Of course, it’s impossible to provide a diagnosis over the internet based on only a short letter. I would highly recommend undergoing a full assessment with a mental health professional. They will collect personal and psychosocial information about your life and interview you at length, which would help them to determine if a psychological diagnosis is warranted. There’s a tremendous advantage to conducting an in-depth interview as it allows the evaluator the opportunity to ask probing questions and to gauge an individual’s responses, observe body language and so forth. A thorough evaluation is the best place to start.
Although I cannot provide a diagnosis over the internet, I can provide some general feedback about your symptoms. In general, nothing you have described necessarily, fits borderline personality disorder. Rather, there may not be any one particular diagnosis that fully encompasses your symptoms. You lost your father to suicide at a very young age. That’s traumatic for anyone at any age but even more so for a child. It makes sense that you would begin acting out after the loss of your father. That is expected, especially given the absence of any intervention for the trauma of losing a parent to suicide. You were left to fend for yourself. Anyone would have struggled in that circumstance, most especially a young child.
Then, you had to deal with your mother repeatedly emotionally and physically abusing you. You stated that your needs were “almost never met.” You had to take care of yourself and your siblings when you were only a child. You lived, as you said, in a constant state of fear. There’s an enormous body of research that exists demonstrating the long-term damage of physical and emotional abuse on children. Studies show that children who were abused, sometimes develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In these studies, children with PTSD, as a result of having been physically and emotionally abused, continued to experience elevated levels of stress even on “normal days” when nothing especially stressful was happening. In other words, their stress systems continued to be turned on even when they didn’t need to be. This creates a heightened sense of anxiety for a child, leaving them feeling uneasy, uncertain, and on edge. This may be what you had experienced and perhaps continue to experience.
At that point, as you got older, you began to do things such as dye your hair, experiment with drugs, and so forth. That’s fairly typical behavior among many teenagers but especially among those who lack support and guidance in their lives. You were doing the best that you could, given your difficult circumstances.
Fast forward to today. As you mentioned, you continue to experience problems but that’s not surprising given the fact that you seemingly have yet to try treatment. You spent some time in a hospital but typically hospital stays are short and are only meant to stabilize an individual’s acute mental state. Once the emergency has passed, hospitals typically discharge patients and recommend outpatient treatment for longer-term therapy.
My recommendation is counseling. Medication alone is not meeting your needs, as evidenced by the fact that you continue to have many distressing symptoms despite being on Prozac. You might benefit from dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) which was developed as a specific treatment for borderline personality disorder but is also effective for other disorders. The key is to find a therapist you like and trust and with whom you feel comfortable. I always advise interviewing at least 4 to 5 therapists, over the phone, before beginning making a choice. Choose the one who you like the best. In this pandemic environment, your only therapy option may be by telehealth. Many people are finding it more convenient than traditional therapy.
All of the symptoms you have described are treatable. With the right help and guidance, you can overcome these issues. I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle