Monthly Archives: August 2013

Letter to my psychologist

Below is a letter to my psychologist who offered me a reduced rate so as I could get some treatment. I have omitted names.


Dear D,

Thank you so much for your kind offer to see me at a reduced rate. I really appreciate this gesture as I know that this is not a standard or viable business practice.
Diagnosis of BPD presents it’s own confrontations. Firstly, I understand that this is an informed and 100% accurate diagnosis.
As this was my initial intent for seeing you, I am happy to know what I am dealing with, although the realisation that I have lived in this insidious disorder for most of my life is disturbing and confronting. It explains so much of my emotional dis-regulation and behaviours that I did not previously understand.
However a diagnosis alone does not make me better.
In the past, I would have welcomed nurturing through manipulation and would have been comfortable to accept both money off my brother S and a reduced rate from somebody who owes me nothing. I have researched BPD thoroughly in attempt to understand this disorder in detail and to understand the best treatment options for me. I understand that DBT would be the most beneficial therapy available at present. I am no longer comfortable manipulating to illicit nurturing, regardless of my pain and desire to be well.
The fact is my life is such a mess which revolves on a never ending nightmare as if from a Stephen King book. I understand that I am in my current situation because I have BPD not because I am a bad person. I have read copious amounts of material from the internet and have come up with some strategies to assist in recovery at this stage. Through my research I entered a contest for a DBT workbook through (a useful site) which I won. I have commenced work on these exercises to be proactive and take responsibility for my treatment.
I have faced considerable devaluation and discrimination through the local Area Mental Health Service to the point I can no longer deal with them. I am still angry I was put in jail for having BPD symptoms (suicidal thoughts and attention seeking behaviour) when presenting to ED again. I realize that this is a mixture of legitimate discrimination, devaluation and also BPD symptoms (fear of abandonment). I understand that this situation happened and I must now move past this and other perceived or real situations and events that will hinder my progress in recovery.
Due to my financial situation I can not afford the costs of your services, although I clearly need a therapist who understands this disorder. I have been visited by a lawyer who is attempting to claim insurance through my super fund to alleviate my abstract poverty and so as I can gain appropriate services, such as yours. This will be a 12 month process at least, if successful, I will definitely engage your services again, yet at the appropriate full rate. I feel it would be beneficial to discuss my progress and concerns with you, as I am currently seeking validation and understanding from people who do not have the tools or knowledge to provide appropriate input or feedback, especially about suicidal thoughts which I have not spoken to anyone about, such is my shame and confusion over these. I now understand the depth of my pain and associated mind set that anything is better than this fractured life.
I have attempted to gain treatment through SXXXXX, however they will only treat me if I am case managed by the local Area Mental Health Service which is out of the question. An analogy of this situation is if you take your car to a mechanic with a faulty generator and regardless of how many times they work on it it keeps breaking down. They keep replacing a battery (medication) to temporarily rectify the problem to allow the car to run. Yet, due to the mechanics lack of knowledge the underlying problem of the faulty generator is never repaired so the problems keep occurring and continuous flat batteries are the result. Would you return your car to this mechanic after years of flat batteries? SXXXXX will not deal with me on an individual basis. I am looking into a year long outpatient DBT program through the Melbourne Clinic, yet until I can afford this it won’t happen.
I will investigate other appropriate financial support options to obtain treatment as it is not an illness I can live in for much longer, I wonder if it was a physical illness I suffered whether I would face such obstacles to gain appropriate treatment, I doubt it.
For the meantime I will continue on with self DBT therapy and hope I can maintain focus on recovery as avoidance is a huge obstacle for me.
At the risk of idealization I really appreciate your help, I often review your strategies that you gave me on my phone and try to implement these, especially when triggered. I review my strengths which seem at times, due to self loathing, to be distant. I understand this thought process and how it relates to BPD.
Are you aware that Marsha Lineham (the founder of DBT therapy) is coming to Australia early next year to present DBT therapy skills for practitioners and therapists. I have found her insights and methods very helpful. I can get the details if you or any of your colleagues are interested.
I have also watched a 2 hr video of a conference on youtube called “Loving somebody with BPD – A model of emotion regulation” by Shari Manning Ph.D,which I found enlightening and appropriate for anybody who has to deal with BPD sufferers. Here is a link to this video . I hope you get a chance to view it. It would be a valuable insight for families of, or anyone who communicates with BPD sufferers.
I am under no illusion as to how long or hard this process and treatment will take, or that it’s ultimate success depends on me. I am the only one who can do the work. There is no magic pill.  No one but myself will save me.
I thank you for the gift of understanding and insight, I know this is uncommon in men, we are often diagnosed with depression or addiction which are only co-morbid conditions, not the underlying problem (generator). I am reassured that there is a collective conscience for support through the internet at such sites as which is a really valuable tool in coming to terms with and understanding this disorder. I don’t feel so emotionally isolated knowing others have the same affliction and similar struggles as I have.
Again, thankyou for your assistance and support in this matter, I will definately see you again as soon as I am able too under my own steam, without the emotional guilt of haveing S pay for your services or at a reduced rate, as this is not fair on S nor yourself. I will cope regardless.
Kindest regards.




