Over the last ten years, since first becoming ill, I’ve encountered a variety of psychiatrists along the way and one of the diagnoses I received was that of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Upon receiving that diagnosis, I researched all that I could about the disorder, and everything seemed to fit for me. The fear of abandonment, the intense moods, a history of unstable relationships…the list goes on. I underwent many therapies designed to treat BPD including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) which provided me with many skills to help me manage my condition. These types of therapies required a great deal of energy and commitment, along with working hard to incorporate the new skills into my life and it wasn’t easy.
During this ten-year period, I also experienced a great deal of personal stress that sometimes hindered my learning and I experienced setbacks along the way. There were times that I was frustrated and felt like I was going backwards and I wanted to give up. It seemed like it was too hard and that the world was against me. Yet, I persevered.
Yesterday, I had an appointment with my current psychiatrist and our conversation turned to my diagnosis of BPD. I was surprised to hear him say that he didn’t believe that I had BPD. Say what??? This revelation of his floored me at first because for 10 years I had identified with this diagnosis and suddenly he was telling me it wasn’t me. Did this mean that I never had it? What were the last ten years about then?
After seeking support from my peer support group and doing some personal reflection, I’ve come to the following conclusion. I believe that I did, and still do have BPD, but I have come to the point where I am able to successfully manage the symptoms of the illness to the point where I no longer meet the criteria for the disorder. So while I may no longer meet the diagnostic definition for BPD, I will need to ensure that I practice my skills throughout my life so that I effectively manage the condition.
There is hope for recovery when you have a mental illness. Being diagnosed doesn’t become a sentence of despair. With therapy, medications and support, you can effectively manage your symptoms to the point where they no longer impede your ability to lead a productive and successful life. Don’t ever give up on believing that you’re worth fighting for. You deserve recovery.
About Wendy Enberg
My name is Wendy Enberg and I live openly with mental illness. I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I reside near Edmonton, AB. I began sharing my story with others as a way to remove stigma and raise awareness and compassion for people living with mental illness. I started with a Facebook page where I posted inspirational messages. This grew into a blog about living with BPD at where I openly share my struggles and my successes. This wasn't enough. In July of 2014, I co-founded a peer support group in my community for people living with mental illness that provides online and weekly support meetings. Our membership continues to grow each day and we are gaining a presence in the mental health community.