Today I’m trying to convince myself that there’s more to me than my diagnoses. But, I’m finding it a struggle. It’s hard to see myself as anything worthwhile when I have had the outcome from my mental health assessment back in early August.
This is who they say I am:
Personality Disorder Specified by Traits or Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. This means that I have a Personality Disorder and am clearly having a number of difficulties in my life as a result of this. Included in this diagnosis are the following traits:
- Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder – unstable and capricious mood; intense and unstable relationships; excessive efforts to avoid abandonment; recurrent threats or acts of self-harm; chronic feelings of emptiness.
- Anxious Avoidant Personality Disorder – persistent, pervasive feelings of tension; feels socially inept and inferior; pre-occupied with criticism or rejection.
- Paranoid Personality Disorder – excessive sensitivity to setbacks and rebuffs; persistent self-referential attitude, associated particularly with excessive self-importance (constantly scanning environment and other peoples emotions/behaviour – looking for ‘danger’); pre-occupation with unsubstantiated ‘conspirational’ explanations of events.
Alongside all of this I have: depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and an eating disorder!
At the moment I’m feeling intense shame and experiencing ‘danger’ of abandonment and being rejected for who I am. This is showing itself physically as pain in my neck and head, and loss of vision in my left eye.
She did say though, that it’s beyond remarkable that I function well. She’s never seen anyone with this mixture of disorder be able to function as well as me.
She said, ‘It is worth paying attention to the fact that despite your clear and present suffering, you have managed to create a relatively stable and well-functioning life. You are able to sustain a marriage and some long-term friendships; you are raising your children safely and lovingly; you have maintained a job over a long time and started your own business and overall are managing to cope with day to day life really well. You have been able to teach yourself a range of DBT skills and put them into practice, which is testimony to both your determination to live differently, but also your ability to apply things that you learn to your life. You are also a highly creative person, who is able to use art and photography as a source of joy and sustenance for you. Your faith clearly also plays an important part in your life and your church family seems to offer a source of support and comfort for you.’
I found this encouraging.
But, I’m left reminded of the quote from Beauty and the Beast, ‘for who could ever learn to love a beast’. Much of the time I feel ashamed of who I am, but all I ever wanted was to love and be loved. Hopefully, the treatment programme that they have offered me will teach me how to love others and myself. Hopefully then I’ll finally be easier to love.
For now, I will put all of my energy into surviving the next few days – by worshiping, reading, talking, writing, painting, being creative, etc.
Please pray for me, think of me, love me, as you feel able.