Am I Really Borderline?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I was diagnosed with BPD in 2004. I feel this was in error and that not enough attention was paid to the issues I was dealing with at the time. I was serving aboard a naval ship where I was sexually assaulted and felt I was not getting help and that the crime was not being sufficiently investigated. That being the case there were outburst, that I still feel were justified, and a breakdown. The breakdown was a result of complete frustration at being almost raped then being told that my reaction lacked crying and real emotion and that I probably misunderstood his advances as force. Eventually he was convicted but I was outcast as a whiner who needed to understand how things worked on the ship.

I sought counseling and was told that my actions during that time resembled the symptoms of BPD (although after much research not one thing matches me even during that period). I was disappointed with the diagnosis or lack of a correct one and saw another doctor who told me I had PTSD but that he was unwilling to go against another naval shrink’s diagnosis.

I want to schedule a visit with yet another doctor but since a lot of what I’ve read on BPD says people who have it are manipulative, is it worth it if I may be seen as just “playing” the doctor to get a more preferable diagnosis. Is it possible that I am just missing the symptoms in myself?

A: Anything is possible – including that you are right. But more important to me than what label someone decides fits you is this: What are you doing to feel whole and safe again? You were traumatized by a near rape, then retraumatized by being made an outcast for having complained. Then your doctors got into debating a label instead of helping you work it through. It sounds to me like you need an experienced therapist who can work with you, regardless of your diagnosis. Move beyond diagnosis into the work of therapy so you can once again trust your own instincts and find loving relationships.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 May 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). Am I Really Borderline?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/05/01/am-i-really-borderline/