Accepting The Label

This is genuinely one of the most difficult things I have ever written about because it’s the one label that I rip from my skin and pretend it isn’t there. I really struggle to accept it as my diagnosis because of the stigma and shame surrounding it. I have Personality Disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified) and it is incredibly difficult to live with.

I’ve not accepted the diagnosis before and always told myself that my diagnosis was wrong but reading through my Section papers made me realise that actually it is a problem and that realisation is heart-breaking. I guess I’m scared of who I am. I’ve never really talked about it before but some of the symptoms that come along with my personality disorder include:

  • Avoidance of everything that is uncomfortable. I avoid the scales at my eating disorder appointments, I avoid awkward or difficult conversations, confrontations, subjects I don’t want to talk about, social situations and so on.
  • Believing I am inadequate and worthless.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Relationship difficulties. I have an intense fear of abandonment from those who are around me and I have intense positive emotions about them but this often leaves the other person feeling under pressure and strain and then it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy as real abandonment often happens.
  • Confusion over what happened, what was said and who was at fault.
  • Finding it difficult to trust others. I am always suspicious that people are trying to hurt me.
  • I feel that as relationships cause problems, I am better off alone.
  • Anxiety.
  • Acting impulsively, for example spending lots of money that I don’t have.
  • I have a lot of issues around anger.
  • Auditory hallucinations. I hear voices from time to time.
  • Self-harm and suicidal tendencies.
  • I feel dependent on other’s approvals and struggle if I do not get this.
  • I’m easily influenced by other people.
  • I’m very sensitive to any type of criticism.
  • A need for order and control.
  • Catastrophising hugely when small things go wrong.

I think my difficulty with accepting the diagnosis is that I feel I cannot control the personality disorder and I often feel like a bad person for the way I handle difficult situations. I fear that people will see me as a bad person if they know my diagnosis. I hate the term ‘Personality Disorder’ too, it’s like with an Eating Disorder the flaw is with eating, with a Mood Disorder the flaw is with the mood but with a Personality Disorder it is a flaw in personality, of who I am and who I was made to be. I want to be a good person but stigma and shame makes me feel as though this diagnosis makes me a bad person. I mean who would want to hang around with someone sensitive and dependent on others, someone with trust issues and relationship difficulties? It makes me fear that I will be alone forever or that I’ll hurt those I love by accident. Having a personality disorder makes me want to run away from myself but that’s not possible. I fear enduring another 50, 60 or even 70 years like this. That seems unbearable. I’m scared of who I am and what is wrong with me and I’m terrified that I may never be alright.

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12 thoughts on “Accepting The Label

  1. Thank you for writing this post Claire. I think that you exceptionally brave for all of the mental health awareness work you have been doing over the last year and I’ve been following your story closely as I’ve never seen a more real, honest and at time heartbreaking account of what it’s like to live with a mental illness online. I was not familiar with your disorder before this post, but I hope that you can see it’s does not define you. You are Claire – a brave and inspiring young lady, and a diagnosis of any type does not change that x

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  2. Sending hugs. Great big unconditional ones. This is a brave, brave post and it will help others. I hope it will be a first step towards funding peace with yourself too. Labels are hard, really, really hard – but you are more than a label.

    I don’t see labels when I look at you. I see hope and promise and a lot of sparkle. It probably doesn’t feel that way right now but lean on us and I hope one day you’ll see it too. Xxx

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  3. Sending you gentle hugs and admiration and respect for speaking with courage, clarity and honesty about this difficult and personal topic xx I totally know what you mean about the personality disorder label – but! you are way more than what that label can capture, we’re all as multifaceted as diamonds and as unique as snowflakes xxx I think you’re great and I know I’m not alone xxx have you heard of Lucy Johnstone? She has written some interesting things about how labels are not so helpful at helping people xxx take care of you xxx Em

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  4. You are so brave for accepting that diagnosis. You’re right, there’s so much stigma around it because it implies something is wrong with who you are. This is not the case. It just means personality traits you have are over exaggerated to the point it’s problematic.
    But you have to remember, you’re the same person you were before you were diagnosed. Xx

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  5. I feel torn in responding because I want to both celebrate your courage in naming and accepting your struggles, and definitely not undermine you in doing that, and I also want join others in saying well, yeah, and labels are not all they are cracked up to be. Stephen Fry posted an eye opening tweet a while back with a list of reasons why people were in asylums in Victorian times and they were the most ordinary of things. I’d also recommend Lucy Johnstone and community psychologists. It’s kind of both/and it seems to me. Yes, there can be value in really accepting how we struggle to get hold of how we can manage that, and there is a much bigger picture than that about who you are.

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  6. It was so brave of you to write this post. I understand where you’re coming from too. A few years ago I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, and although I did feel, like you, that it was intrinsically me that there was something wrong with, I was also relieved to get the diagnosis, because I knew that there was something more wrong with me than just anorexia, so it felt good to be able to put a name to what was wrong with me, and to then be able to find ways of learning to deal with the disorder. It’s tough and I know you’re terrified of being like this for the next 70 odd years, but believe me, it is possible to learn to live with, difficult as it may be, it’s possible to manage and live a decent life. You’re not alone in this. Keep fighting for your recovery, it is out there, although you might not be able to see it just yet. Sending love and hugs xx

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  7. Reblogged this on Dearest Someone, and commented:
    This is incredibly honest, moving and powerful. I cannot imagine how hard it was to decide to become public about this, especially as the writer has identified how difficult it was (and continues to be) coming to terms with her diagnosis.

    It’s blogs’ like this that leave me in incredible admiration toward the authors. Claire didn’t have to share this post, however the positive impact it has had on others is something that no journalist, article or fact sheet could emulate.

    This post is very relatable to me, even though I have a different diagnosis, and I’m so thankful that Claire shared this.

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  8. Reblogged this on davidsoapbox and commented:
    We are not bad people, we are good people in a bad situation. I feel your pain but I now know which parts of my behaviour and thinking are “not me” so I work on them. It is going to be a long road, but we are not alone

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  9. Remember you are a person, not a diagnosis. There is so much more to you than a diagnosis, which is why you write blogs to help others. I have a bipolar diagnosis, but have many of the symptoms you described. One therapy that has helped me is RODBT, which is Radically Open Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. It is for over controlled people, which I didn’t think I was, but has transformed my life. It may help you. I have written a blog about it on my WordPress site m00nrabbit.wordpress.com

    Take a look if you get chance.

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