Category Archives: Borderline Personality Disorder

Disengage.

I spent my 45 minutes in therapy talking about it. I was going to meet her at the Tim Horton’s by my appointment. I chose the place because I wanted to have spent that hour beforehand taking it out with my therapist. She was late, which made the anticipation of the upcoming break up awful. When she got there she ordered a drink and sat down across from me on the uncomfortable stool at the ridiculously high round table I had chosen by the window. I let her do the talking, having nothing to add myself. After all, this was her schtick, not mine. I would have carried on for years with her outwardly hating me and me desperate for her love and approval. What can I say, I have a knack for this kind of stuff.

She used words I can only assume she got in her own prep therapy sessions on how to end our friendship. Words like “disengage”. And I’ll be honest, even in my moment of pain at her ending our friendship I paused and thought “did she just say ‘disengage’?” – and immediately pictured Picard comedically yelling “DISENGAGE” from his enormous chair on the bridge of the USS-Enterprise-D.

Although this came as no surprise, it stung badly, and I ran away sobbing after quickly “disengaging” form the situation by excusing myself to exit the building. I’m not sure when I knew. I certainly knew before the day she told me. I had been talking about it for the last few months with others before that fateful day. But let’s be honest, I had known for years. There was always a feeling of dread that accompanied our friendship. I could always tell that she wasn’t completely committed to me as her friend. She looked at me with such disdain so often, worse was when she looked at me with pity and regret. A look that rang with loud undertones of wishing she had never met me in the first place. 

We were friends for 6 years. And in that 6 years I always wondered why she hated me so much. 

She was my best friend.

I was not her’s.

I’ll admit that I am a high maintenance friend. I’m a loud talker, a complainer by nature and a chronic interrupter. I have baggage, so so much baggage. I have ADHD, Anxiety and BPD. None of which make it easier to be my friend. I’m emotionally irrational at times and way too sensitive most of the time. I take too many things personally and I too can be cruel when given the opportunity. However at the time we met I wasn’t going through any of the REALLY heavy shit that was about to hit the fan yet, and I was relatively stable. In fact (at the time) I was going through my most stable and happy time in my life. I had just had my third child and was spending most of my time at the parenting centre (that we met at) just hanging out and enjoying life. All my kids were happy and healthy and I still had a job to return to after maternity leave. It was a time in my life that I can sincerely say I was at my most authentic. At least most authentically happy. Relaxed and grateful and without heavy burdens, I could talk easily about my interests and goals. In fact I was interesting! I was creative, I had energy (albeit limited by being the mother of a young baby), I was easy going and I was fun. She had the loudest laugh I had ever heard and a fierceness to her that I fell into with both envy and adoration. She made me laugh, God was she funny. She caused me to question anything and everything. She was the part of my youth that I skipped when I had a baby at 17. She was mischief and brutality, she was excitement and beauty. She was brave in ways I had yet to witness and she made me feel more alive when I was with her. 

I fell in love with her. 

To me she was one of the coolest people I had ever met. She was a photographer and a musician. A feminist and an advocat for anyone who was in a minority. She taught me about strength and independence in a way that I had never known before. She educated me on white privledge and truism. She inspired me to learn about politics, to listen and read about the World today. To look at the world through clearer eyes so that I may see it for the first time in a way I had never seen it before. I can never know for sure, but I can only guess that I offered her a younger version of herself, and someone who looked up to her and idolized her. Someone who had lived a very similar damaged upbringing and whose damage still hung there like a coffee stain in a favourite shirt that you wear anyway.

I was a clean slate. A slate on which she and I could create the image of what I should be. I made her laugh and I drank in everything she said and did. The undying flattery I offered up to her perhaps gave me a small place within her heart. Though I’m not quite sure if she ever liked me, she did love me I think, in a dysfunctional way. It’s hard to know for sure because she was as cruel to me as she was kind.

She could never have known what was to come, neither could I.