Filed under Uncategorized

BPD Self Harm thoughts & behaviors – trigger warning

Please don’t continue if you are at risk of self harm or feeling suicidal as this post contains triggers. I do not wish to adversely affect any one else’s struggle with Mental Health. This is my stuff.

I had thought of not posting this as I feel like a thought thief but it is more a gathering of information, dissemination and realization.


This comes after a recent event that I am having trouble getting past. I need to compose these thoughts so that I can understand them.

Since 8 years old, I knew I was not like my peers. I have memories from as early as 4 yrs I now know were not normal.

This is only re-enforced when I compare and peer with fearful diagnostic eyes upon my own sons life. I have always been assured to find only a beautiful, well balanced, compassionate and caring young man. He is truly my best legacy to this world.

I am in physical pain as I write this, as is confronting nature of what I need to address. Give me the pain of a hernia operation or a broken bone any day, it is easier to handle.

I voluntarily saw my first Psychologist at 19, I’m now 45. I remember the sea shell music to this day. Get me outer there.

I am currently facing an awkward situation in relation my treatment and diagnosis. I have touched on these in earlier posts, I can’t speak about this specifically on a public forum anymore, for fear of litigation, it is disturbing and I will need to generalize over these, but must touch on these events to illustrate the difficulty in trying deal with self harm thoughts and BPD.

I had an episode in the ED after presenting with suicidal thoughts, again. This was after years of presentations and associated treatment with the mental health service. I ended up in the police station cell as detailed in earlier posts.

Sometimes situations and locations reverse, resulting in essentially the same behaviour though.

Once I started in the cell and ended up at the hospital like replaying a horror movie backwards. After a brief wrestle with 6 of our finest, then 3-4 hours of self abuse in the cell screaming F%$@ and slamming my fists on the floor, sweating and physically exhausted but unable to stop, only to be strapped to a gurney, screaming and fighting against restraint like a wounded wild pig, another ambulance trip, on arrival to ED I was still aware enough to notice a young (doctor, ED worker, student, patient, by stander, cleaner?) male laughing at me. I screamed at him: “What are you laughing at? Do you find this F@#*ing funny?” They wheeled me into ED screaming and sedated me.

Gaining information yesterday from  , it hit me like a ton of bricks.

At the risk of plagiarizing some of Debbie’s and others thoughts and words and which to summarize below is an extract of part of a letter I sent to a person who is advocating for me:

-“Simply, I was put in jail when I sought help from them. This is disturbing.

Yes, I exhibited symptoms and behavior as per the DSM IV criteria for BPD.

I wonder if someone who attended hospital for unregulated and untreated cancer who was in trauma, exhibiting attention seeking behavior or with suicidal thoughts to relieve themselves of pain (a natural human response to severe pain), would be sent to jail.

I wonder if the ED staff on duty at the time where confronted with one of their loved ones or next of kin in trauma from a mental health issue would accept their loved one being put in jail, if they were in unregulated pain, because staff lacked understanding or training.

The most difficult part of having constant suicidal thoughts, is not the thoughts alone, I have dealt with these since 8 yrs old. It is the fact you are having these thoughts. These may drift past at times barely noticed like a cloud or can come crashing down on you like a violent thunderstorm that demands attention. This is unregulated and unbearable pain.

