Disclaimer: This poem DOES NOT mean you shouldn’t go to therapy! In fact, EVERYONE should go to therapy! However, if you think there is even a SLIGHT chance you have a personality disorder, GO TO AN EXPERT. Not a general therapist. Don’t make the same mistake I made 5 times. It took an expert 6 months to fully diagnose what 5+ years of various forms of therapy couldn’t even guess.
If you are a therapist, please read (or scroll) to the end for signs/clues you should know regarding the 9 symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
When it happens 5 times,
You’re pretty sure it’s reality.
You must just be evil.
You must just be broken.
You must just be worthless.
It isn’t a disorder,
That was the fear.
No, not a fear —
That was the reality.
I think I explained it right.
She understood it…right?
She wrote a lot down,
She must have understood. . .
So why did her eyebrows twist that specific way?
So why did her follow-up questions make no sense?
So why did she frown slightly as I left the room?
I tried to explain it…
…but how can you explain?
How can you explain it…
when the reality is slipping away
as you open your mouth to speak.
Borderline is smart.
Borderline will hide.
Borderline loves games.
To be exact.
One day my poetry will explain it,
In a way speaking never could.
One day my poetry will reach out,
In a way that others can see themselves.
One day my poetry will teach them,
In a way they can express it to their therapists.
I will be able to explain it all in plain language,
In language both BPD and nonBPD will align to,
So a mutual understanding can grow,
And stigmatism will die.
But until that day:
“After careful examination,
I am prepared to give you
A full diagnosis.”
Here it is.
So many hours,
Trying to sort through,
Trying to convey my experience.
Trying to speak my thoughts,
As impossible as it was.
All leading up to this:
“Major Depressive Disorder…”
Well yes, I’ve wanted to die…
Since before I can remember.
You would have to be blind,
to not realize I’m depressed,
most of the time.
“And. . .”
Say it, I dare you —
Call me by name!
Please, please, please.
Give me a name for this,
Make it be real.
“…Generalized Anxiety Disorder,
due to strict religious upbringing.”
Ha! Another one.
Feel stupid now,
I told you, it wasn’t true.
I told you, you’re fine.
I told you, this is normal.
This is the human experience.
I have Major Depressive Disorder
It was caused by a normal,
I’ll take mood suppressants,
I’ll go to talk therapy,
I’ll be fine.
There’s nothing else going on here.
Author’s Note: Even as I thought those last words, I knew it wasn’t true. I understood I had Depressive episodes and felt anxious plenty of times, but I knew there was something else. I even told therapists there was something else going on. Too many of my symptoms had nothing to do with the mood disorders they diagnosed me with.
No one listened.
No one saw.
No one believed.
Obvious BPD Signs / Clues I Told My Therapists
I realize I have anger towards my first 5 therapists. This is something I will have to work on. I do not mean to blame them, but my psychiatrist agreed these quotes should have at least made them consider a PD and ask many solid follow-up questions.
“I have no long-term memories of certain ages, is that normal?”
“Well, I remember being an evil child, haha! No joke tho — I did super manipulative, evil, type shit and I was like 7 years old.”
“I always feel like there’s something not right…something nagging…something unsettled.”
“No, I don’t have a history of bad relationships! All of my close friends are loyal, loving, and supportive.” [Therapists, please tell me you realize what the clue is in this quote. As a Borderline person, if someone said this to me, I would recognize the purpose of it immediately.]
“I have no idea who I really am — haha it all depends on the day! I’m just living life, see what happens.”
“No, it’s not a voice. It isn’t a voice in my head. It’s…not that. I’m not hearing voices.”
[At least in my case, Borderline DOES NOT and NEVER HAS “sounded like a voice” in my head. This is one of the reasons why I didn’t think I had it when I randomly looked up every mental disorder in existence to try and figure out what was wrong with me! You know what I thought about personality disorders?]
“Wow, those people are crazy. I’m so glad I don’t have a personality disorder!”
PLEASE — If you are a therapist and one of your clients says something on the above list, look back in your notes to see if there are other signs/clues for a personality disorder. You may have written random BPD red flags down, but didn’t originally see how the symptoms connected.
Re-read your notes. THINK DIFFERENTLY as you re-read them. Think differently than a normal person, look for any signs of a slight manipulation as the person is speaking. Look for any “Freudian slips” or other sudden corrections! Watch for metaphorical reasoning followed by a quick switch in conversation. Ask yourself, why? Why are they either successfully or attempting to distract you from your questions? How often do they do this? Is it every session?
Often, when I was trying to explain a BPD symptom, new delusions would appear to prevent me. The memory of my symptoms would vanish and my mind/speech would be forced down a different path instead. One without amnesia walls in the way. Outside of my mind, this came out as lies, jokes, manipulations, etc. but they always had a clue. It’s your job to figure out those clues and pieces them together.
If there is a possible personality disorder, PLEASE refer your patient to a mental health professional who specializes in differentiating between mood disorders and personality disorders.