Having done some research when I became aware that my partner at the time had been diagnosed Bipolar Type I, I concluded that Bipolar Disorder is used almost as a generic diagnosis by mental health professionals because of factors that may have nothing to do with the well-being of their patients.
It is much easier to diagnose Bipolar Disorder and prescribe medication, than it is to make a definitive diagnosis which may take a few more sessions with a patient to reach.
I understand that there isn’t a definitive test that can conclusively identify each individual mental illness, and it is precisely because of this I would expect a medical professional to take their time in reaching a diagnosis.
Misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis creates havoc in a relationship.
Once diagnosed, the mental health professional’s subsequent sessions with the patient are to help the patient cope with the reality of a personality disorder.
The problem with this is that it doesn’t just affect the patient, but all those around them.
This is even more difficult when the patient is someone that you are in an intimate relationship with.
You do the research and go to joint sessions with your partner, but the behaviour your partner displays is not consistent with what you know about the personality disorder that you have become familiar with.
Different personality disorders do have behaviours that are common between them, but this is something that you need to be aware of from the outset.
Old societal norms dictate that there are certain professions that we need to listen to without challenge, and the medical profession across the board falls into this category.
The problem with this is that my partner was on Bipolar Disorder medication for years, but was subsequently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder after being hospitalised with Stevens – Johnson Syndrome.
I’m aware that her stop-start use of her medication may have brought this on, but why did it have to get to this before the “new” correct diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder was made?
Her being on Bipolar Medication unnecessarily for so many years may well have triggered what were definite manic episodes, and I still have the early-onset grey hairs to show for it.
When I started to look at behaviours associated with BPD, things started to make perfect sense.
At least I now had the correct information to work with and was able to make decisions based on this information.
By the time you find yourself sitting in front of a psychologist or psychiatrist, you are aware that there is an issue as you have been referred there by someone else in the medical field.
Are there any mental health professionals that have the courage to say; “I’m not quite sure how to diagnose you; this may take a little longer than we anticipated?”
“You are addicted to addiction…”
One of the strangest things that I heard while she was undergoing therapy was “You are addicted to addiction…”
Looking back, this makes sense.
It didn’t matter if it was drugs, gambling or sex, there was always something, except normality.
What I thought was a year-long Bipolar Disorder manic episode, was obviously just her BPD acting out.
There are certain behaviours that are so distinctly Borderline Personality Disorder, that if I knew about them sooner, it would have saved me a lot of headaches.
My ex had extreme difficulty in controlling her emotions, which I took as mood swings due to Bipolar Disorder.
The paranoia she displayed over time with respect to issues like me walking away from her should have told me that there was something amiss.
Her mood swings and impulsiveness were quick and regular in response to issues that came up in our daily lives, and didn’t come out of the blue as they would with Bipolar Disorder.
I am sad that the relationship is over, but there is no way that anyone should have to go through what I went through for five years because of someone else’s mental illness. I tried my best; it wasn’t good enough, so I had to move on.
I can’t and won’t blame all of the problems that I faced in my relationship on a misdiagnosis, but this definitely played a major part as it led me to modify my behaviour in response to what my ex was doing.