Diagnosing BPD…

…when and how?

A friend is currently going through the process of having her daughter tested for a suspected Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her daughter is the same age as Porglet Maximus and has obvious difficulties controlling her emotions.

When I was that age, I would say my BPD was pretty obvious, if  you knew exactly what to look for. In those days, however, you just didn’t think about a mental health condition in a child. BPD certainly wasn’t as well understood in the 1980’s as it is now.

I grew up believing everyone had the same emotional reactions as I did, but that everyone else dealt with them better. With hindsight, it’s obvious I was born with wonky brain wiring which led to exaggerated emotional reactions and all or nothing/ black & white thinking.

Knowing I was born “different” has been key to my “recovery”. Accepting the condition and the fact it’s not my fault is what enables me to get through situations I couldn’t have 6 or 16 years ago.

It’s easy for me to then assume that if I’d been diagnosed earlier, my life would have been easier. It probably would but that didn’t happen and I can’t change that.

But would I push for a diagnosis in either of my girls in childhood? Yes I would (not that either of them have BPD as I know it). Teaching Porglet Minimus some basic mindfulness and emotion regulation skills has brought about a HUGE improvement in her behaviour at home with me. She and Maximus are starting to learn how to control their emotions rather than letting their emotions control them.

Some people don’t like labels…but how do you know the right way to help someone without one? I didn’t have a label and I suffered for far longer than I ought to. I only received my label at 29 and I know of many people not getting diagnosed until later than that.

Until I was given my diagnosis, I was dealing with the unknown. I didn’t have an instruction manual. I was depressed and confused. With the label, I could get to work.

If you suspect a problem, get it dealt with. If you suspect a child has difficulties, look into it. Most times it will likely be normal childhood behaviour but sometimes it isn’t. Speaking from the viewpoint of someone who went through a lot of pain and suffering because of a lack of understanding, do it for them. A medical professional is going to be able to tell if your child has a problem as severe as Autism or BPD.

No matter how old you are, learning how your brain works is vital if you ever want to be happy within yourself.

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