Dear DSM, thanks for the ‘improvement’

So, in true NHS-style, I have found out my co-morbid diagnosis through the medium of a copied letter to my new MH team. The letter is the discharge letter from Early Intervention to CMHRS and is headlined with ‘Diagnosis: Schizoaffective Disorder manic type, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.’… Charming.

EUPD is the new DSM (the mental health ‘bible’) term for Borderline Personality Disorder. A bit of reading tells me that the reason it was called borderline was because it was somewhere between a psychiatric diagnosis and a behavioural response – so it was literally on the border-line. Now it’s called EUPD, there’s a lot less to… hide behind? By which I mean – it’s less euphemistic, more direct and straightforward.

The problem I have with the EUPD version of this diagnosis is that it just sounds dreadful. It connotes images of wailing, histrionic women who need chocolate and wine to get through (and that’s only me half the time… well, who doesn’t find chocolate and wine to be a nice treat?). I much prefer the BPD label.

And I know – trust me I know – that this makes no real or dramatic difference to my current state of mind. It is just a definition for a professional to use to fit me into a box for treatment. I can’t even argue with the diagnosis; I meet lots of criteria that indicate this is the correct label (mind.org.uk has an article, if you want to see me in a new light…). I think it’s just that it is now defined and labelled and ‘real’. I know; it was real before it was labelled.

So I need to work out what this means to me now. I know – rationally – it shouldn’t make a difference, really – should it? It does mean one very good thing and that is the chance to engage with a psychologist for talk therapy (yes, I need to fill out the forms and yes, I’ve been putting it off).

Does this change me, or just my perception of me? Should I be happy to have something that defines the ridiculous highs and lows I swing through every bloody day. Something that helps me understand that my quick-fire anger and subsequent self-mental-beatings are actually a real issue that I can have assistance to resolve? And do I have the patience to wait for therapy, wait out these daily troubles and challenges and somehow make it out the other side?

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Dear DSM, thanks for the ‘improvement’