Thursday, 9 April 2015

7 Days of BPD - Day Four: Q&A with Claire Hill


1. Did you realise you had symptoms of BPD before being diagnosed with it? No, to be honest I had never heard of the diagnosis of BPD before. 
2. How did your diagnosis come about? Unfortunately, my health deteriorated. I had planned my own suicide the morning before work, my partner worked out my plan and took me to an emergency appointment with my GP. I voluntarily entered a psychiatric ward for what I thought was a day. Sadly was I wasn't allowed to leave until 2 weeks later. I was seen by a doctor and after a few meetings I was then diagnosed with BPD. This was hard to understand and to hear, as from the age of 15 I had been treated for depression. I felt alone and confused I had no idea what it meant or how I could be treated. 
3. What is your understanding of BPD?
I'm not sure how to place that into words, it's a condition where it's difficult to cope with all emotions. (How I kinda see it)
4. Have you always agreed with your diagnosis? If not, why not? Yes it explains all my history of mental health, and explains all my struggles.
5. What do your family, friends or loved ones think of your diagnosis? My parents had a really tough time understanding the diagnoses. They were really concerned thinking I had been sexually abused as a child. However this is not the case. My parents thought they had done wrong by me, with my bringing up. This has been difficult to watch them worry over, but with support from a group they attend in the north east they have stopped blaming themselves and understand it's a 'problem' with the brain. Due to all the reading my mam is sure she has traits of BPD, and this has helped her understand her mental health too. 
My partner has be amazing and so supportive. He has a tough time and has done even before I was diagnosed but he has much more of an understanding why I am the way I am. My best friend is the same, she attends A&E with me on tough days and is always there when I need her. In reality I'm lucky I have such a good support group, but it's not always easy to see that.
6. What treatment have you been offered for BPD? I'm on a waiting list for another dialectical behaviour therapy course. I'm currently seeing a psychologist, my CPN and my medication.
7. What treatment do you have or have you had? E.g. therapy, medication etc. I've undertaken a DBT course which lasted 7 months 2 hours a week. I'm currently taking 300mg of quetiapine and 225mg of venlafaxine. 
8. Which symptoms of BPD do you have? Taken from (Mind)
I have emotions that are up and down (for example, feeling confident one day and feeling despair another), with feelings of emptiness and often anger
I find it difficult to make and maintain relationships, friendships are the worst! 
I have an unstable sense of identity, such as thinking differently about yourself depending on who you are with.
I harm myself or think about harming yourself (for example, cutting yourself or overdosing)
I'm fear being abandoned or rejected or being alone
 And sometimes I  believe in things that are not real or true (called delusions) -dinosaurs :(
9. Can you describe what they’re like?
A 'roller coaster,' friendships are so difficult to keep, I struggle with splitting, same with family. It's horrible and puts loved ones in really difficult situations. When I'm at my worst I believe dinosaurs are coming to get me and take me away. 
I've mentioned how I struggle with my identity I change when I'm around people and my partner struggles to understand who I am. I'm just starting to learn about my emotions and finally label them. The best way to explain this is by comparing me to a 3 year old. I'm confused by what I feel.
10. Which do you feel is worse, and why?
I think that it's SH has been ongoing since I was 15, and splitting. It's caused problems in my career and my social life.
11. How are you treat by mental health professionals? Very well, my group of MH are excellent :) I really couldn't fault them now after a change of CPN.
12. Do you feel they treat you differently to service users with other diagnosis? I'm not sure to be honest, a lot of people I know state the professionals see 'us bpders' as attention seeking. I think SPA does when you call and you need the extra support on an evening, they seem very quick to judge and pass you off.
13. Have you had any bad experiences of mental health services? My previous CPN gave me conflicting advice, the police hand cuffing me and dragging me out my house like I'm some sort of terrorist or evil person. Past boyfriends and jobs not understanding or supporting me.
14. What has been your best experience? My 'former' therapist Matt has been amazing, he's really opened my eyes to why I am the way I am.
15. Do you have any advice for others with BPD? Read everything possible, ask as many questions and please don't feel like you're alone. 
16. What or who has helped you the most and how? My partner and family/friends as mentioned above. And I think the correct medication. Also having a CPN who understands what BPD and can help use DBT.
17. Is there anything you wish you’d known when you first began your journey? That I'm not alone, I felt so lost and lonely when I was DX. There are other people out there who have similar experiences.
18. Do you have any regrets of things you’ve done because of BPD e.g. self-harm etc? I disassociate quite a lot so I have very little memories of my past experiences. I think putting my loved ones through tough times. 
19. Is there anything you think should be improved in mental health services? Yes, more people working in MH and more people who fully have a good understanding of what bpd is. MH needs more funding.
20. Have you had experience of being in a medical hospital since your BPD diagnosis? Was it different to before your diagnosis? No
21. Why did you begin blogging? I tried but as I've said I'm not good with words, and I gave up sadly. 
22. What affect has it had on your life? I'm still negative about BPD I think it ruins my life when it gets the chance. I don't like to admit it's a part of me. 
23. Have you ever been admitted to a psychiatric ward? If so, what was your experience like? As mentioned above, I went in voluntary. I had never been in psychiatric ward before. I was really scared to start with but after a few days I found my ground and made some friends.
24. What do you like to do in your spare time? E.g. career/education and hobbies/interests. I'm a childcare lecturer at college, I struggle to entertain myself, I have no hobbies and my job is my life. I'm really confused when it comes to who I am - as I really don't know outside of my job.
25. Is there any last thing you’d like to say?
Aimee is an inspiration and she makes your realise there is hope and help which can get us slowly back on the right path.