The consequences of misdiagnosis in mental health

I have a long history of lived experience with mental health problems, and it took several diagnosis’s before I was correctly diagnosed. Every professional makes mistakes sometimes, however it is unacceptable when misdiagnosis goes on for so long that it causes pain, heartbreak and trauma to a family over a period of many long years.  Being misdiagnosed can also mean that a person is likely to receive incorrect treatment for their mental health problems.

Besides issues with treatment, an incorrect diagnosis and perception of mental health, in particular with a vulnerable patient in circumstances where that person may be a parent, can cause misunderstanding amongst professionals as to the care of the children involved. It can also lead professionals to misunderstand a vulnerable patient who may be in an abusive relationship.  Just like there is a stigma that patients who have certain mental illnesses such as EUPD are violent, there is a severe stigma that people with mental illness are lying about their abuse and they often go unheard by professionals when diagnosed with certain illnesses.  I am one of these people, where my abuse happened behind closed doors, and due to the nature, it did not always leave visible scars and there were no witnesses either.  I was diagnosed as having mental health problems after speaking up, and while going through care concerns raised over my children.  As a mental health  champion, and after spending many years of having to be supported before I could talk about my story, I have chosen to share it, in a bid to help others going through it, and to help professionals understand how misdiagnosis can have severe consequences on a persons life.  I have also shared it, to try and help local authorities understand that with some illnesses, one cluster of symptoms does not mean a person will have all of them, and to put the consequences of not listening to someone who is vulnerable when they speak out about abuse.  To find out more please read my article at http://psyche.media/what-it-feels-like-when-professionals-get-a-diagnosis-wrong-and-how-i-am-living-with-that?_ga=2.238536323.20067498.1552927802-271812434.1552404381

Living with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder

Emotionally unstable personality disorder is commonly misunderstood as emotionally unstable borderline personality disorder. While it can come with ‘Borderline personality disorder,’ it affects people in different ways. Some people like myself may start of with some but not all clusters of borderline personality disorder (e.g unstable mood swings, self harm, overdosing, inability to control emotions..), but some people can be emotionally unstable without the ‘Borderline.’

When I was first diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, there was much confusion over my diagnosis, as some professionals had mistaken my diagnosis to include Borderline Personality Disorder. This was confusing, and sometimes it still happens today. After trying and trying to understand the problem, even after therapy, I eventually went to visit my GP who explained to me that I had Emotionally Unstable Personality disorder, which can sometimes come with Borderline traits, which is why some people have EUBPD, and is also why people misunderstand my diagnosis, because it crosses with Borderline Personality Disorder.

I have been on several medications since I was first diagnosed from Thorizadine, Quitiepin, Haleparodol, and a few others. None of these workedfor me and Quitiepin made me really sleepy, which made me nervous as I had children who I felt bad for, because my husband ended up doing almost everything for them. A few months ago though I was put on Dosulepin (Formally Dothiepin). Now, I asked for this, and I had been asking for it ever since I moved around 10 years ago. I knew it worked, because it was working in the past while I was pregnant and I had been stable on this medication. However, when I moved, my medical records didn’t follow me for some reason, and I had to fight to try and get people to understand I had a mental health condition, which because it was ignored for a lengthy period of time, tragically turned myself and my family upside down.

 

Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder means I am ’emotionally sensitive,’ it also means if I am not stable I am prone to depression, low mood swings, self harm, post traumatic stress attacks (due to past abuse) and many other things. I did a course of Dialectal Behavioural Therapy  few years back, which gave me lots of skills such as mood management, self care, acceptance, ways to remain calm, being mindful etc. Through those skills I managed to redevelop myself, and I have uncovered skills I never thought I had. I had a traumatic young adult life which was full of domestic and community violence, and I had children involved, which was terrifying for all of us, and there was very little support. My childhood was also one where childhood domestic violence was dominant. I had spent from a young age upto being a young adult being beaten up, being called some nasty names, and when I moved into my own home, the violence got worse. I was drug raped, beaten, broken into and taken advantage of, and because I am emotionally sensitive and the professionals were blaming me, rather than listening to me, I couldn’t stop those terrible things. Therefore, when I moved to my nice seaside home, to begin with I was very insecure and expecting those things to happen again.

 

However they didn’t, and yes there are a few I don’t get on with. But I am safe now and my home is coming on nicely. It feels nice after going through all that trauma, to actually live in a home and hometown I love. I still sometimes have a panick attack, and get fearful of others, and I have days when I can’t bring myself out doors. However, I enjoy going to the sea, walking through commons, getting involved as a mental health champion, and volunteering for healthwatch, walking through the gardens and even shopping knowing that I am safe, even when I don’t feel it. I am also studying sociology and child protection, and I have just completed a child domestic violence course with Child Domestic Violence Association in conjunction with Unicef.

 

My bad days used to be full of flashbacks, self harm, anger outbursts and constant uncontrollable tears. Nowadays I don’t need to self harm, because I’ve learned that even with all my scars from the past, I can be beautiful inside out. I used to get urges, but I haven’t had those for years thanks to the self care skills where I bath in my favouritite bubble bath, do makeup, make my hair nice, go for walks. Other skills I use are ‘anger management’ where if I feel angry I walk and count my footsteps until it passes, and if it re-cycles I do it again, or I combut stress by watching Buffy and Angel, or even playing the games, and doing fitness, listening to music. I also use mindfulness which is usually cleaning or writing for me. Cleaning, I get told stresses my friends out, but for me it has a calming effect.

I have written this because 5 years ago, I, my children, and my husband would have seen a very scared girl trapped inside a womans body, who was always stressed, crying, hurting herself, panicking, shouting and getting angry without really knowing why. That would make me cry more, because I didn’t notice it coming out on my family who I love deeply in that way. Now they see a mum and a wife and a person who can talk calm, not be afraid to try new things, is assertive, confident, mindful and loves living her life. Nowadays this woman who let herself be bullied at school, at home and as an adult, is living her life with confidence despite having to accept that part of me will always have the disorder. That doesn’t make me a bad person or bad parent, the fact I did something healthy to learn to manage it makes me powerful as a mum, wife and person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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