As soon as we had established a strong bond – my life began to unravel. About 2 years into our growing friendship I ended a friendship with my then best friend, I had a new baby (my fourth), just bought our first house and my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. My second eldest had been showing signs of being more than just a “Spirited Child” (if not for my efforts at buying every single book that would/could/should diagnose her otherwise). Obsessive by nature I started to research any and all potential reasons for Bean acting out in the way she was. 

My friend was unimpressed and most definitely uninterested.

Every time we spoke I wanted to discuss my findings. I wanted to understand what was going on and avoid thinking about my sister who I was ridiculously worried about. I was convinced Bean had ADHD and determined to get her assessed and in some sort of therapy to help us with the challenges of parenting a child that was “more”. My friend poo pooed my efforts with things like “labels are bad”. She rolled her eyes when I wanted to chat about it and even more so when I expressed concern about my kiddo. I noticed, and I tried to hold back and I tried to open the conversations to things going on with her. But it wasn’t just that she didn’t want to talk about me, she didn’t seem to want to talk about herself either. I spent most of our friendship wondering if I talked too much (I probably did), wondering if I was interesting (still up for debate) and I constantly felt as if I was taking advantage of her, or too clingy, or too open, or even too weird (ask me about the time I changed my baby’s name over and over again…). The more I tried to chip away at her wall, the more it grew. It left us with nothing to say to each other, nothing personal or substantial to a close friendship. She didn’t care for my life and my struggles and she didn’t like or trust me enough to care to talk about her’s.

I second guessed every move I made and prepped myself before every visit to remember not to talk about subjects she wouldn’t like or might mock me about. Some visits were so obviously awkward and uncomfortable that even I sometimes considered if it was time to break ties. She began to bore me, and I can only assume I had been boring her for years. I was never quite worth the trouble or worth the time. One might ask themselves why she bothered at all? I was definitely the weak one in the relationship, she could have easily broken my heart at any time. Maybe that was the power I carried. The power of an easily broken heart. In my darkest moments, when I went through my nervous breakdown shortly after Bear’s T1D diagnosis, I considered dark things and expressed them to her. Maybe it was at that moment that she decided she could no longer be my friend. And though that is fair, of course it’s fair, it doesn’t explain the previous years of insidious cruelty she acted out upon me. When we were out with friends, even very early in our friendship, she mocked me openly at every turn and even when we were alone she always had the incredible ability to assure me that I was uneducated and naive. Probably she wasn’t all wrong. I’m sure she wasn’t.

She was the friend that doubted my worry at Bear’s increasing issues with pee accidents and his change in personality. I’m sure I know why, because at first I related it to ASD. She hated my fixation with ASD, especially my need to write about it and openly publicize it in my blog. Exposing myself and my kids in this way lost a lot of respect from her. I can only guess that she felt I was victimizing myself and romanticising the condition. In truth I was in a way. I was also worried, and interested. I was also struggling with what this meant for my child and what it would mean for me as a parent. 

I wanted to talk about it. To reach out to those that understood. But my worries, my valid issues and need to relate to others, were trumped by her critiques of me. In the end, I suspect that to her, all I was was an obsessive attention seeker with a need to expose my children for my own benefits. 

Today a mutual friend of ours posted a photograph to Instagram that my ex friend had taken, and I decided to check out the ex-friend’s page. I wondered if she had ever posted any of the photography I had done for her. In fact she had. And though she always prided herself with being a morally sound photographer who asked people before she took their pictures and never posted anything without permission, she did not credit me to these photographs. I assume she never thought I would see them since we had blocked each other from each other’s profiles long ago. Alas, I have multiple accounts and was able to access it through the account I was on when I was scrolling my Instagram. I wasn’t angry, but I also wasn’t having it. In the first time in years, I contacted her and called her out on it. She apologized and said she had removed the images, which in my opinion was a bit extreme and unnecessary.  After all, all I asked for was recognition. Her crediting me my work did not mean we were now best friends again. Seriously, I just wanted credit on my photographs that were clearly being liked by a large audience. But hey, deleting them worked too I guess.  

