After an hour and a half of questions, the psychiatrist told me that I met the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder. 'It's better if this doesn't go in your notes,' she said, referring to my NHS medical records. It's information for you, she told me, something for you to know. It doesn't need to be on official record.
Being told this by a consultant psychiatrist communicated to me loud and clear that my diagnosis was something to be hidden. Something not to be shared, even with other medical professionals. It made me feel ashamed.
Maybe she was attempting giving me freedom from a hugely stigmatised diagnosis. But being told that my diagnosis shouldn't be on my notes filled me with fear. It was something I carried around with me, taking care to hide from GPs, crisis mental health services, even therapists.
I also know that I had an eating disorder, depression and anxiety written down in my NHS medical records without any hesitation. But according to a psychiatrist, it was 'better' if Borderline Personality Disorder didn't go in my notes.
In that strange time that followed my diagnosis, I quickly learnt that BPD is amongst the most stigmatised mental illnesses, not only within society but within the medical profession too. Getting a diagnosis of BPD was completely different to my experience of being diagnosed with depression, anxiety and an anorexia-type eating disorder.
A much, much harder experience...