Confrontation

September 15, 2012

Brunet Young went out of town this week, so I didn’t get a chance to have my weekly therapy session. She said she’d call to “check” on me or something along those lines, only she put it more gently. Overall, I’m feeling great though! I think the Lamictal has toned me down a bit. I don’t know.

Last Thursday (I’m seeing her Thursdays now), I confronted Brunet Young about the BPD diagnosis my Ex-Young Therapist had given me. I’d been meaning to ask her why Ex-Young Therapist was so hesitant about giving me the Termination Reports and why she said I couldn’t have the Evaluation Summary. It took a lot of courage to ask this.

****

“She wasn’t supposed to give you that,” Brunet Young replied.

What the fuck? I really like Brunet Young but I don’t get why she said Ex-Young Therapist wasn’t supposed to give me that form. I inquired about it, and she basically explained that: telling the patient he/she has BPD is detrimental to the therapeutic process. For me, the fact I now know this bit of information has given me a sense of validation. Isn’t an invalidating environment one of the contributing factors of borderline personality (BPD) development?

****

“I feel like all these years… all I’ve gone through has at least been validated.” My voice began to shake, “A name has been put to it. Now I feel like, like I’m not JUST an asshole.” I started chuckling.

“That makes sense, I can see why you’d feel that way. The thing is, we are required to give a diagnosis even when we think there is no reason or need to place one on the client. In some cases, we go with what only fits closest.”

Ok. Then what’s the point of categorizing certain behavioral attributes?

My hands trembled and I kept rubbing my aluminum water bottle. “I think I’m a pretty intelligent person… I mean, it’s not like I’m going to just throw my hands up in the air and say ‘Well, I have this and such and I’m doomed’. I’m no different than… than I was before I knew. I’m not going to put myself in a box! I’m not going to quit trying to improve myself and look for ways of recovering.” I went on telling her that what upset me was that I often talked about BPD in regards to online forums I visited and my friend Ryden who has BPD. I would mention how much I could related to people with that and yet, she didn’t say a word about it.

Brunet Young was silent for a moment. Then she looked up with gentle eyes and said, “I know YOU wouldn’t put yourself in a box or quit trying P, but many others with this would. That’s the thing.

She said she’d be sure to talk about why I “fit” the BPD criteria next time we meet, this coming Thursday.

“It doesn’t matter,” I replied nearly in tears. I don’t cry in front of people, so for me to nearly burst into tears was astonishing, to me especially.

“No, it does. It does matter. We’ll discuss it.”

****

I’m glad I finally asked. I can see why a BPD diagnosis can be withheld from a patient/client, particularly those who have more “anti-social” tendencies. For one, the patient might use it to justify for acting out of line, or they might feel discriminated against. I can see how it might conflict with therapy for SOME people to have that information disclosed. I figured perhaps my Ex-Young Therapist was afraid I’d base my entire identity around the diagnostic criteria for BPD, but I HAVEN’T. Have I?

I don’t think I have. I think too much outside of the box for that nonsense.

Yeah, I’ve researched and read a lot about it since finding out, maybe a little too much. And sure, I understand the implications behind such discretion. But as I told Brunet Young, I’m intelligent, and therefore, I sure as hell know that we are not the same (those with BPD) just because of a diagnosis. I told her I realize how arbitrary diagnosis for mental illnesses/disorders are in the first place.

Even among fellow BPDers (or whatever you want to call it), there is an infinite array of expressions of “symptoms”. I know the difference between a set of “criteria/symptoms” that BPDers share and the indefinite, individual minds–the being, the self, the person, and the personalities we hold.

We are not our labels.

In fact, I mentioned this when I found out. People are people regardless of their mental problems, illnesses, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, culture–I can go on and on. But it’s because this information was released to me that I feel more confident to talk about the darker sides of my experience; I’ve already told Brunet Young things I wouldn’t dare tell Ex-Young therapist like the overdoses; the day I threw a whole load of books at Monkey Man, rolled out crying and banged my head repeatedly at the side of his godfathers house; all those drugs we did together; and my mother’s suicide attempts. It’s because of knowing about BPD that I learned a lot from books/articles/blogs–like “The Buddha and the Borderline” by Kiera Van Gelder–that I no longer feel so alone.

****

I’m nervous about seeing her this Thursday. She said we’d discuss why Ex-Young Therapist wrote that on my Termination Report. The thing is, there’s so much I want to say and don’t know how. I feel mute when I roll into that room (though lately I’ve been talking fifteen miles a minute and typing three-hundred words per second). I don’t want to cry. I only cried when I told Ex-Young Therapist Monkey Man died.

I don’t know. I just feel awkward now.

But, I’m glad.

********

addendum: Today I swam like a champ! Would’a been cool if I swam like a chimp too. Can chimps swim alright?

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6 Responses to “Confrontation”

  1. I’m proud of you for bringing this up, and it sounds like, especially with this therapist, you could get a lot out of it. And while I also could, in theory, see how telling someone about a borderline diagnosis might stall the therapeutic process, or even be detrimental, I feel that it needs to be disclosed so that you have a framework for what you’re dealing with.

    But you are so right about it not defining you. As I say, labels are for jelly hard.

  2. Monday said

    I once asked if I could have copies of my psych medical records because I was moving. I was told no because what is written in there could be devastating to my recovery. (Really? What the **** is written in there?)

    I don’t know why they think diagnoses are so potentially damaging to a patient. After all, we are there of our own volition (usually) because we want to know what it wrong. I could see not telling a suicidal patient or maybe an inpatient if you think it would do them harm, but overall I think we have the right to know what is wrong with us.

    • PAZ said

      Hmm. That’s interesting Monday. I wonder about that too. Do the records have some sort of bleak prospects? Is seeing yourself as a “patient” with this and that “symptom” going to make you less hopeful? Maybe my evaluation report said I was REALLY borderline? ha. Really, what could be written that you don’t already know? What I read in my Termination Report wasn’t anything I didn’t already know (except for the BPD diagnosis and GAF scores).

      My therapist, Brunet Young said that the terminology has been proven to have negative impacts on patients. I’m with you on the inpatient thing. But I mean, if I accept something’s wrong and she had been seeing me for so long (which means she’d know my line of thinking), then I don’t see why she didn’t tell me. Brunet Young said that they only tell when the client asks. I guess it’s not THAT important, but then again, it kind of is… Know what I’m trying to say?

      I was severely suicidal these last 8-9 months or so, not so much anymore. So maybe that was one of her hesitations. Also one of the main things with BPD is chronic suicidality and some people with BPD might use the diagnosis as, say, a way to justify their violent behavior. But again, she knew me enough to know I was was unlikely to do that. I don’t know…

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