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Consumer Interview

Age: 23

Gender: Female

Are you under care of a Doctor, Psychiatrist, Therapist, Other? Please List: 

Doctor, Psychiatrist, Therapist and DBT team.

What is your diagnosis or diagnoses? 

Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety and Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, and Borderline Personality Disorder

At what age were you diagnosed with the borderline personality disorder?

Age 20

Have you gotten better or worse? 

At first I got worse, then in the past year I've gotten much better.

If you've gotten worse, what do you feel made you worse? 

Pregnancy made it worse, and stress does too.

** Very Important Question If You Could Answer Fully -> If you have gotten better, what specifically has helped you? This could be different for every person.

DBT has helped tremendously as well as individual therapy sessions 1 or 2 times a week.

Has medication helped?

Not dramatically. It helps with Bipolar, but not BPD.

*What advice would you like to give to others who are suffering from your same illness( s)?

Go to DBT and stay in it!! It really can work! Keep connections, no matter how much you want to curl up in your bed and stay away from everyone that cares. Learn what your triggers are and who is invalidating in your life and stay away from them.

Have you ever felt stigmatized due to having the BPD? Have you ever felt you have been looked down on or put down by others because you have the BPD? Tell us about it.

Honestly the only time I've felt stigmatized by having BPD is from others who have it also. Some people are upset by the label given to them and borderlines. The label however does not bother me. 

There have been a few websites I've been on, specifically BPD Central where I've feel stigmatized and hurt by what was said to generalize ALL people with borderline personality disorder. I am so much more than just a diagnosis.

Also I'm in a custody battle right now with my ex husband who is trying to prove that because I have BPD I m a bad mother. I find thinking like that very damaging and hurtful, and unfortunately he isn't the only one with that line of thinking.

What do you know now that you wish you would have known long ago?

I wish I knew that I wasn't the only one with these problems and thoughts. For so many years I thought I was weird, and when I finally found out that what I had had a name, I was ecstatic 

How have these disorder(s) interfered in your life? Which areas? 

Impulsivity, lack of interpersonal effectiveness, promiscuity, an extreme fear of abandonment, boredom. I've made several bad choices in my life on a whim. Dropping out of college, getting pregnant (although I do not regret my daughter, I realize now I did not think things through before going off the pill.) Getting married, leaving my husband, moving around& 

And then of course there's the Para suicidal behavior. For two years I cut myself over and over methodically. I was hospitalized twice, and sent to the crisis center four times. 

What does it feel like to have your disorder? 

It feels very lonely. I often feel misunderstood, like others are always against me or out to hurt me. My mind is a confusing place to be most days. I go through periods of happiness, depression, sadness, anger, and jealousy all within the course of ten minutes or so. I want so much to show people how strong I am, and how this disorder doesn't affect me. But it does affect me, so I struggle a lot with that. Trying to be perfect, when I know that ideal isn't good to have. "Lost in the Mirror" and "Girl Interrupted" (as unkind as it was to mental illness) capture a lot of what I'm going through with my disorders.

*Have you ever felt seriously suicidal? How many times? What got you through that (those times)?

I've been suicidal quite often. It used to be a driving force inside me daily that I could only alleviate by cutting. I've tried once with Aspirin, but it failed. And another time I dissociated and overdosed on Xanax. I have no memory of the last one even happening because I was unconscious for four days on the floor. Now that I've been in DBT for almost 2 years, I am using many skills daily to help me through my feelings of hopelessness. I page my therapist if I need help or someone to talk to and so far its been working. I haven't cut in almost 7 months!


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