A New Lens

The dreaded appointment was on Friday and it was a doozy. An hour and a half intake appointment turned into three as new diagnoses were thrown at me left and right. I am suppressing the emotions as I don’t think I can handle them right now but I just want to give an overview for my own recollection.

I walked into the neuropsychiatric hospital which I spent so much time in last fall and I instantly panicked. The memories and feelings rushed back, adding to the nerves. I got there thirty minutes early and sat in the waiting room like I was waiting to hear bad news. I watched as parents came in with clothes for their child who likely tried to kill themselves and got themselves committed to the residential floor. They smiled and laughed and looked totally normal and that bothered me. We all have our coping mechanism though…

Finally my new doctor came out and I was told how she is a third year medical student and I would not be able to see her more than two times until she moved on in rotations. Broke my heart. I made a four page list of things I wanted to talk about, which probably made me look absolutely insane, but she didn’t know how much I needed this appointment to work out. All of my fragile eggs were in her wavering basket, unbeknownst to her. We went through my history for an hour and a half. She asked me pointed questions and I rambled on, something I do when I am nervous. After an hour and a half, she went to get her attending to talk about my diagnoses. My obsessive four page list of problems went with her to speak to the attending. I sat in the fluorescent lights of her office for thirty minutes, my heart racing and jumping every time I saw someone walk by the door. It felt a lot like waiting to find out about cancer. My illness is terminal all the same, unfortunately in an entirely different way then cancer is terminal.

The attending and my psychiatrist walked in and I immediately had a million questions. She told me that she needs me to see a therapist, go to another partial hospitalization program, and get all my vitals and blood work done before I could leave the hospital to ensure that my disordered eating wasn’t causing major problems. Then she started to list all these disorders, some I was told the name of eight years ago, and some that I never thought I would hear.

Major depressive disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder

Panic disorder




Borderline personality disorder

That last one rang in my head and drowned out her voice and that of the attending. Borderline personality disorder. Borderline. BPD. Personality disorder. No mention of bipolar. She printed me a handout that conveniently is the first result when googling “borderline personality disorder” and told me to learn more about the disorder. I laughed. There is something so funny to me about being handed a stapled packet of papers in this situation. Who knows…

What crushed me the most is that I am doing all that I can to treat this. I’ve been on antidepressants, I’ve been on mood stabilizers and anxiety medication. I’ve done the therapy thing and the outpatient treatment. There is nothing different I can do to treat this. My hopes were set on bipolar, it would have explained everything and why nothing has worked.  It would have meant that I was doing something wrong and a change could drastically improve my life. It would have meant that maybe this thing wouldn’t kill me after all.

I walked out of the hospital seeing the world through a new lens. Except this lens makes things less clear and I cannot, no matter how hard I try, take it off to see the world like I did just three hours prior.