"The stigma of being an individual...."

About: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health

(as the patient),

Having one of those days again where I'm thinking there's something wrong with me, there must be something wrong with me right? Every time I look in that mirror all I see is a container with a label stuck on it, it's just like one of those moments you have when you're in a supermarket and you see something on the shelf that your unfamiliar with and you pick it up and your like what is that? What do you do with this thing? And then you take it away with you to test out and if you don't like it or it doesn't work well then you can pass it on to somebody else, put it back on the shelf again or throw it away in the bin. That's basically how I've felt and what's happened to me the past 8-9 years, I feel like a piece of waste and to them I'm now just an object of their imagination like they read up stuff about me and what they read they think they have the right to treat me any way they like.

I just want people to see me for who I really am, not what they think I am, show a bit of understanding, compassion, be honest and truthful, don't lie to me or hide things. Is it not ok to have some control over things? I'm not expecting them to know or do everything but I wished they would take my views and opinions on board for once and let me do things my own way instead of them doing it their way all the time. It's about what the person really wants or needs, not trying to force me to be something that I don't want to be or treated as just a collection of personality traits. Yes I can change but how can you expect someone to change when you're just fobbed off with pills to shut you up, dismissed or told what to do? Feelings do matter don't they? Ask a Psychiatrist is it not ok to be a sad or angry? .....Or does every single feeling have to be pathologized? Over-reacting isn't normal....Not when you have a diagnosis of BPD, Everything is blamed under one term, if you're anxious it's because of your personality, if you're depressed again it's because if your personality. There is no separation or looking at things from a different perspective, everything you're feeling, everything you've ever felt is inadvertently blamed under one term as a "cause" but sometimes just hearing someone say "I'm feeling low" isn't enough for Psychiatry and you have to exaggerate your feelings to act ill to the point of looking psychotic to get Psychiatrists to take you seriously...Just because people are given this label doesn't mean they don't have real feelings, they should be allowed to be able to express them and not be treated like a container of problems for which they want to keep a lid on. It might be difficult to do but what do you see yourself when you look in the mirror? A human being or a set of personal opinions? I want Psychiatry to know that we are more than just a label!

When I was under the mental health team for all them years I felt like I was being disciplined rather than helped. Suddenly they become superior to you and you're made to feel like a small child. Everything was and still is an endless cycle of do's and dont's but not necessarily getting anywhere. If you do something than it's bad but if you don't do something than it's worse, MH professionals start criticizing why you're so slow to learn or why you won't learn let's be honest here "Is it really all about learning or is it about making long-term changes? " Making little changes one step at a time. The majority of people with Borderline Personality Disorder have an average to above average intelligence so forcing us to "unlearn our coping mechanisms" is like forcing somebody to learn to give up smoking, you don't learn to give up or change anything we are humans and humans are designed to change. We are responsible for what we choose "good or bad", therefore what we choose we can change and make the right choices.

Now it's a new year I am determined more than ever to start over a new chapter and leave the past, stressful years behind me. This means that I have had to let go of a lot of things that were distorting my reality and perception of myself and one of those things was cutting ties with the PD service and secondary mental health care and relying on a the support of my GP who I know I can trust. I've also had to let go and probably the cause of all this illusory behaviour misinterpreted on all my mental health reports/notes was the diagnosis itself. I have had to detach myself from the BPD label now as what I didn't realise for along, long time was that I'd in fact been internalising it. The label attached to my name has done more harm than good and I seriously believe that it made me emotionally unstable in the first place, from the very moment that I was spoken to differently, looked at differently and treated differently. Consequently, the amount of drugs that I've been prescribed and taken over the years have proved to me that this is more likely the reason along with the confusing experiences I've had with certain healthcare professionals and my constant frustrations I've had in trying to convince them that I'm not a container of problems but a real person with real feelings.

There needs to be more done to tackle stigma and discrimination in psychiatric settings. I don't believe there is nearly enough reliable information on EUPD/BPD and I think a lot of the time it gets misconstrued, misinterpreted and taken the wrong way. Unfortunately I did end up think, feeling and behaving like the entire diagnostic criteria, but then I realised that this wasn't true and that was what some of the psychiatrists I was seeing were projecting onto me and I was internalising. I'd in effect been psychologically mirroring what had been psychologically reflected. Everything I ever watched and read up on PDs told a different story and I was given different leaflets and even different self-help sheets, but not once have I ever sat down face to face with a top PD expert and given a real explanation and real answers.

I'm now trying to recover from everything that's happened and currently in a process of finding a new me because the real me was taken away, broken into pieces, turned into words and locked inside a file which I doubt I'll ever be able to get back and fix.

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