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Frustration tango

Hi. I have been a mess most of my life. I spent entirely too long living with mental illness without going for help. Anyway when I was about 21, I was diagnosed with major clinical depression. I felt a bizarre sense of relief knowing that there really was something wrong with me.

So I've been dealing with it for 32 years now. There have been periods of strength and periods of absolute despair. I've been hospitalized 3 times over the years, but nothing worse than a 3 day hold. These days I am still struggling but fairly stable, although I am in a very hopeless place. Kind of feels like after all this time I'm still right where I started.

However I am currently a caregiver for my father and so I am living in service and that is a game changer. I have no fear about the near future as I have someone who is relying on me and I have no choice but to be there. (Well I do have a choice... but I'm making the compassionate, selfless choice). The time I am spending with him is precious (although emotionally draining).

Here is the reason I am posting. Obviously having had depression for so long, I've done a lot of research on it. My therapist says I know more about the nuts and bolts of it than any other client she has had.

That is all well and good, but when I learned about BPD all sorts of lights lit up. There was so much "been there, done that" realizations that I was knocked for a loop. Not that major depression doesn't apply as well, I am just certain in my soul that BPD describes me very well.

The problem is that my current therapist isn't a big fan of my discovery, in the sense that 1. She doesn't agree with it (and may not even concur about the disorder existing), and 2. She is a strong cognitive behaviorist so ultimately she doesn't think it matters. "What are you going to do about it?" is her mantra.

Now I don't know if it really does matter in that sense. What I do about it is the thing that matters. However there is a big part of me that wants my troubles identified and labeled. I don't know why that is. I just feel better being able to say I have BPD as well as depression.

But beyond just my current therapist, I seem to get a lot of resistance to the concept of BPD. Almost as if is one of the psuedo maladies that seem to have cropped up ever since drug companies were able to advertize on the TV.

I guess the bottom line I'm looking for is, what do I do to get some resolution? Do I seek out a second opinion? (Would I just be looking for somebody to confirm my belief rather than tell the truth?). Does it matter that I haven't had an official diagnosis? As far as I can tell, CBT is a recommended course of treatment for BPD anyway (as well as meds), so does it make any difference if I do or don't also have BPD (along with the depression)? I am doing the work.

As you probably can tell I am very very confused. But the positive part of all of this is that I have found a forum in which to discuss the symptoms and characteristics of the disorder, which I experience regardless of the diagnosis. I only hope that exploring this area as well as continuing the work on the depression yields some better results.

I would like to be hopeful again... someday
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I am sorry that you are depressed. I am a caregiver for my elderly mother and I know how draining it can be. Please take care of yourself.

It is very important to get a correct diagnosis so you can get the proper medication and treatment. I would suggest seeing a pdoc. A psychiatrist can diagnose you and I am not sure if your therapist can.

BPD is often misdiagnosed as depression and sometimes as bipolar disorder. What symptoms have you had of bpd? Do you meet any of the criteria for diagnosis as bpd?

I would suggest getting to a psychiatrist as quickly as possible and tell him that why you think you may have bpd. DBT threapy is the therapy most used with borderline.

I wish you the best and glad you have found a place to come to.

((((Hugs))))
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From reading your post, it doesn't sound as though you are experiencing bpd.  Not right now while writing although I could be wrong.

If you wanted to get a second opinion that would be well within your rights.

Many people are often misdiagnosed.  I was diagnosed as having severe depression before the label was changed to bpd.  Personally I find the bpd label extremely unhelpful and it gives me less access to appropriate medical care.  Plus staff discriminate.
On the other hand some people do find it helpful and get a sense of validation from it.

What matters most is treating your current symptoms and moving towards a place where you can live the life you want.

I expect you want recognition and validation for your struggles.  And maybe on some level you feel that if you just had depression you would have worked through it before now.  Maybe the label is also important so you can let go of any failure you may feel.

Sometimes our troubles are not the troubles we think they are.  Not diagnostically anyway.

