There’s been so much to write about lately. Unfortunately, my mental state has not been very good, which always stands in the way of communicating.
My Mentalization Based Therapy started three weeks ago. I’ve also been attending some courses at the Recovery College; Five ways to Wellbeing, Mindfulness and today I was on a one-day course, Introduction to Personality Disorders.
One thing that comes up quite a lot for me is something I’m not altogether sure I totally agree with. So often, I hear people say things like, “We are not our diagnosis” and “Treat the person and not the diagnosis”. The more knowledgeable person will point out how symptoms of many of the mental disorders tend to overlap, making it difficult to identify an accurate diagnosis.
Today, people were talking about why a diagnosis might not be a positive experience for the individual and how some get different diagnosis, depending on the Psychiatrist assessing them. Of course, I do have experience of all the stereotypical stigmatisation, but I also know the value of finally being diagnosed with something that I can relate too, even recover from.
One of the trainers is very much against labelling people with a diagnosis. What I did notice was how often she referred to her dyslexia as a means of communicating to everyone why her spelling is so bad. She owns that diagnosis as a label and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
For thirteen years, I tried hard to persuade a Psychiatrist to re-assess my diagnosis. My symptoms were not all down to depression and PTSD. There was a need to seek an understanding through labelling. At the time, what I didn’t understand, was that the Doctor was actually treating the person and not a diagnosis.
While I believe ‘treating the person’ is a nice balance to have when working with people with mental health issues, it is not very helpful if someone is trying hard to understand certain “challenging” traits of their own personality.
I’m trying to understand Borderline Personality Disorder and how it applies to my own life. It’s not like some other mental disorders that come and go through phases and episodes. Borderline is present every waking second of our lives, both in our relationship with ourselves and with others. I may well be MORE than my diagnosis, but embracing it is important because it helps me to identify contributory factors to past and present difficulties. How can I recover if I don’t know what I’m recovering from?