After our brief communication about the photographs I decided to write her again. This time I sent her an email detailing my feelings about our past friendship and our “break up”. It may seem trite, or pathetic even, that I chose to do this, but – like the steps an alcoholic takes after they quit drinking, this was something I felt I needed to do to move on. Something I felt she needed to know. 

That she never fooled me. 

That she wasn’t a very good friend to me and that I always knew she didn’t respect me.

That despite it all, I loved her anyway. 

That there was a lot of good that I gained from our relationship. 

That I didn’t ever regret it, any of it. Even the end.

That even through her obvious dislike of me, she inadvertently caused me to love myself better. She caused me to question why she treated me that way and whether I would ever allow anyone else to do the same.

And I did learn to love myself better. I learned that just because someone thinks you aren’t worth the trouble, doesn’t mean you aren’t. I learned that it’s ok to talk about your struggles and even to expose them. Because it’s also ok to want the world to know. It’s ok to search out others like you. I learned that even bad relationships have worth if you can find the worth in yourself. I learned that you can love someone so much, and that doesn’t mean they’ll love you back. But more than that I learned that I can be ok with that, I can move on without regretting any love I gave even when I was alone in it.

Perhaps her best lesson to me was that life is too long and too short to carry grudges.

I walked away from her sobbing, yet still I was a stronger, more independent and more confident person just seconds after she said goodbye. The best thing she ever did for me, though it might have been selfishly motivated, was to end our relationship.

What she saw as a weakness in me might actually have been strength. Maybe loving someone anyway, through their shit, isn’t always the wrong move. Maybe it means that my heart is forgiving, and kind. Maybe it means that I am a good friend and that my heart isn’t so easily broken after all.

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Filed under ADHD, Borderline Personality Disorder, Friendship, General Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, strength

BPD, what it is – and what it isn’t.

 

Recently I have been involved in a study that is attempting to prove that BPD is a genetic condition. In this study I have participated in very thorough testing.

I am so lucky to have been able to be a big part of a study that is *this* close to proving the genetic link to BPD. It’s a remarkable study and after being a part of it and seeing the results, not only mine but of other anonymous participants in the study, I am quite convinced that there is in fact a genetic link to BPD. I was shown random anonymous results laid atop my results. Those with BPD all fell within the same marks along the graphs. The fact that no matter how much therapy these people had did nothing to change these particular markers in those with diagnosed BPD is a clear sign (to me and the people conducting the study) that the brain of a person with BPD is actually, and simply, formed differently than those without BPD. Just as those on the Autism Spectrum have diffrent  neurology than people who are neurotypical. 

How then was I so easily misdiagnosed with the conditions of Asperger’s you might be asking yourself. Well as mentioned, AS/ADHD and BPD/GAD are all very similar to one and other and often co-morbid to one and other as well. It was as easy to get diagnosed with AS as it is to get diagnosed with AS instead of BPD – and vice versa. It was also easy to convince myself that I had Asperger’s (like Bean). 

For instance, I am hyper organized and have high anxiety when things are out of place, I have trouble with changes in routine and am not terribly affectionate or even empathetic – all traits I thought were a sure sign that I too had AS. But, as you can see from the (outdated) diagram below – are just as easily BPD traits.

Both AS and BPD could be argued as conditions that both cause emotional instability, however people with Autism are only ‘out of control’ of their emotional reactions when their environment proves difficult – as in disorder, private items touched, lack of personal space, overwhelming noise/actions…
People with BPD have intense reactions to what other people may consider trivial because the reaction is stemming from inner (and constant) mistrust, anxiety, fear and anger that runs much deeper than whatever may have just happened in that moment to cause them to explode. These fears and anxiety are constant – running through my brain every second of every day. They quickly turn to anger to protect myself from any vulnerabilty. 

http://www.bpddemystified.com/home/about-this-website/

These thoughts can quickly bring me to a feeling of being overwhelmed and suffocating. I begin to unravel fast, as anxiety takes hold so too the anger comes up like a shield, protecting me. Anger is easier for me than saying “I’m hurt, I feel overwhelmed, forgotten, burnt out, please help”. 

I’m always living on the edge between love and hate for myself and for others.

