Guest Interview 2 (Part 1)

Rory:  Thanks for being a guest on The Write Place.

Laurel:  You’re welcome.

Rory:  We’re here to talk about your experiences with mental health. How are you doing these days?

Laurel: I’m actually doing probably, like… This era, these past few months my mental health has probably been the best–some of the best it’s ever been in my life. Which is very wild for me to think about because earlier this year was some of the worst it’s ever been in my life. So it’s kind of crazy to think about how much that’s changed this year for me, but… I’m doing really well right now.

Rory:  That is crazy, I’m glad to hear that.

Laurel:  Thank you.

Rory:  So if you don’t mind, can I ask if you’ve ever been diagnosed with a mental illness?

Laurel:  Yes, I do mind actually– no, just kidding.

Rory:  Oh no!

Laurel: No. (laughs) I have a list, a long list. I’ll go in chronological order.

So when I was 12, freshly-turned 12, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I was put on antidepressants for that, which didn’t really help. And then I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was also 12. I went to Shodair, and that’s where they diagnosed me with bipolar. And then when I was also 12, I was diagnosed with anorexia and got treatment for that, at Shodair also, kind of.

And then it was a few more years before I was diagnosed with anything else. I kind of stopped going to therapy for a while between, like, 13 and 14. And then I went back to Shodair. And then I was still having the same issues. I was suicidal and really, really depressed and anxious for those early teenage years.

And then when I was 16, I came out as trans. And then during my transition, I actually didn’t really suffer from any mental illness. I kind of saw transitioning as my treatment for everything that I had gone through in my life, and it actually really helped me to focus on that over every other illness I’ve ever had.

But then when I was 19, I de-transitioned and went off of the hormones, which I think had helped me kind of balance out my mental illness. So I started to struggle again, when I was 19, with depression and anxiety. And then I kind of went through the next, like, 2 years of my life having crazy mood swings and not really understanding where this was coming from and what was happening. I wasn’t sure, like, what was going on or where my life was going or anything like that.

And then I got into a relationship when I was 20, and that affected my mental health extremely. Also COVID didn’t help. But I ended up feeling like I was fucking crazy in my relationship because I kept going back and forth on what I wanted, even though I was in love with my partner. I also kept breaking up with him, and then wanting to get back together, and then breaking up with him again, and then wanting to get back together.

And eventually I was like, “I’m sick of this, and I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I’m gonna try and find another therapist that can help me.” And it had been a few years since I’d been in therapy because I didn’t really need it when I was trans. But then when I de-transitioned, that’s when all these problems seemed to start. And finally I found a therapist in January of this year, where I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

And, to me, I feel like that ended up explaining all of the other problems that I’d had in my life during my teenage years. And even coming out as trans, I feel like that explained why I felt like this was my identity, and that gave me a sense of self and a sense of purpose in life. And it also explained my other problems I had with my relationship and going back and forth on that.

So getting that diagnosis really improved my life because I felt like I finally had an explanation for the way that I had felt my whole life and not even realized. So ever since then, I’ve been working on trying to treat it, and that’s why my life has improved so much this year, is because I finally know what to fix.


Rory: (laughs) It’s definitely very good to have a definite explanation or diagnosis.

Laurel:  Yeah. It helped.

Rory:  So how long do you think you experienced symptoms even before you were initially misdiagnosed with depression? Maybe not “misdiagnosed”, but not fully diagnosed?

Laurel:  Yeah, I know what you mean. Well, I was actually–I forgot to mention this–I was diagnosed with depression again by a different therapist before I started seeing my therapist now. In September of last year, I was diagnosed with depression, and I was like, “That’s not the only thing. Like, I know I’m depressed, but that’s not the whole explanation.”

Rory:  And borderline personality disorder can cause depression, it’s characterized by ups and downs of mood, so not every borderline personality patient has depression.

Laurel:  Yeah. Right. Yeah. But it can definitely coexist for sure.

Rory:  Yeah. Such as bipolar and borderline, which is mine.

Laurel:  Right. Yeah. I would say I was misdiagnosed with bipolar when I was 12 because I don’t think that diagnosis was accurate at the time, and I don’t think it lasted for me through my life either.

Rory:  So you don’t believe you had manic episodes?

Laurel:  No, I don’t think so.

Rory:  I think you’d know if you did.

Laurel:  Yeah. ‘Cause I never felt, like…

Rory:  That high. Like, you might have felt agitated and irritable, which is more borderline than bipolar. Whereas bipolar is more of a high.

Laurel:  Yeah. I mean, I don’t know, but there’s not really a time period of my life where I can think about, like, feeling like I was going really high and really low.

So yeah, I would say I started experiencing symptoms of BPD when I hit puberty, I would say. That’s around when I first turned 12. That’s when I was starting to have trouble with school, which ended up becoming a big part of my life, like I dropped out of high school. And school became a huge struggle when I hit puberty.

It’s crazy because it really does explain pretty much everything for me. Even though you can’t be diagnosed with BPD until you’re, like, 18, I think it started affecting me when I hit puberty when I was 12.

Rory:  Well, it is usually caused by childhood trauma, so it does occur before you hit 18, like, almost definitely.

Laurel:  Yeah. Right. Yeah. So it’s been affecting my life for, like, a decade.

To be continued…

Published by Rawry

I'm just a writer and gamer living in the middle of nowhere..

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