The very fact I have these thoughts is part of the problem and why I attended ED.

I am constantly amazed at the lack of understanding when MH assessors focus on the plan. I always get asked “do you have a plan?” This is the ignorance. If you say you don’t have a plan they think you are okay and not at risk and send you home not medicated and untreated. This is the blanket approach to mental health that is so detrimental to the BPD sufferer.

I don’t have one plan. I am very resourceful and have no real preference to alleviate my pain. Short of putting me in a straight jacket and a padded cell 24/7, 365 days a year, if I wanted to act on these thoughts, it couldn’t be avoided. The fact is I don’t want to die. It is the reoccurring thought, which is the problem. This is what causes me distress.

The inability to regulate emotion is a huge daily internal battle for me. To know your behavior is not considered normal yet not being able to control is debilitating and exhausting. This is scary and confronting for observers, I completely understand. Yet, this is a one way street. Observers can’t imagine how scary or confusing it is for the sufferer, especially when the sufferer is fully conscious and aware of their own actions as these behaviors take place.  I compare this inability to regulate behavior like trying to regulate your own heart beat.

This is the basis of my fears for returning to the MH service or ED, this is why I don’t want them involved in my treatment. These are the people who are meant to understand these issues. This is the ignorance of mental health by people who are oblivious that their actions are actually discriminatory”

The consequence of my actions is more insurmountable pain, self loathing and further isolation.

This is just a recent snapshot of my life. My life has revolved on a never ending nightmare, a hideous merry go round in a Stephen King horror, flickering from one emotional event to the next, one crisis to next, one job to the next, one interest to the next, one coping mechanism to the next, one self harm thought to the next or one relationship to the next, resulting in very few constants in my life, always with irreparable damage to myself or relationships with others resulting in further shame, guilt self loathing and the feeling that even death is better than this fractured life.

Debbie’s analogy of the “cloud” and suicidal thought’s is the nearest descriptive form of these thoughts that I have come across. I hope she does not mind if I expand on these. This is the only way I can explain these thoughts descriptively.

As I stated in my letter above about suicidal thoughts; “These may drift past at times barely noticed like a cloud or can come crashing down on you like a violent thunderstorm that demands attention”.

BPD symptoms such as behavioral issues and suicidal thoughts don’t have any consistency; they are as fickle and as unpredictable as the weather. To further this analogy, some days I have there is not a cloud in the sky, or just a whisper in the far distance just to remind me I am a creature of the planet. Some days are dull and overcast, some days are violent and unavoidable. But usually most days are essentially different in time and nature.

Sunny days with not a cloud in the sky have their own repercussions for BPD. These are the days I feel normal and don’t have self harm thoughts or irrational behaviors. These are destructive and where many of self harm thoughts originate. Because I am feeling normal, I self talk such as: “Just get over it”, “Be a man”, There’s nothing wrong with you”, etc, etc. These fester on not so clear or overcast days to become very destructive self loathing, especially when none of this self talk has been achieved.

Sunny days, with a whisper of cloud in the distance, these days put me on edge, things seem to be going okay, but in the far distance a small cloud is desperately trying to stretch across the sky, it will either build or abate. These days put me in a state of flight or fright. I’m aware it’s there, wanting to dominate the atmosphere, as are the BPD symptoms. Some days it grows. Other days it disappears over the horizon leaving me apprehensive whether it will return tomorrow. What will the weather be like?

Overcast. These days are the norm. They have varying levels of cloud cover. Not only am I desperately trying to function in society and fit in with society norms, mostly with abject failure, additionally, I attempt to deal with the behavioral issues and suicidal thoughts wearing the public mask that unfortunately cracks and falls off on occasion, exposing BPD symptoms and letting self harm thoughts and behaviors erupt into prevailing storms. Mostly these days I just want to hide from the world.

Storms. These days are the days I desperately try to avoid. These are days I can’t face the world or myself. These are the days BPD symptoms take over my life. These are the days where the pain becomes unbearable. These are the days the self harm thoughts are overwhelming. These are the days that scare me.

Today is just another dull gray day, both literally and figuratively speaking. Some sun is trying to shine through.

