Megan had her first appointment with her new counselor (appointments with this doctor are just that booked up so it took that long to see her). Megan likes her, so that helps a bit. From the session, Megan brought home new information – she was told that, when she was hospitalized, she had been diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder. This diagnosis makes a lot more sense than everything else that various doctors have “labeled” her with. I’ll ask for more clarity when we go to the meds appointment with her psychiatrist, as he wrote down that he felt she was Bipolar. I realize the doctors need some sort of diagnosis to work from, but I also feel that “labels” can be just as damaging and even confusing.
Megan’s new counselor also sent her home with “homework” – quite a few handouts to read through and to help understand what BPD is. She also gave her a book list, from which we have ordered I Hate You–Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality and we printed out an article about Dr. Marsha Linehan and her own struggles with BPD. I hope that Megan takes to heart how Dr. Linehan took her own personal struggles and turned them around into a way to help others.
I like how the treatment seems to focus more on learning ways to modify behavior and to cope with situations that tend to set Megan off. I hope she will want to develop the skills she needs. For any of this to help, Megan has to want it to and commit to it. I do find myself a bit uneasy with some of the approach being based in a number of Buddhist principles – one of the books the counselor mentioned was The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating. But meditation and reflection are not bad things at all. At this point I just want Megan to develop the coping skills she needs and perhaps not need or want to rely on medications or alcohol as her way to cope.
While searching for the books on Megan’s reading list, I saw the title Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder – it leap off the screen at me! That’s what has felt like for years now – having to be careful what is said or done to not set her off. It also sounds like a book that I might be ordering additional copies of and sending to other family members. Most of them no longer “know what to do” when it comes to Megan. Maybe it will even help calm the explosiveness between Megan and her father.
I’ve also found an online support group for “Family Members with a Borderline Loved One“. The first paragraph says it all:
Having a family member with Borderline Personality Disorder can make you feel all alone, with no one to talk to who really understands.
I pray that my expectations of this new counselor are not unrealistic – I’m hoping that Megan will develop the coping skills to be able to tackle the day to day life challenges that most of us take for granted. I’m hoping that she will find the drive and initiative to want to get better, move beyond the feeling that nobody understands her or that she is all alone, to move out of the mire of self-pity. I pray that we can get to the day where we don’t have to worry about what we say or do, to be able to cut up and just be us again. And more importantly, for Megan to be able to stand on her own two feet.
I wonder if the gloomy posts on Facebook are more harmful than good. I know she wants to let people know how she is doing, but right now none of her family is communicating with her. They seem to be stuck in not knowing what to say or how to respond to her. Same thing seems to be happening to me, they don’t seem to know how to reach out and offer words of encouragement or support.
So Megan is a little different, just like Kermit the Frog, it’s not easy being green but:
When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful
And I think it’s what I want to be