Worried about mental health therapy

So today ive spent the whole day distracting myself by cooking, cleaning etc because i feel stressed out…yesterday i spoke with a mental health nurse that id been referred to 64 days ago when i became sober…it was a first call to access therapy…she asked alot of questions about why i need help, she was very nice…said there was a waiting list but i will get another telephone appointment soon to be properly assessed…she gave me some access to free online courses to do in the meantime…one of the main things she wanted to look into was DBT…basically after reading around the term ‘borderline personality disorder’ keeps coming up…i read the symptoms and its me, virtually all the symptoms apart from reapeated suicide attempts…its freaked me out…im scared…i dont want to be labelled…im scared of delving into my past incase it affects my sobriety…


We’re all labelled; we’re either “the person moving forward” or “the person who’s stuck”. Labels are part of life.

Change it up and see it as an opportunity, not a chain (it is most definitely not a chain). Like JM Sterling writes here, about her experience of finding out she had BPD (and using DBT to empower her):

Ultimately for me, borderline is a diagnosis, not a qualifying label. I determine who I am in the world.

This is your ticket to growth. My mental health diagnosis was the same. Being diagnosed with ADHD and depression has helped me take charge of my life so I’m not stuck any more.


Thanks Matt, the label thing is how people will view me…i dont wana be just seen as mentally ill and so treat differently…ok…im gonna pause from the immediate freak out, take a breath and read what youve kindly given me…it sounds silly but im so protective now of my sobriety im scared that therapy might tip me back over the edge…


Working on your mental health will help you, I guarantee it. I know it’s scary - I felt the same way - but I promise you it will be the beginning of a positive change.


You know that thing where you want something …really want it…like therapy so i can get to the nitty gritty of why i act and feel the way i do … .then you finally get it and you think…SHIT lol…yeah that


I get that. Diagnoses (including borderline personality disorder) are just a cluster of symptoms and behaviors- and that cluster was common enough that they needed a name for it, so you aren’t alone.

I don’t know if this is stressful or reassuring (for me reassuring)- when finding out this kind of info about ourselves, the truth is it already exists and we’ve just been ignoring or h aware of it. So nothing new is happening, except now you’re aware and can work on it. That’s the perspective that helped me with my addiction and mental health, anyway.

And therapy is scary at first. But things like DBT really focus on the here and now as opposed to diving into the past, and it’s a great place to start for navigating things like emotional distress, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. The other stuff can come later when you feel ready to talk about it in therapy.

With all that said, I really understand how anxiety provoking this all can be. Please be kind to yourself during- you’re doing great.


Thank you, its the fact that i dont want it to be there in the first place im kicking against if that makes any sense…like i think i expected to be able to work through my problems from the past and be ok not be diagnosed with an actual mental illness, im struggling to explain how i feel here because ive gone into a bit of a panic and dont really know why…come on Kelly put your head on straight lol


Hi @Starlight14 my name is Ree and I too have a label and an addiction. I have Bipolar Type 2 (which means more depression than mania) and it has been 36 days without a drink. It has also been 3 years since I used drugs and 4 years being a non smoker. My addictions were my way of dealing with trauma which began as a child and continued into my adult years. Getting therapy and a diagnosis has been the best thing that could have happened to help me get sober. With my label i was finally able to get the medication I needed and therapy helped me work through the damage my trauma did to my self esteem and gave me tools to rebuild my self and use in times of stress. Now I am sober, therapy is helping me cope with my past because now I can not escape it by getting drunk. I need to feel my pain and work through it without being driven back to my old friend seeking numbness.

Dont be scared or ashamed of your label. It happened because of what happened to you, it does not define you.

“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never happened, it means the damage no longer controls your life”

Love and support
Ree :heart:


A diagnosis means you can get help to treat it. Once it’s under control, no one needs to know unless you choose to share with them.


