Friday, September 13, 2019

Correcting Bad Behaviors

The symptoms of mental illness do not manifest themselves all at once. For example, before I was diagnosed as bipolar, there were warning signs. I remember perching myself on a window ledge nineteen floors above Greenwich Village. I had no intent to commit suicide. I wanted to scare my boyfriend in order to win the argument we were having. At the time, my boyfriend didn’t know what to do so he got my parents involved. They took me to their physician on Long Island. I told everyone I was having problems adjusting to law school. My parents went home after securing a promise I would complete my three years. The doctor recommended a mental health practice group in Greenwich Village. I made an initial appointment. I saw a man who sized up the situation completely and was not afraid to say so. I spent almost two decades running away from his words. That’s exactly what a borderline personality diagnosis looks like and he knew it right away.

When I compare who I was pre-diagnosis to who I am now, I see two different people. I have no idea why that particular boyfriend was willing to continue our relationship. Yet, he stuck by me throughout my recovery and is now my husband of thirty years. I’ve taught our children, now 16 and 18, not to tolerate that type of behavior from a partner. That is something for which a couple needs professional help.

Now I want to tell others that identifying and correcting bad behaviors is key to recovery. They can have a better ending … because I found one.

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