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My story (anonymous)

“Having the incorrect BPD diagnosis stopped me from getting the right support and care for 10 years.”

Content warning: sexual abuse

Author wishes to remain anonymous

I was a troubled teenager. I experienced sexual abuse as a child from a close family member. At 14 I began to have flash backs and to cope with this, alongside struggling at school I began to self harm every day.

I had to leave school, I became very poorly and tried to end my life multiple times. I was also experiencing psychotic symptoms and dissociation and what I now know to be CPTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

I was put into a CAMHs (Child and Adult Mental Health Services) unit for nearly 2 years. I was not diagnosed there I was told I had a mood disorder because my mood fluctuates quite intensely.

I was discharged from hospital aged 17 and in CMH services was seen once by a very cold, unfriendly doctor for a mere 30 minutes who diagnosed me with BPD / EUPD (Borderline Personality Disorder, or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder). This was very damaging. I didn’t know what this was and neither did my mum.

I was made to feel like my troubles were fabricated, and my own fault.

The doctor told my mum to keep it a secret from me, but my mum decided not to. I read about it and absolutely disagreed with the diagnosis. I did meet the criteria in some respects but really didn’t in others. My mum also disagreed with the diagnosis.

Over the years into my young adulthood I suffered extreme mood shifts which I needed treatment for because it caused so much chaos in my life. Because I had BPD on my notes I was treated very badly by any medical staff that had read my notes. I was made to feel petulant, attention seeking and like my troubles were fabricated, self indulgent and my own fault.

I was denied access to specialist MH treatment because I was told they don’t do anything for BPD. I lost hope many times due to severe depressions followed by destructive highs which lead me to dangerous and preventable situations. I was put on anti depressants by the GP which sent me floridly manic with psychosis and I was sectioned and diagnosed with bipolar type 1.

I feel this diagnosis is misogynistic and dehumanising.

I was 27 my life was in pieces I had never held down a job. With my newer diagnosis I felt the attitude towards me change instantly. I was given medication which helped stabilise me and a regular care coordinator who helped me unpack my illness and manage it. I came to see the role of trauma in my behaviour and was diagnosed with CPTSD (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

At aged 29 I was also diagnosed with autism which accounted for many issues I had no words to explain beforehand. Having the incorrect BPD diagnosis stopped me from getting the right support and care for 10 years.

I was treated so poorly by all medical staff who saw it on my notes and the contrast to how I am treated now with different words next to my name is shocking and shows the level of stigma and blame and disdain and overt lack of compassion for, particularly young distressed women, who may be perceived as difficult people.

I feel this diagnosis is misogynistic and dehumanising.

Speak your truth: your own experiences can help create change

If you want to share your experiences around this diagnosis you can take part in Platfform’s Truth Project.

Platfform are campaigning for a review of the use of the diagnosis of PD. Add your voice to our call for change by sharing your story. We will share these with Welsh Government and use them to strengthen our campaign.

For more information, and to access the survey, click here.

If you are in a mental health crisis, please read this paragraph

If you have been affected by anything in this story and would like to talk to someone you can call Samaritans on 116 123. You can also call the national mental health support line for advice on 111 (press 2.)