 

Any little thing can trigger someone who already has their gun cocked and ready to go. 

I have been in the DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) program for 6 months now. Once a week I attend group session for two hours and have a one hour session with my individual therapist. In DBT you are taught skills to manage when you are in “emotion mind” (a place that does not include logical thinking…as you can imagine). You learn to cope better, to apply skills to your life that will (hopefully) keep your vulnerabilty factor from overflowing, and even better – at a low. Luckily for me, with my drive to offer my children and my husband a more fulfilling life, a more loving me, I’m happy to say it is working. 
 
And I as I scratch at the un erasable self inflicted burn scars on my arms that itch whenever I’m anxious, whenever I’m tense, a real hope for the future, a healthy and happy future, is born within me. 
 
For the first time I can see myself as someone a little less unravelled.

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Filed under ADHD, Asperger's, Borderline Personality Disorder, diagnosed, General Anxiety Disorder, Mental illness, Uncategorized

My not so “Sweet Sixteen”

When I was 16 my mother, who had been, by her own accord absent from my life since I was 9 – decided to come back into my life. I immediately knew something was amuck. What her plan was I couldn’t be clear on except that I was certain the end result would leave me in pain…

I was right.

She became quite involved in my life for the next year. She visited with me at my home, something she had sworn she would never do because the city I live in was filled with the FBI and evil anglophones (schizophrenia, go figure), she met my partner at the time, invited me to her home in Montreal with my sister. She had me cut her hair! Which was both strange and nostalgic as I hadn’t been this close to her since my childhood and I was surprised she chanced me messing up her hair or that she trusted me with scissors. She was present enough in my life that when I became pregnant she was able to watch my belly grow and stretch for a short while – and although she didn’t come, she was in my life when I had a shot gun wedding (not my proudest moment).

It was a peculiar time in my life as I was completely overjoyed (in a little kid before their birthday party kind of way) that she was so committed to being my mom again and at the same time completely suspicious of her intentions.

Convinced this was not going to end well, I kept my back up. I stayed on guard. Never sure when ‘it’ would happen – when she would leave again. By the end of my pregnancy and after a year of reconnection that happened during my pregnancy, I had finally begun to trust that her intentions were sincere. Maybe she really did want to be my mom again. To be in my life. I was excited for her to meet her first grandchild, excited that she would be at the birth. Two weeks before Pups was due, 5 months before I was to turn 18, on March 8th, 1997 – International Women’s Day – (of course it had to be a day with some sort of feminist political significance) she packed all the leases from every place she’d ever lived into her backpack and threw herself in front of a subway train – or ‘metro’, if you are from Quebec.

That was 16 years ago. A day does not go by when I don’t think of how much she’s missed. Or how much I miss her. This year, on March 8th (which is never really a celebration of women around the globe for me but instead a reminder of the woman in my life that died that day – on purpose) I did as I always do. I wrote my sister an email, and I updated my status with “today I remember my mother”. But as the days grow closer to my eldest child’s 16th birthday, this anniversary of her death is more than just a memory of her but it is growing into a recognition of how important it is that a girl have a positive and influential woman figure in her life. Not just one from books, but one that you can touch. A real person to guide you, and argue with you, and love you no matter what. One that hugs you tight when times are tough with all the love she can muster, even if you say you hate her.

Even if you really do hate her.

When I was 16 my mother came back into my life and then promptly left it again. Leaving me feeling cheated and hurt, confused and angry.

In two days my child, the child that was in my belly at the time of my mother’s chosen demise, will be 16. In a way I can thank my mom for teaching me what not to be for my child. For teaching me the hard way how much a mother means to a child, even if she is never there. So I must make the most of all my time with my children. Not just because they are my kids, or they have anxiety, or autism or diabetes. But because I am their mother. This isn’t just a title, it’s a responsibility. More than that it is a gift. If these children end up fucked up – I’m pretty sure it’s all on me.

It really is too bad my mother decided to leave this world before her time, she was a really cool lady I’m told by her past friends. She was smart and sexy and neat. A peculiar sort of character that made you want to know her better. I think I would have quite liked her. I also think she would have really liked Pups.

