Right from the get go, I was full of emotion. My mom told me that I was a very colicky baby. As I reached my childhood years, my irritability and wide range of emotions did not change. I was a very smart child, but I was very disruptive in school. In first grade, I would often complete my work earlier than the other kids and then go around the room calling the other kids stupid, roll on the floor, or exhibit other disruptive behavior that led to parent/teacher meetings quite frequently. My teacher thought I had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and wanted me put on Ritalin. My parents refused. I started a private school in fourth grade as it challenged me more than when I was in public school. My behavioral issues carried over. I would still bully classmates and any other kids that I was in extra curricular activities with (i.e. scratching people, hitting, etc.) and I again found myself occasionally in the principal’s office. I was also somewhat of a drama queen—I was the kid that would make a scene at a sleepover or always had to have the attention on me.
In middle school, I started having seizures that neurologists could not find a cause for (although one neurologist suggested that a porencephalic cyst in my brain could be the cause). To see if it could have a psychological origin, I was put in a pediatric psych unit for a few days. I was given an MMPI-A and the results were relayed to my parents—they thought I had Borderline Personality Disorder, but I could not be formally diagnosed with a personality disorder until I was at least 18 years old. A few months later, we found a physician that put me on Depakote and the seizures stopped. I did fine throughout high school and was involved in band and various other activities in school like any other teenager was.
My first year of college went well and everything seemed fine. Around my sophomore year in college, I started getting really depressed, had really bad anxiety, and I started drinking. I was put on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications (in addition to the Depakote I was already on for the seizures) and tried counseling. My mom did not see any improvement in my behavior, so she stopped paying for the counseling. Despite being on the medication, I still did not feel any better. I went in-patient voluntarily. The psychiatrist thought I was normal and there was nothing wrong with me. I left without a diagnosis. Things really did not improve and I switched colleges to see if starting over somewhere else would help. I still had the same feelings and I still drank. One night I got extremely drunk and I ended up in the ICU for a couple of days (I was 22 years old by this time, so I was legal).
After one semester, I switched back to my original college. I started into the nursing program (which was the third time I switched my major) and I loved it. I never learned how to cope with stress and I was/am a perfectionist. During my senior year in college, I had a serious suicide attempt. I had had a lot of suicidal ideation in my life (first time I thought of killing myself, I was 7 years old), self harming behavior (I would bang my head against my bed post and cut myself with a knife), and a couple less serious/low lethality suicide attempts before. This time I was exhausted—physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. I attempted suicide at a hotel with a bag and duct tape (the idea was to suffocate). There was a little voice inside that told me to stop. I went to the lobby for help. I ended up in the ER, then the ICU, and subsequently, a psych unit (temporary detention order) where my entering diagnosis was Major Depressive Disorder. Again, the psychiatrist thought I was delightful and normal. I had a court hearing and I was allowed release with an order for mandatory outpatient treatment. I left without a diagnosis. I received treatment and my first psychiatrist thought I had Bipolar Disorder I. He retired and I got a new psychiatrist. The second psychiatrist did not think I had Bipolar; he thought I had Borderline Personality Disorder (with a co-morbidity of alcohol abuse). Borderline Personality Disorder is the diagnosis that is attached to my nursing license and it was the second time I got that diagnosis, so that is what I stuck with. I am open about my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder because I think it will help fight the stigma of having it.
I have been in counseling for a little over two years and go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I do not take any medications now. I am involved in NAMI as a Connections facilitator and I am also trained in Peer to Peer.