You could try asking about complex-ptsd, it is pretty much the same as bpd.

A second opinion sounds feasible providing it is unbiased and not unjustly influenced.  What you get depends on the integrity of the doctor.

Intellectually, no, emotionally, yes.

The treatment for bpd is slightly different.  If the work you are currently doing is working for you then it doesn't make sense to stop doing it and change it.

Not all bpd is fixed with dbt though.

Personally, I would recommend you check out the mental health expert forum or at least the doctor's website (myvirtualshrink.com).  You may find his free-three day trial informative.
If you have been depressed for 30+ years I think you need to change your approach -unless you have already done that.  Just a thought.
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1211960_tn?1272978102
I am sorry that you are depressed. I am a caregiver for my elderly mother and I know how draining it can be. Please take care of yourself.

It is very important to get a correct diagnosis so you can get the proper medication and treatment. I would suggest seeing a pdoc. A psychiatrist can diagnose you and I am not sure if your therapist can.

BPD is often misdiagnosed as depression and sometimes as bipolar disorder. What symptoms have you had of bpd? Do you meet any of the criteria for diagnosis as bpd?

I would suggest getting to a psychiatrist as quickly as possible and tell him that why you think you may have bpd. DBT threapy is the therapy most used with borderline.

I wish you the best and glad you have found a place to come to.

((((Hugs))))
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Avatar_f_tn
I forgot to mention but you could also try looking up the dsm-iv for borderline personality disorder.  It offers some clues but you need to be careful how you interpret them.
Being accessed by a psychiatrist specializing in bpd could be another option.
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Thank you for your replies. It is nice to be heard.

I am currently on Effexor, Abilify, Lamictal, Buspar, and Adderall (adderrall). I am also in ongoing therapy with a heavy emphasis on CBT.

My current diagnosis is a combination of Major Depressive disorder and Schizoaffective disorder.

I have looked at the dsm-iv to see if I meet the standards for BPD (Knowing of course that interpretation is best left to the professionals). I did seem to have 6 out of the 9 listed symptoms.

Ultimately I don't know how much difference determining I have BPD would make in my case, I mean I have done a boatload of medicine trials over the years and the current regimin seems to work (as well as can be hoped for at the time being).

I am versed in CBT and am working it (as best I can manage). I also have my practice of Buddhism which involves a lot of mindfulness work. I am interested in looking at DBT anyway... a new discipline is always refreshing for a change.

I know I mentioned how long I have been depressed and in therapy and such. I personally don't think that that is an indication that I am "not" doing something "right." My philosophy is that I have a disease and for me it is lifelong and the goal is management and treatment rather than cure. Certainly over the 30 years something must have worked or I wouldn't be here. And as I sit and write this, I am not secretly (or otherwise) struggling with the desire to go put cigarettes out on my arms (which I have done in the past).

Then again, if not for loving and taking care of my pops, I honestly don't know how I'd be hanging on. He is my safety net at the moment, and needing a net is a bad thing (for me that is). Of course him being 87 and fragile, I really ought to figure out immediately how I can work without a net. Does that make sense? I just got the feeling I've stopped making sense.

Anyway thanks again for your compassion
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Avatar_f_tn
It makes sense.
There are online dbt groups and some which have an emphasis on mindfulness meditation.

A diagnosis can't be given if it is better accounted for by another.

Medication is not said to work that well in those with bpd.  Medication merely helps manage symptoms.  And hopefully give the person some space to work on themselves and coping strategies.

No, not not doing something right but maybe a change in direction would give you a different perspective and maybe enhance recovery.

You are successful everyday based on your philosophy.
My philosophy is that everything happens for a reason.  Regarding illness I think it is a journey and not a destination to be managed or enjoyed.

I think needing a safety net isn't necessarily a bad thing but having one with potential holes in it (the potential death of your father) is.
What you possibly need is a broader social network or support group or to have other interests.
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