I think she would have liked me too.

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Filed under Borderline Personality Disorder, coming of age, death, funny, strength, Transition

The Diagnonster.

As long as I can remember I have been terrified of becoming ‘like my mother’, or at least becoming like the terrifying part of my mother.

Paranoid Schizophrenic. 

Possible, probable, Borderline Personality Disorder. 

Likely Bipolar.

Narcissist.  

I remember so vividly spending school bus rides sitting alone starring out the window, wondering if I might also be being chased by the FBI or why Conrad Black was in cahoots with my dad. Seems ridiculous in retrospect, but to a 5 year old it was paralyzing. So I avoided seeing a psychiatrist for years. I refused to take the chance I might be told that I was like my mother. Ignorance, in my case, was bliss. Or I tried to convince myself that it was.

Two years into the process of having Bean assessed for ADHD, which turned out to reveal a diagnosis of Asperger’s (and ADHD and GAD) I was struck by how many similarities I had as a child to Bean. I wondered if I too might have a version of AS, perhaps High Functioning Asperger’s? This seemed a reasonable explanation for my quirks, and my outburst, and my cutting. In truth I did internally often struggle with looking strangers in the eye. Phone conversations and physical contact with anyone, stranger or not, were awkward at best. And although to an outsiders point of view I could not be less of an “Aspergian” > the information I knew about Asperger’s pulled at my curiousity, especially because girls with AS present their Asperger’s very differently than their male counterparts. I had to know if my suspicions were valid. At the risk of finally also discovering whether or not I was like my mother in that ‘terrifying’ way or not I finally went in for an assessment.

In the Summer of my 33rd year Dr. #1 diagnosed me with ADHD, General Anxiety Disorder, [a very unsure diagnosis of High Functioning Asperger’s based on the “proof” I brought in] and Borderline Personality Disorder. I had no idea what BPD was so I decided to ignore that one and concentrate on the Aspeger’s diagnosis that I was really there to get.

There. To. Get.

I wanted to pursue the AS diagnosis further, especially as Dr. #1  seemed to have his hand forced a bit by me when I fed him the info about why I was sure I had  it. I requested a second assessment be done with an expert on Asperger’s. Dr #1 conceded.

In the Fall of my 33rd year I was re-diagnosed by Dr JJJ with high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome and Bipolar 2 Disorder as well as traits of ADHD.

The new Psychiatrist, Dr JJJ, listened to me carefully about the similarities between Bean and I. About my rigid need for routines and my insatiable appetite for control. While I spoke, I starred at my feet. I couldn’t stop my right foot from shaking, nor could I simply place my hands calmly on my lap. Instead I stuffed my hands together between my crossed legs. I talked about how I often think people should see things my way, think like me, and how frustrated I always get when they don’t. Especially people who are closest to me.

While I spoke I periodically glanced around the room. A tiny wooden plaque with an engravement read something to the effect of: “Expert on Schizophrenia“.

Shit, really, eh?

I explained how hard it is to understand that my Hub might not agree with me, or comprehend things the way I do and how angry and frustrated that makes me.

In the end the “symptoms” that I did reveal to Dr JJJ (needs for routine and control, discomfort in social situations, never having a best friend) just barely slid me by for the result of a diagnosis of “High Functioning Asperger’s”. 

This didn’t sit well with me, this second diagnosis by Dr. JJJ. I knew little to nothing about BPD because it scared me to learn anything at all about it – but I knew deep down that it held a huge, if not instrumental part of the puzzle for me. I knew that there must be some connection between the ASD diagnosis and the BPD one. I couldn’t get past the fact that Dr JJJ’s diagnosis of me having Bipolar 2 was mainly due to the fact that I was chatty and my nails were painted red. A red flag for me after a psychiatrist, seeing Bean, decided off the cuff to informally diagnose Bear (who was 2 years old at the time) with ADHD. I repeat, He. Was. Two. 

I shit you not.

Dr. JJJ even put that in his formal diagnosis letter! “wore red”. Seriously.

