A woman has been misdiagnosed with borderline personality disorder. And after 5 years, she discovered that she had autism.

Bree Conklin with her son.

Bree Conklin with her son who was also diagnosed with autism.Bree Conklin

  • Bree Conklin was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder when she was 27 years old.

  • And it was only 5 years later when another doctor suggested she might be autistic instead.

  • Conklin said the experience made her more empathetic to people with autism and BPD.

When Bree Conklin was 27, she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

The doctor who diagnosed her while working in Germany said that this was the reason for her breakdown, her self-harming behavior, and her suicidal thoughts. According to him, Conklin was also “seductive” and “manipulative” because she dated multiple men at once.

However, Conklin did not feel that she was intentionally misleading anyone. “Looking back now, I take things literally, and I thought you could date multiple people at the same time and then decide who you wanted to be in a relationship with,” Conklin, 39, told Insider. “I was going on three or four dates a day because I thought that was what adults were supposed to do.”

Bree Conklin

Bree Conklin when she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.Bree Conklin

After being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, Conklin took a keen interest in the subject, and purchased several books on it. But after reading more about mental illness, the diagnosis confused her even more.

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by an intense fear of abandonment, mood swings, and unstable relationship patterns. According to the Mayo Clinic. While Conklin did display some symptoms such as extreme mood swings and instability, she struggled to connect the other symptoms. Several books have also cited a lack of empathy and frequent lying as characteristics of the disorder, which they had nothing to do with.

However, she remained committed to the diagnosis for years, telling partners and friends that she had BPD and was seeking treatment for the disorder.

He prescribed her medication, which made her symptoms much worse

To treat her symptoms, Conklin was prescribed Abilify, an antipsychotic medication used to treat disorders such as borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia. But she said that made her experience frightening side effects.

“I didn’t leave my house for three months, and I was convinced that if I ate anywhere, people would try to poison me,” she said. It wasn’t until I stopped the medication and started Cognitive behavioral therapy She felt better.

Her relationships suffered during this time period as well. She broke up with her partner of three years while on Abilify. In addition, she said that some people in her life kept their distance because they would “never put themselves in a situation with borderline people again.”

All of this left Conklin feeling ashamed and guilty about her diagnosis. “I felt like I was being punished and I didn’t deserve to be around people, and I almost didn’t want to because I didn’t want to hurt anyone,” she said.

It wasn’t until five years after her initial diagnosis that she first learned she might have autism — a moment she said “made everything fall into place.”

She realized she might be autistic when she was pregnant

During her second pregnancy, Conklin began seeing a therapist who was baffled by her BPD diagnosis. Instead, the therapist noticed Conklin’s sensory sensitivities, and wondered if Conklin might be one. lonely. Conklin also had PTSD and trauma from her past, which the doctor thought might be exacerbating her symptoms.

At first, Conklin didn’t know much about autism. But when she did her own research, she realized that the symptoms explained everything she was going through.

“A lot of the classic BPD symptoms actually make a lot of sense when you see them through the lens of autism.” Dr. Megan NeffA psychiatrist who was diagnosed with autism in her 30s told Insider. For example, both borderline personality disorder and Symptoms of autism They include emotional swings and mood swings.

Conklin also finally got an explanation for some of the symptoms that didn’t seem to fit a diagnosis of BPD.

When she’s alone, she often rubs her fingers together or makes “strange sounds,” which is known as “stimulation,” as a form of self-soothing. She also noticed that her mood worsened significantly during her period. It is common for people with autism.

It took two years for her to be put on the waiting list for an official diagnosis. But Conklin described the period between them as life-changing.

“For once in my life, I felt kind and compassionate to myself,” she said. She even encouraged another friend who had been diagnosed with BPD to seek a second opinion—and that friend learned that she did indeed have autism and ADHD.

This experience made her realize how much stigma there is in either case

Bree Conklin

Bree Conklin

Neff said both autism and BPD have stigmas, albeit very different ones.

People with autism continue to be misdiagnosed and unsupported, which can lead to depression and suicide. “Suicide rates and rates of self-harm are much higher among people with autism,” Neff said.

in addition to, autistic women And people who are not committed to sex are more likely to be misdiagnosed. Neff said sexism plays a big role: Men with autism are often portrayed in the media and in the media. They are portrayed as scientific geniuses.

Meanwhile, for people with BPD, there is also a lot of stigma. “Even in the mental health world, you will still hear therapists say, ‘I don’t want to work with someone who has BPD,'” Neff said.

Conklin’s experience made her see how differently people treat her with each diagnosis. The German doctor, for example, saw her as flirtatious and deceitful because he thought she had BPD.

Conklin said being formally diagnosed with autism has improved the way people interact with her, compared to when she was diagnosed with BPD. After trying to get disability benefits for years when she said she had BPD, she finally got an autism diagnosis.

She also said her ex-husband stopped pursuing full custody of their son once he learned she had autism and began expressing more patience with her as well.

On the other hand, people knowing that she has autism makes her feel childish. She recently had to have a colonoscopy and the doctors wanted to “tie” her up before the procedure – which she said would make her feel even more scared.

Conklin said her experience not only made her feel a lot of empathy for people with misdiagnosed autism, but also for people with BPD.

Read the original article at from the inside

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