover. It is so complex and interconnected. One of the best treatments is dialectal behaviour therapy (DBT). This is considered the gold standard for BPD, and helps to give control over your overwhelming emotions, and I found in turn started to improve my depressive symptoms too.

I would personally like to hear and see more about BPD, and to change perceptions, that people can recover and live happy, productive lives. You're not the only person who feels as you do, it is unfortunately often a long road to be diagnosed, but worth it once you start the right treatment.

I'm a different person now I understand what had been wrong for most of my life, and what I need to do to manage the symptoms, but to get to this point, I needed to be given the label of emotionally unstable personality disorder/complex PTSD/ borderline personality disorder (all the same thing).

Frances Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 6:58am

Although it may not always feel good to be labelled, sometimes it can be a relief to know what you are dealing with.

For me, hearing my clinical psychologist say emotionally unstable personality disorder (or its older less accurate name, borderline personality disorder, BPD) was the best thing that had happened to me in years, and as it is such a complex condition, a GP may simply not understand this.
I personally feel that there is so much out there on bi polar disorder, which is good for those with that condition, but not so much for BPD, and so much is unfortunately negative.

What is so important to remember is that you can read and educate yourself on BPD, and that you can recover and learn to manage your emotions in a healthy way so they don't overwhelm you, no matter what some (even medical professionals) will tell you, you can recover with the right help.

My severe depression only began to improve when we started to work on the BPD, you can't treat someone with BPD and depression, for depression only and expect them to recover. It is so complex and interconnected. One of the best treatments is dialectal behaviour therapy (DBT). This is considered the gold standard for BPD, and helps to give control over your overwhelming emotions, and I found in turn started to improve my depressive symptoms too.

I would personally like to hear and see more about BPD, and to change perceptions, that people can recover and live happy, productive lives. You're not the only person who feels as you do, it is unfortunately often a long road to be diagnosed, but worth it once you start the right treatment.

I'm a different person now I understand what had been wrong for most of my life, and what I need to do to manage the symptoms, but to get to this point, I needed to be given the label of emotionally unstable personality disorder/complex PTSD/ borderline personality disorder (all the same thing).

Hopeful One Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 7:17am


Hi Vicky- so brave of you to even write about the issues you face ,complex as they appear. In taking this step you have ( one feels your Inner Critic will probably say " pull the other one") you have opened a door to your recovery. Do you keep a journal? If you do not I suggest you do. Choose the colour and size that makes you feel empowered by it. Everyday write something in it - it can be how you feel , why you feel the way you do, what happened / happening to you, things you found interesting ,things you read.....your imagination is your limit. At the end of every entry write down three things that made you feel happy.They can be anything no matter how trivial. Write down three things that you feel grateful for .They can be anything... . At first it may appear hard work as your Inner Critic will try its damnest to stop you. Simply ignore it. I can say from my own experience that it was the start of my own recovery ( among other things I did like exercise , meditation before going to bed which helped my sleep, eating regular nutritious meals, talking to friends who cared for me....) you will soon create a 'tool box ' of things that help you. And oh yes do your Moodscope score to see the in a graphic form.

Laugh when you can - it's cheap medicine .

Here is a start.

Donald Trump goes on a fact-finding visit to Israel. While he is on a tour of Jerusalem he suffers a heart attack and dies.The undertaker tells the American Diplomats accompanying him, 'You can have him shipped home for $50,000, or you can bury him here, in the Holy Land for just $100.'The American Diplomats go into a corner and discuss for a few minutes. They come back to the undertaker and tell him they want Donald shipped home.The undertaker is puzzled and asks, 'Why would you spend $50,000 to ship him home, when it would be wonderful to be buried here and you would spend only $100?
The American Diplomats replied, 'Long ago a man died here, was buried here, and three days later he rose from the dead. We just can't take the risk.'

LillyPet Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 7:29am

Lol! :))

Lou Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 7:30am

Love it! :)

Orangeblossom Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 8:03am

This is very cheering!

Belinda Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 8:51am

Very funny.

