Clinical depression or bpd?

Hi, I was on this site around 3 years ago when I was suffering from psychosis,untreated depression and several suicide attempts. All since then has been very up and down (several intense relationships, and some friemdship breakdowns) but I've not had any suicidal thoughts or severe psychosis as I am on 100 mg Sertraline for what I'm now diagnosed with - clinical depression.

I feel like it may be more though, and I've been speakingwith my older brother who is diagnosed with bpd (my other sibling is diagnosed with bi-polar disorder) and there's a lot of similarities in what we struggle with for example irrational and emotional in relationships, never too sure of our own personalities (it shifts depending on who we're with), addictive/risky behaviours and easily triggered in a completely different mood.

I've known for a while that it was something more than clinical depression but then I begin to wonder if I'm looking too hard for something to excuse my poor self esteem, confidence and relationship skills.

What should I do? Does it sound like bpd?

Thanks in advance.

8 Replies

  • Hello em89, the difficulty with identifying symptoms from various mental disorders, is that you can end up convincing yourself that you have a specific illness, only identify the symptoms you experience and miss some of the others out. Are you in the UK or elsewhere? I ask because psychiatrists in different countries use different manuals of disorders to diagnose illness.

    I have Bipolar Disorder and before I was diagnosed with this by a psychiatrist, my CPN and Care coordinator thought I had BPD. When I told the psychiatrist this he just laughed and shook his head and said that everyone was being diagnosed with BPD at the moment. It is the newest fad in psychiatry at the moment.

    My psychiatrist did say that there is some evidence of a genetic link in Bipolar, so if your brother has been diagnosed, then statistically you are more at risk of developing the disorder, however there is also the impact of environmental factors to consider. So in my case, there was a genetic predisposition to Bipolar and because I had an absolutely dreadful childhood it triggered the disease. This was compounded by the type of work I went into, which was very traumatic and costly to my emotions, I have ended up with Complex PTSD. Perhaps if I had not had the childhood I had, and not done the jobs I did, the genetic predisposition would have sat quietly and not triggered.

    You have asked what to do, I would recommend asking your Doctor/GP to refer you to a psychiatrist. Your GP can diagnose depression and prescribe meds for it, but anything more complex than that needs a psychiatrist. Go back and keep asking your GP, explain that the meds you are taking are not helping with all the symptoms. It might be a good idea to keep a mood diary over a month, then you have some hard evidence to show the GP or psychiatrist on how your moods change. There are lots available on the internet.

    You say you have poor self esteem, confidence and relationship skills. Are you going out? what type of things are you interested in? Perhaps you can find a local group who do things that you are interested in? Unfortunately the thing with depression is that it stops you going out, you hide away at home thinking you are safe and that the world outside is too complicated, frightening, fast, chaotic and that there is no place in it for you. This is the illness speaking, you have to battle it, and it is a battle. I will suffer panic attacks if the place I am in is too crowded. But I will continue to go out, do the things I like to do and not let it win.

    I hope this helps, take care.


  • Why thankyou 😊

  • Thankyou for your advice Fi, and that's exactly what I was scared I was doing so keeping a mood diary and requesting to see a psychiatrist seems like a good route.

    My family have a complex MH history and my childhood was confusing, my mum decided ahe was a lesbian divorced my dad, we then experienced discrimination. Her partner was a cold hearted and judgemental person and I spent my childhood with her bully of a daughter. Hence the skewed self view and self esteem. Bullying continued at school too and eventually uni then work. I now work in Probation and have had a few unpleasant experiences but generally ok. I seem to really struggle with my MH when I'm in relationships and I'm now married so I really want to sort this!

  • You are welcome 😊

  • Hello again ,Em. The fact that you are now married is wonderful news . In my experience (I'm 73 and bipolar) support and help from a loving partner is probably the most important factor in fighting depression. When I was depressed my wife continued to arrange a social life I did n't want to arrange and often I found a huge strain to take part in. However although it was often a strain I believe this continuing social interaction was of huge benefit to me. Work is also a huge help, one continues to feel useful, it generates more social interaction and also avoids the extra stresses lack of money can bring.

    Make sure you show appreciation of the support your partner gives so that your more withdrawn nature when depressed is not misinterpreted.


  • Try not putting labels on your condition. Many people suffer a chemical imbalance within the brain. It is more important you try and understand your needs and how to address your problems and move on

    To understand the above and try to approach each illness independent to the next is the best way to approach things, trying to work out pathways to sort out your complaint.

    Slice each problem into little bits and address each of these bits, when stuck move on to your next problem and do the same. Eventually you will defeat your problems and move on. To be able to control your concerns will help in moving on.

    With my health I live for the day and that helps me not to worry to far ahead. I also find that when I look for diversions from my conditions that helps me control the negativity and fears Your BI-Polar, you may find you cannot treat it, your medications can control to some level your mental health concerns and this may help you make inroads into a positive mood and outlook

    Keep a hold


  • Yes it does sound like bipolar which is tricky to diagnose and you will need your GP to refer you to a psychiatrist to get a diagnosis confirmed. I'm no medic but I think most recurring depressions are diagnosed as bipolar of some kind. Thats not the end of the world and you could be prescribed drugs and/or therapy which will help. this is help you will almost certainly need as very few if any can successfully fight bipolar without medical help.

    Apart from medical help you will find your own courage and resolve are just as ,if not more ,important and success is not easy but with plenty of that and medical help it is possible to lead a productive and largely happy life although there will almost certainly be extended periods of unhappy and painful depression.

    All these labels are just a medical convenience to make the problems of psychological ill health manageable for the medical profession. The whole problem is very poorly understood, every one's life experiences are different, and our very complex brains are all different . However progress is constantly being made and because of the vast cost of mental ill health which is increasing rapidly with aging populations and increased dementia there are now at least four huge international projects to tackle the problem on a truly scientific basis but it will be some years before they bear fruit . However I ,for one, expect that the next and succeeding generations will receive incredibly improved help we can not imagine at the moment.

    You sound young enough that you may benefit from this research and will probably be able to live to a very happy old age, when old age might mean over 100.


  • In my experience BPD is more towards the narcissism end of mental illness scale in that people who suffer from it spend months, years or forever fighting any diagnosis of the condition. Yes of course there are exceptions and there is a scale of severity. But having a complex emotional disorder does not mean BPD.

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