7 Days of BPD - Day Seven: Q&A with Nadine Appleby

1. Did you realise you had symptoms of BPD before being diagnosed with it?
No, the symptoms of my other mental health problems aren't too dissimilar to those of Borderline Personality Disorder.
2. How did your diagnosis come about?It was slightly confusing the way it came about to say the least, I had been in a psychiatric hospital for 2 ½ years and on the PICU ward there for a large proportion of that time and they were closing the PICU ward so I had to be transferred to another PICU at a different hospital this happened and I was then after a while transferred back to a different ward at the hospital I had been in for the 2 ½ , I decided I didn’t want to take all the medication they were giving me and the psychiatrist at the time decided he wanted a second opinion, this was when the T3 form for consent to treatment was carried out by an independent psychiatrist who had pretty much a one way conversation with me for no more than 5 minutes and on the T3 form noted that she agreed with the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder , a diagnosis I hasten to add that nobody had ever discussed with me , I had certainly not been diagnosed with and was not to be diagnosed with for about another 5 months, in this time a lot of humming and haring if you like and discussion over whether it was the right diagnosis or not and to this day I’m not sure how certain people are as to whether the diagnosis is the correct one and several members of staff who had gotten to know me rather well over the 3 ½ years didn't agree with the diagnosis but others did so it all got very confusing.
3. What is your understanding of BPD?
4. Have you always agreed with your diagnosis? If not why?No I haven't , if you take the points made in question 2 I think it could be quite clear as to why I wouldn't agree with it and secondly because of the other diagnosis I have and their symptoms being so closely related to those of BPD it has thrown a lot into questioning as I never met some of the criteria for BPD and at times it felt as though staff were trying to fit me into the criteria rather than my symptoms fitting the criteria of BPD.
5. What do you family, friends or loved ones think of your diagnosis?In all honesty nobody really knows about my diagnosis, well not the name for it anyway, people know I have mental health difficulties and those around me aren't really phased by this they just take me as I am and accept me for who I am, my mental health although it can effect the way I behave and my relationships with people doesn't really seem to be a problem for those people who I have in my life and choose to have me in theirs.6. What treatment have you been offered for BPD?Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
7.What treatment have do you have or have you had?I have had Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
8.Which symptoms of BPD do you have?I have a markedly unstable sense of self  and self image, suffering from chronic feelings of emptiness , self harm and self destructive behaviors, severe disassociation and a lot of difficulties in getting into close relationships with people and remaining in them.9.Can you describe what they’re like?No not really, I struggle to put words on things a high proportion of the time in general, let alone trying to attempt to describe feelings, emotions and similar things in a way as to whereby people would get a true understanding of just what they are like and it frustrates me a lot trying to explain because I can’t ever really find the words.10. Which do you feel is worse and why?I don't personally feel that any of the symptoms are worse than the others, the are all relatively similar in severity and equally hard to manage and live with, there are however some such as self harm/self destructive behaviors which are more detrimental and damaging in the physical sense of things but on the whole the are equally as bad as each other .11. How are you treat by mental health professionals?The vast majority of the time I am treat really well by Mental Health Professionals, with respect, integrity and empathy and always feel as though I am being listened to and most importantly that I've been heard, I guess I’m fortunate to have had very limited negative experiences of unwelcome treatment by Mental Health professionals and have always had brilliant teams of people over the last 10 + years both inpatient and community teams although I know that this is not always the case for a lot of people.
12. Do you feel they treat you differently to service users with other diagnosis?No not particularly, not that I’m all that familiar with the way others are treat, but I have no issues with the way I am treat by the Mental Health Professionals.