I understand that my life has probably not ideal been, yet it doesn’t lessen the pain. I am trying to get passed the abuses I have faced and accept I can’t change them, yet I can’t get let go of the self harm thoughts that comes with painful memories.

Living in BPD is a constant battle, of eternal self talk. The fight or flight response and anxiety are a constant and I try to preempt nearly every interaction with others. This is destructive when conversations or any minor alteration of preemptive situations don’t go according to plan. It results in further self loathing and self harm thoughts.

For me, the constant state of two minds and analyzing every thought, produces and nothing but inaction, rumination, procrastination and self loathing.

I know I need to resource the right tools to overcome these most disturbing aspects of BPD

I will fight for treatment as it’s a just cause. It is reassuring that I finally have some people who are willing to stand by my recovery. It will be difficult and I usually give up when confronted by barriers. Not this time.

It’s re-assuring to know I am not the only one, that there is a collective conscious and resources that I never knew existed. I am not alone. I hold empathy and pity for those who remain un-diagnosed and like myself untreated. For these people whose lives, if any reflection on mine will continue to suffer in isolation, stigma, discrimination, guilt and confusion, my heart bleeds for these people.

I know suicidal thoughts and BPD symptoms are confronting to the non bpd, for me it is just the way it is, always has been. I have known no other life.

The fact is, I am very sick. I have been for a long, long time.

This is hard to accept, I am having difficulty coming to grips with BPD.

I hope I can get appropriate treatment and services.

I hope, I just hope.




Filed under Uncategorized

BPD diagnosis in men

I am writing this post as a result of watching by This got me to thinking about the men and women in my life who may have had BPD criteria.

I am in awe of people who give so much of themselves to complete strangers in raising awareness and understanding of BPD issues. So I wish to also shed some light on this subject through my experience as a recently diagnosed 45 yo male with BPD.

Trawling twitter I often find that most of my followers are female (In another life I would have welcomed this, but now not so sure), which I find statistically odd.

As far as I can gather BPD occurs in 2% of the general population of which 75% are women.  How much of this discrepancy can we put down to macho-ism or mis-diagnosis? In my personal life when I cast a diagnostic eye over my peers I can see BPD traits in both a few men and women. 

As birds of feather flock together, BPD sufferers are often drawn to the same social circles in my experience. The reason I believe is that we are the only ones who accept and forgive each others behaviors and emotional instability due to a heightened sense of empathy and an unconscious understanding of emotional responses. Therefore, in my opinion of my own circle, it is somewhat even the ratio of men to women I notice on reflection with BPD criteria.

My mother who is quite elderly now and is beyond self change, I am sure suffers (although she would never recognise or admit to it) from BPD. She grew up in the 1930’s and 40’s in a society where self awareness was considered a egotistical luxury and mental health problems were best treated in an asylum with electric shock treatment or a lobotomy.  I pity her for not being able to control her emotions and still see her struggling on a day to day basis to control her unknowing mind. She developed a fierce work ethic, adopted orphaned and injured native animals, doted over her children and grandchildren and developed many other coping mechanisms (all to excess) to distract herself from her own internal turmoil. She would die of shame if she knew I was writing this about her. However a leopard can’t change it’s spots and I see a definite and consistent BPD genetic disposition in our family over generations, which has been handed down through the generations like an unwanted or loved heirloom.

My brother (who I have always and still idolize) has had his own issues with anger management, relationships and emotions yet these fall within the society norms of – “It’s ok to yell at your kids, if you are just trying to teach them”, “it’s ok to have a couple of beers at night, it helps you relax”,  yet I can still see whispers of the diagnostic criteria in him. This is not so bad as it makes him compassionate and empathetic. He has always protected me where he could because of this. He is also passionate about his business as a stock agent and has huge kudos and respect from his employees and industry peers. Although he has some BPD traits he does not suffer a mental health disorder as such.

This is relevant as I have 2 friends who are definitely BPD. Both male, both unaware of BPD.

As an aussie bloke there is an unspoken expectation that you are tough as nails, drink beer, like sheila’s (women), work hard, play harder, show little emotion (anger excepted) and especially not be a wuss (pronounced like puss and means – sissy, feminine, unmanly). I’m sure most societies throughout the world have their own manifestation of this. As a result we are reluctant to talk to anybody about how we FEEL.

