a new diagnosis regarding personality disorders

This is hard to talk about because I’m not very good at describing exactly how I feel or what I go through, especially in a way people understand. Fortunately, I’ve been working with both my psychiatrist and therapist long enough that they can work out my feelings and what’s really going on.

When I first met with my psychiatrist, he diagnosed me with Dependent Personality Disorder. I did a lot of research on DPD and it sounded so much like me.

Dependent Personality Disorder

Patients must exhibit at least five of the following criteria:

  • ☑️ Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others.
    I can make most decisions on my own, but I seek excessive approval from Corey about things that most people wouldn’t think twice on.
  • ☑️ Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of their life.
    When my depression and anxiety are in full swing, I have a hard time coping with life. I give up almost all of my responsibilities and only do things that keep me from suicidal ideation if at all possible.
  • ☑️ Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval. 
  • ☑️ Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on their own (because of a lack of self confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy).
    I can start projects on my own if it’s something to do with blogging, crocheting, or knitting. But I still seek approval on the project. Anything else, I won’t do alone at all. Ever.
  • Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant.
    Actually, I never ever seek to do anything I find unpleasant. In fact, it’s almost a detriment to myself at how much I avoid unpleasant things.
  • ☑️ Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for themselves. 
  • ☑️ Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends. 
  • ☑️ Is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of themselves. 

This past Monday, I spoke to my psychiatrist about my almost suicide attempt. We talked in depth about how I got to the point of active suicidal ideation and what kept me from going through with harming myself, why I had done some things prior to the almost attempt, my emotions–their ups and downs, and we talked about my medications. At the end of our conversation, my psychiatrist told me he had a new diagnosis for me. He has decided that instead of Dependent Personality Disorder, he thinks I have Borderline Personality Disorder.

BPD is something I’ve wondered about and I’ve talked about with my therapist, but it’s never been a for sure thing. The one thing I’m not sure of is if I can have both disorders because they both sound a lot like me. I guess it’s something I’ll have to ask my psychiatrist the next time I talk to him.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Patients must exhibit at least five of the following criteria:

  • ☑️ Frantically tries to avoid real or imaginary abandonment.
    I have severe abandonment issues. It was partially my feeling of being abandoned by God that caused me to spiral last Friday into suicidal ideation.
  • ☑️ Has a pattern of unstable relationships. Alternates between idealizing and devaluing others in relationships.
    I very much idealize people, put them on pedestals, think they can do no wrong. Then something happens. They don’t validate me in a way I need or they reject me somehow and I want nothing to do with them.
  • ☑️ Has an unstable self-image or self-identity.
    I don’t even know if I can explain how much this one is me. I don’t feel like I’m an expert at anything. I know I’m good at some things, but I’m not great and I’m definitely not an expert in one area. (I know most people will say that’s okay, but it’s more than what I’m explaining.) And, I don’t know what my passion is, if I have one. I feel very lost and unsure in this area of my life and I’ve been trying to figure it out for a very long time.
  • ☑️ Acts impulsively in at least two areas of life in ways that can be self-damaging (e.g., impulsive or uncontrollable spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). 
    I’m a binge eater. I feel like I can’t help it sometimes. I also act without thinking, like deleting years’ worth of blog posts on a whim and then realizing a few months later that I wish I hadn’t done that to the point of hating myself for doing it. I’m an impulsive spender too. I overspend more often than not and have buyer’s remorse after most purchases. Fortunately, I don’t have more dangerous impulses.
  • ☑️ Has a history of suicidal or self-mutilating behavior. 
  • ☑️ Has frequent mood swings that usually last for a few hours but may last for a few days or more. 
    I’ve always wondered if I’m bipolar because of my mood swings. I go from an extreme high to an extreme low very quickly, sometimes in the space of a few hours. But, I had always been told, bipolar mania lasts days or weeks not hours.
  • ☑️ Has severe and long-term feelings of emptiness. 
  • Has difficulty controlling anger or gets severely angry without cause. May feel angry all the time, display anger frequently, or get in frequent physical fights.
  • ☑️ Has periods of stress-related paranoia or experiences severe dissociation.

As I’ve been researching BPD, I’ve felt seen like I never felt before. I understand why I feel the way I do, why my mood swings are so extreme but not enough to be considered bipolar. I understand why I can’t figure out what I want to do or be when I grow up, what my passions are, or why I’m having a hard time with my beliefs even though nothing really has changed.

My psychiatrist said people with BPD respond well to something called Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It’s a very focused form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I spoke to my therapist about it. He’s not trained in the full DBT process, but he does add some aspects to his approach with his clients. I look forward to seeing how I respond to these aspects and how I’ll improve.

2 replies
    • Jenni Elyse
      Jenni Elyse says:

      He did, actually. I just didn’t explain it well at the end of my post. My therapist is adding some aspects because he’s not trained in the full process. However, Corey and I are looking into adding DBT in addition to me working with my current therapist because I don’t want to stop working with him.

      Reply

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