13. Have you had any bad experiences of Mental Health services?I think the experience that was the most detrimental to me was the year I spent on a PICU during this time I was on eyesight observation/arms length (where you have somebody with you 24 hours a day) was at least once a day sometimes more, placed in seclusion given IM medication and there were more occasions than I care to remember where this was really unnecessary and it was just an easier option for staff who didn’t necessarily know how to deal with me, it was noted by other staff how detrimental it was too me yet still it continued on and left me more distressed, disassociated and afraid and hindered and often put a halt to any progress I had been making or may have made. I don’t think any of the other experiences I have had could be perceived as anywhere near as detrimental and ‘bad’ as that.14. What has been your best experience?I don’t necessarily think there has been a ‘best’ experience, I have had a lot of contact of the last 10+ years with mental health services and there has been the pro’s and con’s to each and every experience I have had but on the whole the ‘best’ experiences if you like are those when the professionals really listened to me and I knew that they were hearing me and taking on board what I wanted and what I was saying.15. Do you have any advice for others with BPD?I think the advice I would give to anyone suffering from a mental health condition with this be BPD or not would be to seek help, to let people help you no matter how difficult you may find this and to just take things at your pace, don’t let yourself feel pressured into things, but in the same breath don’t let taking things at your pace slow things down for you in the sense that if you are struggling then stop stand still do nothing, but don’t stand still so long that it has a negative effect on you and your recovery trying to move forward all the time even if it is in the tiniest of ways and don’t be to hard on yourself if you have set backs or relapses.16. What or who has helped you the most and how?I think if I was to chose one thing well person it would be a psychologist with whom worked with me for just over 4 years, who I grew to trust a lot, who helped me understand so much and who had the patience to wait until I was ready to open up to her and work with her, no matter how many times I tried to thwart her attempts at helping me and attempt to push her away she always returned to try to help me. On the whole though I think that all the friends, family,  Mental Health Professionals and General Health Professionals have all equally helped me in one way or another even those who I didn’t have the best of experiences or relationships with, in there own ways everybody has helped me.17. Is there anything you wish you’d known at the beginning of your journey?In all honesty I really don’t think there is anything I wish I had known, however hindsight is a wonderful thing.18. Do you have any regrets of things you’ve done because of BPD?No not all all, in life in general as a rule I refuse to regret anything because I just never think it is good, sure there are things I wish I had done differently with hindsight but that isn’t for me the same as regretting things, also I don’t feel as those the things that I have done are necessarily because of BPD , yes BPD may have had an impact on what I have done but at the end of it all, the things I have done have been what I have chosen to do regardless of BPD, because at the time it has felt like the right thing to do no matter how dangerous, damaging, risky or life threatening it may have been .19. Is there anything you think should be improved in Mental Health Services?Yes I do , I think there is a great deal that could be improved both in terms of access to therapies and support for people and the continuity and consistency of professionals being able to continue to work with service users , clients , patients (whatever we are supposed to call ourselves now a days.) because the services seem to be constantly being changed restructured and professionals seem to be being moved about or the areas of working changed.
20. Have you had experience of being in a medical hospital since your BPD diagnosis? Was it different to before your diagnosis?Yes I have had experience and I can honestly say that it was no different to prior to my diagnosis,. 21. Why did you begin blogging?I don’t blog.
22. What affect has it had on your life?Not applicable.
23. Have you ever been admitted to a psychiatric ward? If so what was it like?I have spent large chunks of time from the age of 15 up until 23 on various psychiatric wards, months at a time and then years at a time. I can’t really explain what it’s like because of the amount of time i have really spent as an inpatient and how different the various settings were, but being a young person well at the age on 18 up to 23 and on a ward with people so very much older than me it was very isolating, even more so when I was 17 and hundreds of miles from home for close to 9 months. I witnessed a lot of change on the wards over the years,some for the good and some not so good but over the years the staff seemed to be less evident on the main ward the nurses more so than anything tending to be cooped up in offices attending to paper work and other such formalities.24. What do you like to do in your spare time?I enjoy reading, writing and spending time with my family and friends. I also like to spend and in fact prefer to spend most of my time on my own doing my own thing.25. Is there any last thing you’d like to say?No nothing.

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