I was diagnosed with Borderline personality, severe depression and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Less like Chris Cuomo…more like Trump which to compare myself to Trump is…well Narcissistic lol)
This occurred in Sept. of 2014 at age 47. I had walked away from about my 10th job, many professional ones, in 15-20 years. Every time I got a new job I would say Michael, you can’t afford to walk out.
As a male I was raised to believe that unless your leg broke you didn’t go to the Doctor. Depression was a “female” disease. No weakness, be strong. Don’t cry or share your feelings. Don’t ever let people see who you truly are (Which I guess I didn’t know and am just now figuring out) These were my beliefs. My performance at work would be very strong so in management I could slide by with snapping at people, unstable interpersonal relationships.
Thing is, I never thought it was me, or my problem. The day I was diagnosed my heart sank. I had worked in MH for 7 years (Finance side but I knew enough to know BPD wasn’t pretty)
These 14 months have been the most painful and insightful months of my life. I am “hyper” insightful which is often misinterpreted as a strength…its been hard to communicate the pain I feel when I look at the damage I have done..and whats been done to me.
BPD spawns from abandonment (Primarily) perceived or real. At age 4 I saw my mother attempt suicide, she had barely been a mother to that point. Drugs primarily and severe depression which in the 70’s was a trip to a mental Health “Institute” I believe this is when my narcissism was born. As a 4 year old, you believe every action is a reaction to you or something you have done. Seeing what I saw…well here we are.
Throughout my life I have been abandoned several times, in the cruelest ways. Unfaithful partners, ex taking my daughter in the middle of the night and leaving to an unknown destination. Others as well. So the continual reinforcement of being abandoned just reinforced the belief that it was my fault, that I had done something.
One of the areas I have been working on is learning how to let others be responsible for what they have done to me. It was too easy to forgive than lose a relationship. As I looked back at the carnage I had caused in some key relationships it really knocked me down. But I needed to do that. Regardless of what people say.
I have a great wife, Dad, kids, therapist and shrink. Yet most days I struggle functioning. It kills me to think how tough others have it that lack the support I have.
What I lack in seeing past the past is a faith and love of God and family.
I have also struggled with DBT a little. I do fit into a class that it hasn’t worked as well. But I use mindfulness and don’t disagree with it…I struggle when its presented as the only..or even best option.
We need individualized treatment plans. I believe that. If there are 9 symptoms and you need only 5 (I have all 9) and each may weigh more and less to some…we now have millions of combinations. Because most personality disorders carry a chemical imbalance in the brain it is, by default, brain science. It’s the behaviors that differentiate it. Much like a stroke survivor w/brain damage.
Stigma. Ugh. I watch the news and cringe. Some days’ I hope they don’t read my blog (Link below) but when they throw around phrases like “crazy” and “nuts” (Yeah on a news station NOT named FOX) and say we need to “lock the crazies up” its barbaric. Talk about stigma.
Why do they talk about us…but not to us. We all have a story. We are all individuals.
I am relatively new on my journey but I have a passion and a fire to fight stigma. If and when I am able to work again I believe this is where I will be. I love supporting people even in my own pain. I still have days I feel like its too much. That I don’t have the strength. Sharing my story and hearing others always reignites that passion.
I’d like to end by saying my blog is verbose but if you grab an entry here or there it may be easier to read…if so inclined. I also want to say that while this isn’t the “only” answer it all starts with
Validation (W/out “necessarily” accepting the behavior)
Access to quality Services.
I am an ear and a shoulder for anyone that needs it. I am no expert nor am I clinically trained but I care.
Married, 4 kids…3 at home. Love God, Love family. 1/2 my life in Chicago, 1/2 in KC. 48 but “I ain’t done yet” 🙂 I am a fighter. I am aware. I hurt. I will spend whatever mental resources I have to fight stigma
*I have also signed up for America’s Got Talent. There is some real comedy in all of this…especially with narcissism. I do hope it helps bring awareness.
Michael can be found on his blog and Twitter
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