My first friend who has recently lost his job after taking time off to sort his issues out. He knows he has depression but that’s all. I am sure this is the diagnosis for many men who face BPD in Australia, as it was for me for so, so many years.

I recently received a letter from a hospital which stated that BPD was not known as a mental health disorder and that BPD was all new to them (I got a written retraction a few days later after informing them it is in the DSM IV and I was sure their psychiatrists would be familiar with the DSM).

Depression is the diagnosis you get when they can’t put a finger on your mental health issues. It’s the common cold diagnosis a sore chest gets on the first presentation to a GP. Although it could be a lung disease.

Depression has a “just get over it” stigma attached and a pharmaceutical treatment component to it in Australia, so there is a definite reluctance for men to speak about it even to their mates (friends). Depression is easy to diagnose, BPD not so easy and often overlooked in men as a women’s only disorder. I wonder how many men are living in confusion with a diagnosis of depression and can not understand why their lives are not improving although they have been medicated and sought counselling and treatment for depression.

I have spoken to my mate about his depression diagnosis and found he was going to the same charleton quack of a psychologist I wasted time with. He was more interested in my medicare card that offering me real help. My mate told me about his non improvement even after six months of treatment, medication and counselling. This was all too familiar to me. He was  unsure of what to do next, his only resolution was to change to another job, as not working was sapping his self esteem. He, like myself has had to consume copious amounts of weed over the years to suppress and dull our emotional pain and anxieties.

I have known many, many men who suppress their emotions through alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, etc, etc. The construction industry is littered with such broken souls. All too tough or too ashamed to admit to a problem.

My own long struggle with BPD and obtaining a informed diagnosis has faced many hurdles and took 26 years from the time I became responsible for my own well being and fully aware there was something quite not right in my head shed.

Diagnosis was hindered by practitioner incompetence and knowledge at the time and still to this day,  I started this diagnosis journey in 1986 at 20 yrs old when saw my first psychologist (the seaside sounds and pipes of peace still haunt me). I knew something was not right, that I didn’t think or act like others, within society norms, unless I wore the chameleon mask that adapted to situations as I felt I was expected to. I cant remember the diagnosis at the time (or even if one was given) but I remember if someone now tells me to sit down and relax and take three deep breaths I think I will have to punch them, this was a bad experience, I remember thinking to myself how can I relax with my incessant internal dialogue and that horrible sea sounds and pipes of peace going on all at once.

Regardless of this bad first experience the one constant in my life has been a almost frantic desire for self awareness and understanding. I have attended GA, NA, AA and sought rehabilitation for cannabis (to sustain a relationship) in a month long inpatient rehabilitation center. I have tried most antidepressants and psychiatric medications, with the result equivalent to sucking on a sugar cube. Endless, fruitless counselling sessions, dumping on some poor sod my baggage, to give me a moments or twos respite from myself by transference. I have been a constant pain in the arse to the local hospital for a good ten years. Not that my BPD got any worse (it hasn’t changed since I was eight it is and always has been moderate to severe), but the associated life problems such as relationships and co-morbid untreated conditions such as cannabis dependency, depression, suicidal thoughts, emotional regulation and behavioural problems festered and became unmanageable. I got sick of telling my story to people who didn’t have the understanding, empathy, knowledge or desire to see me well (remember a health care worker is also working to provide themselves with an income, plus, a natural rejection of attention seeking behaviour), it feels like I have regurgitated the same never ending spiral of my fractured life to anyone who had to listen (through want or sufferance), but it more often than not fell on deaf or unconcerned ears.  I never spoke to anyone about suicidal thoughts, such was my shame and guilt of these. I felt like there are so many people struggling to live and I just wanted to die.