Bearofliddlebrain Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 9:53am

Ha ha ha...HO...another fab joke!! xx

LillyPet Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 7:24am

Hi Vicky,
I'd also want to know exactly what personality disorder means for me. The other labels are more self explanatory.
I like the way you have summed up labelling, not wanting to be put in a box, but keeping the label firmly in a box!
I have also had unstable emotions, it is strongly linked to hormone levels, but I dont know exactly how. If I did, it might be easier to manage the effects.
Wishing good health to you and all. LP xx

Nicco Sun, Aug 21st 2016 @ 10:19pm

Hi LillyPet - Your post resonated with me because I struggled with hormonal moodswings for years until I found NAPS (National Assoc for Premenstrual Syndrome) who helped me a lot. They have a website which you may or may not find of benefit. Sorry, I'm not sure if protocol allows me to state an organisation, and I apologise if I've broken any rules here but I know how awful it can be and I was v.grateful to have found help so thought I'd share. Best Wishes, N.

LillyPet Sun, Aug 21st 2016 @ 11:26pm

Hi Nicco, Thank you so much, I will definitely check it out. I'm so glad I saw your comment, thanks for sharing, LP xx

Nicco Wed, Aug 24th 2016 @ 1:41pm

You're v.welcome. I hope it helps. Go well. x

Lou Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 7:29am

"I don't feel that it is who I am, it is something that I have."

These are very wise words indeed Vicky and this is something I too struggle with - I am so much more than my depression and anxiety.

Thank you for the reminder!

Lou

Orangeblossom Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 8:11am

Thanks for the blog & all the comments which are very helpful & clear. I too keep a diary and the more stressed or anxious I become the longer my entry for that particular day. I registered with Moodscope in order to see for myself before recommending it to the students who I support or my Cruse clients. Recently I have recommended it to one or two people. I especially love the Blogs.

patricia Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 8:11am

Hi Vicky
I just hate being labeled, when one reads their condition, you can say I'm not this or that, but perhaps I'm that, one size doesn't fit all. In this day and age it seems to me everyone loves to tick boxes, when you read the question,it doesn't apply to you, but you "must" tick a box, I could scream at forms.
A CBT 6 week course, every week a form had to be filled, one question was have you felt suicidal in the last week, "No" but this bl....y form makes me feel like it. Vicky I feel we have to be pigeon holed, and put into 1 size and not individual as we all are.
We have a mental condition and all cope as best we can, because lets face it, we can only see the medical profession occasionaly, so who looks after us in between, yes, we look after ourselves.
Another laugh when you can:-
An airplane was about to crash, there were 5 passsengers on board but only 4 parachutes
The first passenger Holly Madison said "I have my own reality show and I am the smartest and prettiest woman at Playboy so Americans don't want me to die "she took the first pack and jumped out of the plane.
The second passenger John Mccain said I'm a senator and a decorated war hero from an elite navy unit from the |United States of America "so he grabbed the second pack and jumped.
The third passenger Donald Trump said I am going to be the next President of the United States I am the smartest man in our Country. So he grabbed the pack next to him and jumped out.
Th passenger Billy Graham said to the fifth passenger a 10 year old shhoolgirl. I have lived a full life and served my God the best I could I will sacrifice my life and let you have the last parachute.
The little girl said "That's okay Mr. Graham there's a parachute left for the smartest man in America took my schoolbag.
Have a good day everyone.

Belinda Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 8:57am

Hi Vicky, I am sure this joke was very funny, but I wonder if the last paragraph needs rewriting, or maybe I am just a bit slow?

Bearofliddlebrain Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 9:54am

Hi Belinda....I think it just needs a comma after the word 'left'!! You're not slow xxxx

Belinda Thu, Aug 25th 2016 @ 6:36am

Thanks Bearofliddlebrain, thank you, that helps...........but not for the last 3 words. xxxx

Bearofliddlebrain Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 10:05am

Hi Vicky, oh brave one... It is heart rending to read your blog. I only hope you receive comfort from Moodscopers who know exactly how you feel about being labelled.
As to carrying around the labelled box....leave it at home, in a cupboard, preferably a cupboard under the stairs..you know the sort - 'a glory hole' ....where it doesn't need to see the light of day very often, but when it has to come out, treat it to the real you (and from Leah's blog yesterday) treat it to the Youest of You!!
Something I told my daughter, when things got too much for her when she was Young, was share the problems and troubles with us, then we can pack the troubles in a suitcase and as they are very heavy to carry, Me or her dad would carry the suitcase for her. She liked the thought that by sharing her worries with me or my husband, we would help her sort them out and the bigger worries could be off-loaded to us..and sorted ut another time but that she didn't have to carry a heavy burden all the time..if that makes sense!! I hope that by sharing with us today, Vicky, it may help.
Beary hugs x

Antonella Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 10:20am

Vicky,
you are unique. There is nobody like you.
Nevertheless, what you write rings a bell. I identify with you. I can easily get confused and think that you are exactly like me, or that I am exactly like you. Which cannot be true, obviously.
I was never hospitalised with severe depression. I was never diagnosed with Moderate to severe recurrent depressive disorder. I was never diagnosed with Unstable emotions personality disorder.
Indeed, I feel I may be unable to understand you, your life experience. Maybe you are a positive, energetic, happy person who happens to have a disorder. I am just a whiny pain in the neck.
My existential psychotherapist mantains I have existential problems, not a disease. (what would you expect...) I can assure you, this is a very hard diagnosis to live with. Basically, it means that I have what everybody has. Life. And that my life has not just happened to me, my life is what happened in the interaction between me and the universe. We can spend some time discussing who was wrong between me and the universe, who to blame for the fact that things were not as I wanted them to be. Life is not fair. And now, this is my body, these are my emotions, I have things I like in myself and things I don’t like, I have things that other people like in me and things that other people dislike.
Some people are born tall, others are short. Then you can be good at different sports, and different clothes look good on you. There is a biological basis of depression. Some people get depressed because they realize that our society is crazy, or just because they realize that their relatives, friends, co-workers are crazy. that there is no hope of receiving love. Other people never get depressed because they are just too shallow. Some people learn how not to fall into depression again, using methods for the maintenance of the mental health. Some people look for somebody who can cure their soul, and are willing to swallow a bitter pill, in the hope to come to a fuller life. We have one life, we decide what to do. I can pass the responsibility to a doctor, but it is still me, I had the responsibility and passed it. Obviously, I am talking about me, not you. You are the only one who can say, in this moment, if anything of what I have written means anything to you.

The Gardener Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 11:11am

Labels? We are ourselves, unique, with a brain to use to the ultimate, and emotions to show or hide. Our moods are our character. BUT, I'm glad that in the two generations since I suffered depression it IS labelled - before that we were 'neurotic women' or 'that time of life' - because, until recently the poor men had to hide their depressions - took a high profile politician (Australian, I think) to admit to it, now it has provoked another sort of 'coming out'. I've said before that in my late 30's, having suffered extreme mood-swings, I was rushed into hospital - Friday night, in London, bells jangling - I was too gone to realise the drama! Let out clutching paper, reason for admission 'mania'. Then, it was not bi-polar, you were verging on madness. My post elicited some lovely responses yesterday - my memories are like a 'rich fruit cake' (Leah, I think) and co-junkees of Joyce Grenfell and Jeeves and Wooster. I am going to start a blog just on 'what makes you laugh'. May never be published, but I need the catharsis today. Mr G won't let me sleep - last night put him to bed - watched TV next door (organised so he feels 'safe'). Settled to most exciting Olympics - Mr G called me every 5 minutes. Haven't slept for nights - he won't let me sleep during the day - then, to cap the lot he let the cat out last evening. Major panic when she had not eaten this morning, alerted vet (their cat, she 'week-ends' with us), searched shrubs round church, searched house. Neighbours alerted. They knocked - she was cowering behind a car, outside our door, howling piteously. She's been ever so loving since.

Paul Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 11:55am

I am not keen on labels
I am dyslexic, why such a daft and complicated word so hard to say and spell.
I suffer with depression which I think is a horrible word.
I also have a heart condition called brugada syndrome, better known as sudden death syndrome, but I call it mostly alive syndrome because that's how I see it.

Great jokes today which I always enjoy reading, keep them coming.

Paul

Duma Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 2:34pm

Hi Vicky.

I am currently seeking a redefinition of my diagnosis.

From Unipolar Affective Disorder (hypomania) to Unipolar Affective Disorder (mania).

This is because - I feel, that since I (lacking depreeion and having to clamber down myself...) plateau at a level of mania, and merely stabilise. I am currently somewhere close to geosynchronous obital (LEO 10). lol

a condition cannot define you, but you can define it.

That is all.

Duma, out.

Duma Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 2:36pm

Depression, obviously, stupid tiny buttons...

The Gardener Sat, Aug 20th 2016 @ 4:32pm

Paul - labels - agree with you in principle - but with things like dyslexia if not diagnosed and recognised parents may not want to admit to what is often seen by others as verging on 'retarded', and authorities are notorious at NOT labelling things because they are duty bound in law to supply specialist teaching - our Doctor in UK, in his position, had an awful job getting his daughter diagnosed as dyslexic with the right help she went on to achieve academic success and a happy marriage

Anonymous Sun, Aug 21st 2016 @ 12:58am

hey vicky, you are right. as you say we want to know we are not the only ones suffering. wouldn't it be great if people wore labels for a day displaying their mental traumas. mine would be anxiety. something i've lived with for many years now. i understand it so much more these days, i have techniques for dealing with it, but it still has a firm grip on me. sometimes i wonder is this defining me. then i get defensive and say yes, i might have this damned illness but i will not let it stop me doing what i have to want to do. if it kills me i will do this! then other times i bow out because i'm too scared. has the anxiety got the better of me, has it defined me? probably, but i will fight on. i wish you and all here the very best. lets keep talking and we'll know we are not alone, it helps for sure

Nicco Sun, Aug 21st 2016 @ 10:13pm

Hi Vicky,
I really resonated with your blog because some years ago I was, after a 15min conversation with a so-called consultant, diagnosed with BPD, after which I was furious. I'd just been diagnosed with M.E. and was seeing a 'specialist' in that field - it was he who diagnosed the BPD. I spoke to my GP, who was so laid back about it, saying that most of us have personality foibles and it's nothing to worry about. I did worry about it. I worried because I'd already been labelled as a 'difficult patient' which, I was told, was not my fault! The depression wasn't my fault, neither were the hormone-based mood swings I had (and I'm thinking of LillyPet here), but the M.E. may or may not be my fault (being the way I reacted to things which happened to me in my past). I have since then swept it all (the BPD) under the carpet, deciding the consultant obviously didn't know what they were talking about because they don't know my past, don't live with me 24/7, and only spoke to me for around 15mins, so how can they base a diagnosis on just a few mins of what I thought was normal ordinary sane conversation - I wasn't displaying symptoms of a raving lunatic, but I felt the diagnosis had the effect of labeling me as such and, to me, was another thing to add to the already long list on my medical records and would be further damaging to my reputation (I was considered what was/is known as a 'heart-sinker' - doctors' hearts sink when someone like me walks into their consulting rooms apparently). Heart-sinker I may have been but that was because I was trying to find out what was wrong with me so that I could start treating myself in order to keep myself out of their consulting rooms, thus avoiding their sinking hearts, because they weren't finding what was wrong with me! However... having read Frances' post, which I found most interesting, I am now intrigued to find out more about this BPD because, it is true that I have struggled for most of my lift with coping with my sometimes overwhelming emotions. So, thank you for the block, Vicky, and thank you, Frances, for the insightful post.

Cyndi Mon, Aug 22nd 2016 @ 12:11pm

Thank you for your Blog! I can relate to it, for I too experience depression, which for me lead to many, many , hospitalizations and a few diagnosis changes. Currently, I think - for I don not focus on it anymore, I experience Bi Polar II symptoms (Mostly depression with and occational hypomanic episode). I use to be labelled Borderline Personality DIsorder - But I think I have grown out of that. Throw in there a severe head injury, PTSD and Alcoholism (21 years sober!). But mostly I just say I experience depressive symptoms, with an occasional hypomanic episode, with out putting labels on them. I prefer to say I "experience" these symptoms rather that I "suffer" from. I too am more than my diagnosis.

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