I couldn’t really take this guy seriously.

After all, it wasn’t too long ago that *they* (professionals in the field of psychiatry) misdiagnosed Asperger’s as Schizophrenia! I am not kidding.

Furthermore, I really didn’t want to be diagnosed with Asperger’s simply because I thought I had it. Simply because I wanted to have it. I felt strongly that although my arguements were compelling to prove the case that I did have ASD, I also felt that I was manipulating the Psychiatrists I had been seeing to think I did too. I needed to be sure that I was right. I needed to know if I really did have Bipolar 2 or maybe ASD (if in fact that was the case), or BPD or GAD…or anything! 

I made the decision to go back and see Dr. #1. He had been the only person, thus far, who had appeared to be truly honest and invested in my well being. The very first time – before Dr. JJJ had ever seen me, Dr.#1 had prescribed me Zoloft at night and Wellbutrin in the morning to ease my anxiety. It worked, but then it started to stop working, or at least it wasn’t working as well. What he also prescribed me to do was to see a therapist, exercise and take time to myself, to eat better and not to smoke.  Unfortunately I never did any of those things. In fact as soon as the meds started to stop working I became stressed and started eating more fast foods and smoking more often. I never saw a therapist because I couldn’t find one on OHIP. And exercise? Well that’s hard for everybody, right? When Dr JJJ told me that the Zoloft wasn’t working because I actually had Bipolar 2, I believed him without taking into account that I had never implemented any of the other necessary natural therapies to my life that would also help me ease my anxiety. So I stopped taking Zoloft as Dr. JJJ suggested I should. That was a mistake.

Firstly I should never have stopped. Secondly I had no idea how to wean myself off of it. 

Thinking that would be easy since I never considered myself “addicted” I decided to quit cold turkey. Ever see someone go through withdrawal symptoms on tv or in a movie? Yup, that was me. Ok, so maybe not that bad – and I certainly wasn’t drooling. But it was pretty bad, including – but not limited to – hot flashes, cold sweats, nausea, panic, disorientation and emotional breakdowns. So I started taking it again, but half the dose. I wasn’t having cold sweats or feeling nauseous anymore but I was THE biggest asshole anyone had ever met. More than that I didn’t want to be touched, by anyone, including my kids. I didn’t want to be around anyone. I was so angry. I wasn’t myself. Although I could see it all much like Scrooge watching himself as a child with the ghost of Christmas past, I couldn’t change it. I couldn’t stop. Hub didn’t know what to do. He shielded the children from my nastiness, he put himself in the front lines to take all the abuse. I lasted two weeks this way and then called for an appointment to see Dr #1.

Dr. #1 explained that if I had Bipolar 2 I would have a very noticeable and manic reaction when I returned on to the Zoloft after being off of it and that my intense reaction when I was off it was a result of not weaning myself off it correctly. He told me that I do not have Bipolar 2. He also explained that what I had was a nervous breakdown triggered not only by my life stressers but also and especially because of quitting my meds cold turkey.

I inhaled. I exhaled.

I was starting to feel confident that I was finally being diagnosed correctly. What he said made sense from a scientific point of view. If I had Bipolar 2 my body chemicals would have reacted differently with the medication – this is a fact. This was something I could hold on to and understand. He also told me that *I do* have Borderline Personality Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder,  Major Depressive Disorder, and, yes, I do still have ADHD. But did I have Asperger’s? I needed to know.

We went through the criteria, and the print outs, and the differences between ASD in men and women. I tried to make sure I was being honest to my full extent about my symptoms and lack there of. The problem was, was I being honest with myself?