I attended a famous drug counselor who told me when I expressed concerns about my mental health and depression that “you don’t have depression! Your just a drug addict” This was the same person who boasted to me when I told him I had been a Customs Officer in a previous life that he used to “smuggle” heroin through the airport I worked at, to try to either impress me or win me over. How fucked up and uninformed is he. It took me years to get over this guilt trip.  Rule One in drug rehabilitation is to ensure the patient does not suffer an underlying mental health disorder, otherwise your just treating a co-morbid condition ie. a coping mechanism. When this coping mechanism is gone the disorder is what is left, resulting in further pain, confusion, relapse and heightened self loathing. This also applies to any coping mechanism, as I have tried most, if the root cause of the main problem is not addressed nothing will change. An analogy of this is if your car stops with a flat battery as the generator has broken, sure you re-charge the battery and it may even run okay for a while, even may take another few recharges, but eventually because the generator is stuffed your battery will eventually die and just not work again. Treating co-morbid conditions gave me some short term respite and false hope, yet eventually the main problem returned with a vengeance leaving me confused and frustrated my efforts where in vain.

I had attended many times to the local Area Mental Health Service which resulted in a dual diagnosis of Dysthymia (depression) and Impulse Control Disorder (after I shouted at them). These themselves are quite disturbing diagnosis and I don’t wish to diminish the affect these have on those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from them. I did what I always do upon diagnosis and researched these. They didn’t quite fit as it did not explain the behavioural, long term depression, relationship, behavioural problems or emotional control issues I faced.

In frustration as  I had exhausted all mental health services in the area (some refused to even speak to me after confrontations on gaining access to treatment and psychologists) I started looking further a field in Melbourne. I attended a GP in Melbourne who was adamant I had adult ADHD, as he suffered (often diagnosis depends on the assessors field of expertise), yet research suggested to me this was also incorrect. More frustration and self loathing resulted.

Diagnosis only came to a head when I had a panic attack when I attended ED and received no assistance, resulting in another trip to the police holding cells and subsequent further self harm and distress.

What was distressing the most about this particular incident (of which there have been many) was that I was exhibiting fear of abandonment, attention seeking behaviour and un-regulated emotional distress but DID NOT KNOW WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME. But neither did any of the staff.

Knowing something is not quite right in the head shed, just not what, has kept me on this epic quest for knowledge. But not knowing what the issue is kept me in a state of confusion and frustration to the point I “said fuck it all” and gave up looking for answers. I tried to continue to struggle through life, one job to the next, one relationship to the next etc, etc. Yet BPD wouldn’t let go a despite conscious efforts to hide it by preempting conversations, meetings, social events and thoughts, it would rear it’s ugly head at the most unexpected times and would expose my fragility in the most humiliating way it could. Yet all along not knowing what was wrong was the most distressing aspect of living in un-diagnosed BPD. This brings me to my second mate.

He is me ten years ago. He is drifting from one job to the next, one house to the next, one relationship to the next. Always looking for relief in other people or drugs. He does not know whats wrong with him, but I do. I can’t approach him about this, as he would deny there is a problem in a macho response. But the pattern of behaviour is clear both from my own experiences and those I have read about, there is no denying it when you know what to look for.  I have deep empathy for this mate, he has a long road ahead, but the denial would prevent recognition and I guess he has to reach the point where he asks for help. Most blokes never do. It’s seen as a sign of weakness.  This prevents many blokes seeking the appropriate help. We are all to often quick to self assess and call it by another name such as I am just an alcoholic or just a drug addict etc, etc.  As a male I could accept being a drug addict or alcoholic as it has connotations of choice and maintains the illusion of being in some sort of control of your condition. A flawed psych has no such connotation of control and is a fundamental assault on the male ego, of being a provider, the strong role model to children, a man’s man and in control.

Unfortunately for my friend, he will struggle and I am sure he will reach out to me when he needs to. I can direct him to services, but like myself it is a journey most men travel alone or suffer in silence and shame, until it demands attention and treatment. Such is the male ego.

So, in conclusion, in my experience the ratio of BPD men actually out there in my opinion is a statistical aberration and could be far higher than we think. Although this is factually baseless, as a man who never knew and would have probably never have found out my diagnosis regardless of harrowing vain attempts to gain self awareness and understanding, I believe there are so many men out there who like me have just given up hope or don’t have the time or don’t wish to be seen as flawed and live their lives oblivious to their source of pain and frustration.

At the risk of being called a wuss. I am a man and I have BPD.



Filed under Uncategorized

Win a DBT Workbook

Win a DBT Workbook here –

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized