Recently I sat on a panel of mental health consumers. Our goal was to educate people about mental health through drama and a question-and-answer session. When it came my turn to speak, I said that some mental illnesses were more stigmatized than others, fully knowing this would be controversial. Much to my surprise, I saw several heads nodding in agreement!
More than Borderline
My diagnosis varies, depending on who you believe. I remember one nurse practitioner told me I was too meditative and introverted and must have narcissistic personality disorder--no one backed up that "diagnosis," but it's in my file. I'd love to be able to get it removed. But as a borderline personality disorder patient, I have no right to see my file without my psychiatrist's permission. The same applies to past practitioners' notes. Which leads to an interesting question--should psychiatric patients have the right to see their file?
I'll be honest--normally I hate celebrity "news." But one story recently provoked a lot of strong feelings--Amanda Bynes was tricked into going into a mental health facility. It raises a question: Should parents ever deceive their child to get them psychiatric help?
I'm acting in a play called "Nobody Needs to Know." In one scene, a recovering alcoholic explains that she once thought alcohol--vodka in particular--was the answer to her psychiatric symptoms. When another character asks why it isn't the answer, she gives several reasons why it isn't. Here are three reasons I've learned as to why alcohol isn't the answer to borderline personality disorder (BPD).
I became suicidal while on active duty in the Army. What happened next was a classic example of how not to help a suicidal person.
I spent nine months on the borderline personality disorder (BPD) unit at Larue Carter Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis. At the time, it was the only inpatient unit specializing in schema therapy for BPD in the country. Recently I learned that this unit, which changed and probably saved my life, is now closed. It made me think about what happens to patients when psychiatric hospitals close--it rarely ends well.
I've written about my abuse at the hands of the Antioch movement and my escape. It took a long time before I could attend church again, and the abuse did much to exacerbate my symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD). I had to find what the Bible calls "beauty for ashes." I had to find peace amidst the pain.
Recently I was talking to a volunteer from a domestic violence shelter and I asked if calls had increased since the Ray Rice video was made public. The answer was yes, because awareness was being raised. According to HealthyPlace, women with mental illness are at a greater risk of being abused. So I decided to write about signs of an abusive relationship, how domestic abuse can affect a person with borderline personality disorder (BPD), and the warning signs of an abusive relationship via the Domestic Violence Screening Test.
I am an avid video game player. Recently I discovered Half the Sky Movement: The Game. Based on the book, it educates the player about poverty issues around the world. It's not all sweetness and light--one character is sold into prostitution at age 11, another character has an abusive husband--but it educates the player and offers solutions in the form of charitable gifts. It made me think about offbeat ways people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can educate others about the disease.
I recently read an article about a new class of mental health professionals in Kentucky--licensed pastoral counselors. Due to my negative experience with Christian counseling, I am hesitant, but cautiously optimistic. I can understand both sides of the argument, but here's why I think it's a good idea.