Help me use these new mental health diagnoses to find resources
November 21, 2017 7:00 AM   Subscribe

Had severe, treatment-resistant depression for a long time. Recently, after a few suicide attempts, there are two new diagnoses on the horizon: my psychiatrist thinks I may have bipolar 2 rather than depression, my therapist agrees and is pretty sure I also have borderline personality disorder. I've got a basic, Tumblr-and-Wikipedia-level understanding of both of those. I know they're treatable and the stigma they carry is often unfair. I know DBT for borderline is A Thing. What else should I know about living with either of these diagnoses? What books or articles should I read? What resources should I make use of?
posted by nebulawindphone to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I have Bipolar 1 and some of the books and Facebook posts by Julie A. Fast are quite helpful. I am not great at putting advice from self-help books into practice generally though, if you are the same you might respond better to the therapist working directly with you.
posted by AuroraSky at 7:34 AM on November 21, 2017

Response by poster: (Sorry, just to clarify: I like my therapist and my psychiatrist and I do intend to keep working with them. I'm not looking for resources to "replace" them with, just wanting extra inspiration and food for thought wherever I can find it.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:41 AM on November 21, 2017

I feel for you. I have had lifelong treatment resistant depression. You can read my past posts. I have spent hours a day and thousand a month to try and kick it.

The first thing that I recommend is finding a good therapist and doctor. This can sometimes take a few tries. Make sure that you are well researched and being your own advocate. This can be tricky. I have had doctors tell me that I am Bipolar 2 and others tell me that I am not.

I would also look into ketamine infusions.

Feel free to message me if you would like more info
posted by kbbbo at 7:44 AM on November 21, 2017

The best education I ever got on mental health was referral to group treatment for medication management. I sit in a room with 8 other people for medication management. I learn about all the other treatment regimens and about some supplemental therapies. If anything in particular is of interest, I can google it later.

Crazymeds was a good resource, and you can still browse it I think to get cocktail ideas and learn the basic drug categories, but it’s out of date.

A lot of internet sources are biased towards the unwell. If you have bipolar 2 or borderline and you’re feeling well, typically you’re not posting on the internet about it. Some internet resources (eg reddit) are not useful because of this.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:22 AM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I recently listened to this podcast - an interview with someone who has borderline personality disorder:

It's actually really, really good.
posted by kitcat at 9:46 AM on November 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ok, hold on, I'm sorry but I just checked the comments on that podcast and several people have commented to say that she is painting much too rosy a picture of her illness. I felt surprised myself by how positive a portrayal of BPD it was, but it was for that reason I thought it would be good to recommend. If you listen, please take it with a grain of salt.
posted by kitcat at 9:54 AM on November 21, 2017

I'd look for writing by Marsha Linehan, who is the founder of DBT.
posted by namemeansgazelle at 10:08 AM on November 21, 2017

A quick suggestion I have is to check if there are any inpatient/outpatient DBT programs in your area that are in-network with your insurance. Second reading Marsha Linehan, and check out the book Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. It's written for someone who loves someone with BPD, but can be a useful resource for talking to yourself.
posted by lilies.lilies at 10:19 AM on November 21, 2017

A book that was really meaningful for me in understanding my Bipolar Disorder is An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison, as well as her other works. I love her because she is at the top of her field and also is diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder herself so she brings both of those things into her writing about the disorder. Her writing is also very beautiful and descriptive.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 12:55 PM on November 21, 2017

Also, if it matters to you (it seems like it could be reassuring to know), Linehan acknowledged 5-6 years ago that she not only developed the most accepted treatment for BPD, but she suffered from BPD herself, earlier in life.
posted by Smearcase at 1:54 PM on November 21, 2017

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