For anyone that knows me or reads my blog you will know that I have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I have had some great responses and feedback but also have experienced some negativity and stigma. Worst of all, and what I am writing about in this post is BPD and professional stigma. The judgement and stigma I have faced from professionals in particular.
From the moment I was diagnosed with BPD I can honestly say I felt a sense of relief. Finally I knew what was causing the mood swings, the intense emotions and self hatred. I felt I could now work with professionals and get better. Little did I know that I would be treated unfairly by some – not all – of the professionals whose care I was under.
Immediately I was told social services would need to be contacted and I would be referred for parenting classes! There was and has never been any reason other than my BPD diagnosis for these referrals. This has always been something I felt incredibly ashamed of. I have BPD so that ‘typically’ means that I will not be a good mother. I will not create a good attachment with my son and there will ultimately be abuse or neglect!!
I was terrified. I was scared, shocked and confused when I got copies of Dr’s letters stating this. I loved my son more than anything in the world. I never had any issues, he was clingy so that was difficult but I don’t agree with smacking so that never happened and I genuinely loved playing and spending time with him. So were they saying that this was only going to last a few weeks or months more, then I was going turn into someone else? I was so scared.
My experience of social services was horrendous. I was hounded by an awful man. My family were also. He turned up at my sons nursery, contacted friends and family with no authority and turned up at my home without warning stating he needed to check the house and what me and son were doing?! Yes really. Even though there was NEVER any evidence of any problem, let alone neglect or abuse! My son was never under child protect either so what the hell did he think he was doing? This man was relentless and his reasoning for doing these awful things was always that I had BPD! I ended up having to make formal complaints and followed them through to highest level with the help of my family. Thankfully I was assigned someone else quite quickly and after one visit he turned around and said we would be signed off. He couldn’t understand why we were still in contact with them? I think I cried at this. That awful man before had made my life living hell when there was absolutely no reason for him to even be in contact with us! It still shocks me now that this was allowed to happen to me and my family. It’s no wonder that social services get a bad name sometimes.
My parenting classes lasted 4 weeks. It was an 8 month course but the two psychologists in charge did several tests and observations and said I didn’t need to be there. I had a great attachment with my son and was showing no worrying signs at all. I am still in contact with one of the child psychologists and she admits that there is a huge flaw in the way mothers with BPD are treated and I am proof that we are all different and my diagnosis doesn’t mean I going to act the way that some people do.
It really is sickening that I was automatically condemned because I have a certain disorder! It made my mental health worse and still plays on my mind sometimes now. I honestly believe that if it had not been for my amazing husbands support and some of my family also, then I dread to think how things could have ended. It makes me worry about all the other women out there with a BPD diagnosis that are being treated the way I was that don’t have the support I did. It really is frightening.
I completely understand that some people with BPD will need the intervention of social services and would benefit from parenting classes but not all of us. A diagnosis can be identical for 2 people but they can still be completely different and show very different behaviours.
I am much more confident about speaking up now but still I have that flutter of anxiety anytime I have to see a professional about my diagnosis. I shouldn’t have to feel this way, it’s not fair and needs to change.
Be kind always, you never know what battles people might be facing.
Stay strong, stay safe.
Love Amy x