Living with a mental health condition can be really difficult, especially if you’re trying to manage it alone. It can be a really confusing and daunting thing trying to work out what all your feelings and emotions mean. You might have done some research on what you’re going through and found that borderline personality disorder (BPD) seems to fit you quite well. Googling any health related symptom is always treacherous as you can end up with anything from just a cold to full blown COVID. The internet is a scary place.
However, now that you’ve Googled your feelings/emotions and BPD has come up, you might be afraid to ask for help because you think professionals won’t listen or they won’t understand. And that’s OK to think that. Going to your doctor for anything is always a bit nerve wracking, especially now that you have to explain your symptoms over the phone in great detail.
I was really afraid when I was Googling my severe mood swings and ‘crying all the time’ and lots of different things came up. I knew I’d been feeling really down for a while and was told it was depression. But I had that niggling feeling in my stomach that it wasn’t just that. You might have had this too and guess what? You’re the expert of your own body so if you think something’s not quite right, question it.
Below are five things that I did when I suspected that BPD might be what I was experiencing. Please note: I’m not a medical professional and this set of tips are just a few things I learned along the way.
1.Do a bit of research
Look at the ‘Mind‘, ‘Mental Health Foundation‘ or ‘NHS‘ websites and read more about BPD; what it is, what the symptoms are and what treatment is available to you. These websites are full of great resources and information that is accurate. Be careful looking at other websites that maybe aren’t official like these. There are different interpretations of BPD and some quite negative articles out there so avoid these if you can.
2. List the 9 traits/symptoms and give an example for each if it applies to you
In order to be diagnosed with BPD, you need to meet five or more of the nine DSM-5 criteria. They need to have lasted for a long time or impacted your life:
- Fear of being abandoned
- Very intense, sometimes fast changing moods
- A lack of identity
- You find keeping stable relationships difficult
- You feel empty
- You act impulsively
- You often self harm
- You feel intense anger
- You have paranoia/dissociate
If some of the above apply, write down examples of how this has affected you and what behaviour you showed
3.Make an appointment to speak to your doctor
If you’ve got your list and these things have really been affecting your life, call your doctor for an appointment. When asked what you want an appointment for, just tell them that you’re struggling with your mental health and need to speak to someone about it. This information will only be used for the doctor so they know when they ring and speak to you what the call will be about.
4.Note down anything in particular that’s been affecting you
When I went to see my doctor, my main concern was that I couldn’t stop crying. I had intrusive thoughts and just didn’t want to get up in the morning. Other times, I’d be in a hyper mood and there was no stopping me. I noted these instances down as these were the main things troubling me. I would recommend doing this so that you have a note in front of you of what you want to say and what points you want to get across.
5.Have a family member/friend with you for support
Doing something like this can be pretty intimidating and sometimes, our instinct is to try and do it alone. I did this for years and realised that it was actually making me feel worse, hiding all my feelings until I exploded. As many doctors aren’t seeing patients face to face, have a family member/friend with you when you make the call. You can put the phone on loudspeaker if you want them to feed into what you’re saying or, you can just have them there to hold your hand. Either way, it’s up to you.
As I said, these are just a few tips from my own experience that I hope will help with yours. I talk a lot about my experiences over on Instagram so please come and say hi! @justasquarepegblog