Well all that was just a plot twist... (Letter to former self)
A woman erroneously diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and then, much later, accurately diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) writes a compassionate letter to her "former self."
This letter contains content that you may consider triggering. It therefore comes with a "Trigger Warning (TW)." If you do not know what a Trigger Warning is or what we mean by triggers, please first take a moment to read the article. "What does Trigger Warning TW Mean?" before proceeding with reading this letter.
Okay, take a deep breath. As Bob Dylan said, "The times they are a-changin'." You've got a new diagnosis. BPD, not Bipolar 1. That's huge. I know it's scary. Remember how frustrating it was, when you thought you had Bipolar and you spent so many years suffering, taking all those expensive pills and never seeing any results? Other people you knew who had Bipolar took pills too, but they didn't have the same behavior issues that you did, well, for the most part still do. They took pills and led normal lives. Not you. That was confusing. Those people were confused along with you by the fact that you always took your meds, always ate right and slept regularly. You did everything you were told to do (and didn't do anything you were told not to do) to get relief from your symptoms, but nothing worked. Well, now you know why.
Treating BPD with meds for Bipolar 1 was never going to help you recover from BPD. Those behaviors that your friends and family, and friends who have Bipolar Disorder, all found so confusing turned out to all be BPD symptoms. Isn't it comforting to know that all those behaviors were happening for a reason? Symptoms. Your BPD symptoms weren't being treated with those meds for Bipolar Disorder.
You're going to start DBT classes. Those classes are the treatment for BPD. Just think, education as treatment instead of pills! After you take DBT classes you might not need to take pills at all, eventually. Wouldn't that be grand?
Just last year you and your brother were sitting around one day talking about mental illness. Remember that conversation? He asked you, "Iris, wouldn't you like it if it turned out that there was a way you could get better and not have to take pills for the rest of your life?" He was speaking hypothetically. You still had a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder then. You both had accepted that. It's happened now though. That diagnosis you lived with since 1998 was wrong. You've got BPD and the really great news about that diagnosis is that you can make a full recovery from BPD.
I'm not saying that recovery from BPD will be easy or quick. It's going to take time, and it's going to be hard. The emotional work involved won't always be pleasant. As a matter of fact a lot of the time it won't be. But what worth doing in life isn't challenging? You like challenges. You don't always like yourself, but when you do like yourself, you like yourself enough to wish that you could like yourself a lot more of the time. With the help of DBT you'll get to a point, in time, where you do like yourself. You'll get to a point where you even love yourself. These are big changes you'll be making.
You're strong. You've lived through a lot of tough stuff. Once you recover from BPD you'll look back on all those years with that Bipolar diagnosis and just say, as the writer and performer you are, "Well all that was just a plot twist!"
Study DBT. Write in the BPD recovery blog you've started, and keep singing for the elderly. That's music therapy, it's not just therapy for them. It's music therapy for you too. When you get around to it, write those plays and novels you want to write. DBT will change you. You'll write very different plays and novels after DBT than you did before. You'll BE different. You'll finally be the Iris you've always wanted to be. You're signing up for DBT classes. This is a new, and exciting chapter in the story of you. Turn the page. Read on. You'll be glad you did.
Love you, Iris. No really. I do,
We are so proud to have Iris in our worldwide, online DBT classes at DBT Path. Well done, Iris!