I’ve always been given the title of “troubled” growing up. I always had some sort of issue. I was the kid who cried every single day in school. I was the sensitive kid who cried over every little thing. I was always terrified of everything and everyone. It’s clear now, that I was this way because I was being abused but at the time, it wasn’t known by literally anyone how I was being treated therefore nobody knew what my problem was… so I was just “troubled”
Eventually I was given the diagnoses of anxiety, and later depression but something was still “off”. Lots of kids have anxiety and depression but lots of kids weren’t 10 years old and having a full blown panic attack when their teacher scolds them for calling out in math class… lots of kids don’t flinch every time someone moves suddenly or tries to touch them. But a lot of those kids aren’t being abused everyday.
Looking back, it’s truly incredible that I could be viewed as so troubled and problematic by teachers, friends, and other adults yet nobody questioned abuse… and then when I was 13, the idea of abuse left everyone’s mind because I finally had a “diagnosis” as to why I act the way I do… or did. Or so everybody thought…..
Before I tell this exciting story- it’s important to know that from the time I was 10 until I was about 15 or 16 I was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility 19 times. Yes. 19 times. The first 5 or 6 times were because of suicidal thoughts along with symptoms of psychosis. But by the time I was 13/14 I became so desperate to escape my home life and get away from J, that I learned to manipulate the system and knew exactly what to say to the doctors so I could be admitted for a week or more. I didn’t view it as lying. Part of me really was depressed and suicidal. The other part was just begging to be heard. I’m definitely not proud of being so manipulative and lying, but I was so beyond desperate and grew to love the hospital because I received the attention I craved so badly at home.
***So. Now you know that and even though you’re all a bunch of strangers, I feel ashamed and fear of being viewed differently…. by strangers. But we don’t need to get into that today. Just know that this isn’t super easy to write about. ****
When I was 14, doctors became suspicious. So my psychiatrist ordered a series of intensive psychological testing to be done. Things like ink blots, IQ tests and other things to determine why I was having such a difficult time. All together, I think I had close to 30 hours of testing done. I recently learned it was the same testing given to people who commit horrific crimes like murder to see if they are capable to stand trial. That is neither here nor there just thought it was a fun fact.
Now- what I was told is very different than what the truth is.
So the doctor had a meeting with my parents. I have no idea what was said because I wasn’t allowed to be there. I also wasn’t allowed to see my file. So I was going by sheer trust that J would tell me the truth… because why would a mother lie?
J told me that the doctor diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder. THAT was why I was suicidal and had trust issues, and was scared all the time. BPD. So there was an answer. Alas. She’s not crazy. She’s not troubled. She has borderline. So now we know. And like any other diagnosis- the next step is treatment… because with treatment, you get better. So— I was put in group therapy and given medication and was in 1-1 therapy with someone who specialized in borderline personality disorder. J and my father went to support groups and conferences. And everything was great because NOW we know what’s wrong with Maggie. Anytime I had a problem, whether I was sad or angry or even happy, it was blamed on BPD. If I was “acting troubled” it was because of BPD.
The problem with borderline personality disorder is that society still has a very warped view of the illness. Society still has a pretty warped view on every mental illness in general but especially borderline. A big thing that was ingrained into my mind was whether or not I was always telling the whole truth. Or if I was exaggerating the truth. I don’t know much about borderline personality disorder and I’ve never gotten a chance to meet someone who has it but I was told by many medical professionals as well as my parents that a common symptom of borderline personality disorder is exaggeration and lying. Again, I don’t know if this is true or not I’m just going by what I was told.
Because of this fact, nothing I ever said was taken seriously. I was being bullied in school so badly that I eventually had to change schools. But when I told people of what was happening it was never taken seriously because of my BPD diagnosis. I was no longer Maggie, I was Maggie who has borderline personality disorder. Everything I said and everything I did was taken with a grain of salt. To this day, there are people in my life who question the amount of truth in things I say.
Fast forward to January of 2020. I have lived the past 8 years believing I have BPD when I come across a file on my laptop called- “Maggie Bakers medical files” and in that file was my medical report from The psychological testing I had eight years prior. Remember? The one that was kept from me?
So I sat there and read the entire file from start to finish. The doctor wrote how I was outgoing and had a positive personality but was unsure and scared of a lot of things. Things that normal teenagers aren’t scared of. He said I was terrified of making people mad the fact that is still true to this very day. I wasn’t shocked reading any of this until I got to the last few pages and realized something I wasn’t expecting-
Nowhere in the file…. was borderline personality disorder mentioned.
Do you want to know what was mentioned? What my true diagnosis was at 14 years old? The one that was kept from me? The one that now at 23 I am trying to convince doctors is the real truth and I’m not just lying again?
Childhood trauma and emotional neglect.