This is genuinely one of the most difficult things I have ever written about because it's the one label that I rip from my skin and pretend it isn't there. I really struggle to accept it as my diagnosis because of the stigma and shame surrounding it. I have Personality Disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) and it is incredibly difficult to live with.
I've not accepted the diagnosis before and I've always told myself that the diagnosis was wrong but reading through my Section papers made me realise that actually it is a problem and that realisation is heart-breaking. I guess I'm scared of who I am. I've never really talked about it before but some of the symptoms that come along with my personality disorder include:
- Avoidance of everything that is uncomfortable. I avoid the scales at my eating disorder appointments, I avoid awkward or difficult conversations, confrontations, subjects I don't want to talk about, social situations and so on.
- Believing I am inadequate and worthless.
- Low self-esteem.
- Relationship difficulties. I have an intense fear of abandonment from those who are around me and I have intense positive emotions about them but this often leaves the other person feeling under pressure and strain and then it's a self-fulfilling prophecy as real abandonment often happens.
- Confusion over what happened, what was said and who was at fault.
- Finding it difficult to trust others. I am always suspicious that people are trying to hurt me.
- I feel that as relationships cause problems, I am better off alone.
- Acting impulsively, for example spending lots of money that I don't have.
- I have a lot of issues around anger.
- Auditory hallucinations. I hear voices from time to time.
- Self-harm and suicidal tendencies.
- I feel dependent on other's approvals and struggle if I do not get this.
- I'm easily influenced by other people.
- I'm very sensitive to any type of criticism.
- A need for order and control.
- Catastrophising hugely when small things go wrong.
I think my difficulty with accepting the diagnosis is that I feel I cannot control the personality disorder and I often feel like a bad person for the way I handle difficult situations. I fear that people will see me as a bad person if they know my diagnosis. I hate the term 'personality disorder', it's like with an eating disorder the flaw is with eating, with a mood disorder the flaw is with the mood but with a personality disorder it is a flaw in personality, of who I am and who I was made to be. I want to be a good person but stigma and shame makes me feel as though this diagnosis makes me a bad person. I mean who would want to hang around with someone sensitive and dependent on others, someone with trust issues and relationship difficulties? It makes me fear that I will be alone forever or that I'll hurt those I love by accident. Having a personality disorder makes me want to run away from myself but that's not possible. I fear enduring another 50, 60 or even 70 years like this. That seems unbearable. I'm scared of who I am and what is wrong with me and I'm terrified that I may never be alright.