Yes, I sometimes feel stressed and anxious and uncomfortable when out in social situations but I am capable of retaining my composure, being extroverted and yes, even looking others in the eye. Till I get home, at which time I turn into the Incredible Hulk. That is to say, I am often incredibly irate and easily triggered into an adult temper tantrum (especially if there is a sudden change in routine, which is a common occurrence since the 5 individuals I live with, if you can believe it, who do not follow my exact instructions!). It is at the moment I enter my home and am with my most cherished loved ones, the people I feel safest with, that I no longer am able to keep my anxiety at bay. I was emotionally unstable. I had sensory issues. My anxiety would fly through the roof. It wasn’t always this way, but after my period of severe withdrawal I broke a little. Actually I broke a lot. All I wanted to do was be alone. My family members were suffering because of it; I was too. It is this very reason, the way I was feeling and acting that pushed me to pursue an assessment, a diagnosis even.

Dr #1 and I spoke in length about Asperger’s, but specifically about Asperger’s in women. I showed him a couple of print outs I had from a site that was thorough in its detailed distinctions between AS in girls compared to AS in boys (www.help4aspergers.com). I explained that one of the reasons I had been so sure of myself having Asperger’s (other than seeing so many similarities between Bean and myself) was because when I read the print outs – every one (but two) of the criteria applied to me, or at least I could relate. Though this may be true, we still had to agree that I did not have Asperger’s. My traits and symptoms did match up on paper to the criteria of Asperger’s in women, but I also matched up with the criteria of Borderline Personality Disorder. What’s more, the criteria for BPD was much more accurate in defining what I had been dealing with since adolescense. Often times many mental conditions have similar criteria and are sometimes hard to differentiate from one and other. In this case, my BPD and Bean’s Asperger’s looked a lot alike and my incorrect self assesment was innocent enough.

 Bean, who is chatty and hyperactive and loud, was originally diagnosed at age 5 with ADHD (. Just ADHD. Not unusual for people (particularly girls) with Asperger’s as the symptoms are very similar). At age 8 she was re-diagnosed (some might say properly diagnosed – me > I would say that) with Asperger’s, GAD and ADHD. Also not unusual to be diagnosed at age 8 (unusual for girls, mind you, who are typically diagnosed in adulthood after a lifetime of struggle and confusion).

So I now know that I do not have ASD. Maybe more than believing I had AS, I wanted it to be so. I wanted to stand with Bean, united. So that I could say “me too” and take the spot light off her and on to me. So that I could get over any shame I might have and come to terms with something that is not in the least a “bad thing”. Not a “disorder”, not an “illness”, not a “disease”, but a way of being.

I’m taking it all in.
So here we are, a couple of months into our newfound knowledge about parts of ourselves that I suppose have always been there. At this point we are trying to sort out what all this means. I think to myself, If I suddenly discovered I was a diabetic, I would want to know, right? I would want to learn what that meant to me, what it meant to be a diabetic. I would want to start on a path of accessing resources, medication. I wouldn’t just dismiss it as a “part of me now” but would instead attempt to guide myself out of likely malefic situations. I would seek to protect myself and live as well as I could.

So Bean and I move forward with the diagnoses. Pulling with us the rest of the Fantastic Four and the Hub, whether they like it or not. We are aware that medication for Bean’s ADHD could conceivably help her to better concentrate at school and remove many of the current outburst she has daily from our lives. But we have decided not to medicate Bean. Hub and I have decided that we will try to work with therapy and peer groups before we resort to anything chemical. She is held well enough together at school and with others that we don’t feel she requires meds. The possible side effects such as insomnia and lack of appetite would be detrimental to Bean. She is *maybe* 50lbs soaking wet (age 8 remember) and has suffered “night terrors” since she was 4, with them only just starting to go away this year.

I’ll admit it, I’m still racking my brain at my diagnosis of BPD. I don’t know much about it except that I can be emotionally unstable and impulsive. That I have trouble with physical contact and that I may (or may not) have issues with control…

In the meantime, while I learn more about it I *am* medicating.

With the combined diagnosis of BPD, GAD, MDD and ADHD and at my age, after so many years I have just not developed the skill set to just “be cool” when someone changes my routine or threatens the things I find important to me. The hope is to find some therapy that will teach me those skills. Meanwhile, do not step into my boundary bubble please unless I gave birth to you.

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Filed under ADHD, Asperger's, Aspergirls, Aspie raising an Aspie, Borderline Personality Disorder, diagnosed, girls versus boys