Day 4: What are the pros and cons of having a mental illness or your specific illness(es)?
Cons – Well, I have a hard time keeping a job, making friends, enjoying life — my depression and anxiety really inhibit me to do a lot of things. It isn’t fun at all. With anxiety, I really hate going out. I am scared of meeting new people. Then when I do make a friend, I get really overwhelmed if they keep asking me to hang out, so I quite answering their calls or texts – and well, they give up on me, which I don’t blame them for. I get overwhelmed with jobs too – so I feel sick and can’t go in, or I have panic attakcs during them, or I just stop going, or I quit. When I get depressed – nothing makes me happy. I can sleep for days. I can not shower for days. I am not interested in anything. My mania with my bipolar even stinks — spend lots of money, get agitated and frustrated. Nothing good from that. Basically — it just sucks. So nothing good about the mental illness there.
Pros – Hmm that is a hard one to even think about. With bipolar, there is mania. Most people like that. They say they are productive and all that jazz. For me, I hate my mania – nothing good comes out of it. So I cant even list that as a pro. I think I am more empathetic though. I see the world differently than most people. I feel pain. I know what it is like to hurt. I guess I don’t want to say I understand things better, and yet I also do want to say that. When someone is hurting or down, I feel like I really do understand them. I do feel like I see the world completely differently than someone without mental illness – I feel like I have a better perspective. I know that sounds bad and mean and wrong and as if I am better than them — but I feel like I just have a better understanding — or a different understanding I guess.
Day 3: What treatment or coping skills are most effective for you?
I participated in 6 months of inpatient schema therapy which was really great for me. This helped me with my BPD. Perhaps having to sit down for 6 months and break it all down into my mind is what this really worked for me. It was all broken down into every group I went to, plus we had one group where the therapist added in a bit of DBT, but not much. Schema therapy really was great though.
I also did quite a bit of CBT here and there. It helped me when I really thought about it, but I never would actually practice it outside of a hospital setting. When I was inpatient, and had the sheets in front of me, had to do the assignments, it all made sense. Outside of the hospital — I just could never make myself think of it.
Outside of therapy programs though, using my coping skills is really the best thing for me. When I am able to bring myself out of my “funk” enough to actually do something ….
- writing on here has been amazing!
- walking or running
- support groups (NAMI)
- grounding techniques
those are the ones I try to use most frequently as they seem to be the ones that work right now….they change quite frequently… like a few months ago, I was obsessed with knitting — nonstop!
Day 2: How do you feel about your diagnosis?
I have accepted my diagnosis for the most part. I get upset that I have to take medicine everyday. I get annoyed that I am going to have to deal with it for the rest of my life. I know that for my BPD I can get much better through therapy and even my PTSD can improve a lot with therapy. My bipolar is going to follow me all my life though. I have tried going off my meds and every single time I ended up in the hospital – repeatedly – 15 times – until I got committed to a state hospital.
I have accepted that I have to stay on my meds now. I have accepted that I need medications and I need therapy and I will battle these for the rest of my life.
I will be honest though, I am treated unfairly many times because of my borderline personality diagnosis. People think I am manipulative because of it. I personally, am not. I have doctors tell me that I tell them whatever I want to get the medications I want. The medications I have been on work perfectly for me – since I got out of the state hospital, my meds have kept me stable. The only med that hasn’t is my anxiety med – and I asked the state hospital to take me off of it because in the controlled environment in there, I thought I was better. I wish I hadn’t gone off of it. Now, everyone here thinks I am just manipulating them because of my BPD. There is more than just that instance though – I have heard it multiple times. I wish that my BPD diagnosis would just be taken off my chart.
But, it is what it is. I have what I have. I just need to continue to learn how to cope with it all and live with it all and focus my life on living better and coping better.
Day 1: What is/are your mental illness(es). Explain it a little.
I am currently diagnosed with Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
My Bipolar disorder has varied from BP 2, to BP 1, to BP NOS — so honestly I am not sure which one I have. I have moved a few times since getting the diagnosis and depending on the psychiatrist, they just decide on what they want. I think my most accurate diagnosis is probably Bipolar 2 though. I have had the severe highs before, but only 3 times since I ever was diagnosed back in 2012, and the majority of it is extremely severe depression.
With my PTSD, I basically have horrible flashbacks, nightmares, and dissociation related to past traumatic events in my life. These include childhood abuse that has happened to me. Sexual abuse by a teacher when I was 13. Also I was raped in college. I am not currently facing this, but for a time I also had some PTSD related to a surgery which paralyzed my right arm due to complications and then in turn caused a great deal of stress and depression due to lack of my use of my arm and my future of my job.
My BPD affects me in many ways – although I honestly figure that out on a day to day basis. My bipolar makes me depressed 97% of the times. But then if something makes me mad or upset, I will be set off to be even more depressed or angry than I was before. If I was suicidal before cause of my bipolar, my BPD could cause me to become even worse because of something someone said or did to me. My emotions don’t usually swing up though like some people do.
After my diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD) I struggled to accept it. I battled in my mind over if I really had it or not. Quite honestly, I had some therapists that kind of disagreed about it too, which made me wonder even more.
When I really look at the traits though, I am pretty sure I do have enough of them to meet the criteria. I waiver back and forth on if I do meet it or not, but I think that is because I want to convince myself I don’t have it.
There is one criteria that I know I completely meet though:
—- identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
Throughout my entire life I have never known who I really was. I went to quite a few different schools. Two elementary schools, Three Middle Schools, and Two High Schools. I hung out with different types of people at all of them. I conformed to whatever behavior and pattern I needed to. I didn’t really have my own identity. If I would have been put in a room with all of them together, I wouldn’t have known how to act. Who would I have conformed to? Which group would I have identified with? Would I have identified with any of them?
To this day, I don’t know who I am. I don’t dye my hair or cut it often. I don’t change my clothing style all the time. No one would think or feel that I cannot really figure out who I am.
I am on disability, and quite honestly, am not exactly stable enough to hold a job at this point. I am working at my own pace to get a degree though, which I am hoping will lead me to a job and stability since I am going to have more structure in my life.
Even with this though, is it what I really want? I went to college and got 2 Bachelors degrees. My mental illness definitely stopped me from being able to use them, but I questioned my main one (nursing) during those last two years when my mental illness was getting bad. I couldn’t figure out who I was or what I wanted.
Now, am I doing the right thing? Will I be able to follow through with this? Will I like it and keep it and enjoy it? Is it me?
I think it is. I am going to stay positive about it of course.
I just know that I have struggled with finding myself. Who I am. Who I want to be and who I can identify with and trust. I feel like I don’t know how to act or socialize. I feel somewhat disconnected from everyone and I don’t know how to connect unless I follow them. If that makes sense?
I don’t know if any of this makes sense, or if anyone else feels this way at all. But that has been my experience with the identity issue that goes along with BPD.
Does anyone else experience this trait of BPD? What are your symptoms like with it?