Hey @ReeBee28 i have bipolar 2 too! @Starlight14 nobody needs to know your diagnosis if you are worried about labels. Only close family and friends know mine and ive been diagnosed for 14 years. For me i was relieved once i was diagnosed because it explained so much. Knowledge is power


Hey there @Cjp! Nice to meet a fellow Bipolar Type 2 person on here! I agree with you. No one needs to know your diagnosis. It does not define who you are but it allows targetted therapy that can help you better if you are diagnosed. I see it as a symptom of trauma.

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Borderline Personality Disorder does not just happen for no reason. @Starlight14 you experienced trauma and BPD is a symptom of it and it shapes the way you see and respond to life. Therapy is hard and so is diagnosis but living with an illness and not getting the right help is way worse.


Well meant I’m sure, but it kind of ignores the stigma you need to deal with when a label is DSM based.
So no, we’re nót all labelled.

That’s what makes the difference indeed.
However - a label is more then just that. It affects how yóu see yourself. It opens a door to self-understanding, self-acceptance and, most important : change for the better.

A label doesn’t define you, it just specifies some problems you have and directs into the most effective approaches of therapy.

How others see you, depends eventually on you - not on your label.
I still warn new people in my life I’m an autist and an addict, though no one would notice it by themselves. That’s how much getting a diagnosis, can help you cope with it.

Trust me, go for that diagnosis. A year later you’ll realise it’s the best choice you ever made.
It’s not the label that’s the problem. It’s our own attitude towards it, that is the problem.


I don’t want to be labeled. Because I have known people who were labeled and then were refused adequate care when actually in need. So I perfectly understand you. And honestly. I still don’t want that label. I’ve been an addict in a few forms. The only one I couldn’t conquer all alone is alcoholism. And then I wait for the help. And it is like full bore mac truck. Or nothing at all.


There’s a lot of emphasis on a diagnosis here, but…

Did she suggest the borderline diagnosis, or it came up while reading about DBT?

Dialectical behavioral therapy itself may be used for BPD. But that and similar cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are also really common for overcoming alcohol and substance use disorders, and many other things. The SMART Recovery program is based on these therapies as well. And in my experience actually has a lot in common with the behavioral suggestions I’ve learned in AA, though language differs.

All to say, DBT is a really common suggestion where one desires to quit drinking. It’s just also used for other things. Facilitated SMART recovery specifically has an emphasis on drinking/substance use.

Maybe she specifically said some diagnosis though. Honestly whatever it is, can say I did CBT and still find what I learned there helpful for my anxiety and later in recovery. Sounds like a good plan!


Thank you everyone for your help and some sound advice, with regards to the diagnosis its true that i havent actually had one so i may be wrong yet, it was that i read about the borderline personality and ALOT of it rang true…im aware of the danger of self fulfilling prophecy here which is why i will wait until the professional folk have assessed me properly and not try and diagnose myself it was just a bit overwhelming when i read about it that so much sounds like me, really apart from the suicide attempts and self harm, i do know i have issues for sure, im kinda trying to prepare myself on here by chatting to you wonderful people before i step into therapy, your an amazing bunch and a great support to me…thank you all


Well I think it’s fantastic you’re jumping right in. Getting better at getting better, every day.

Yeah. Personally I try not to “future trip” or get hung up on the labels. To me, diagnoses are just tools for the pros to find and communicate recommended paths to healing anyway.

For my part the best thing I can do is follow through on their suggestions. Especially when it comes to therapy, which can be a long term thing. To me it almost doesn’t matter if “it’s a fractured lower right tibia,” I just wanna know what to do to heal.

And there’s so much hope in that! Certainly I felt so hurt and stuck by the time I genuinely sought recovery. I finally had someone else’s help and guidance I never did before. Other fighters in my corner.

And while it takes courage and patience to follow through, it’s been so damn rewarding. Best of luck on your path!


Thank you so much, i totally hear what your saying about the broken tibia lol, i guess the diagnosis isnt the important part its the healing and result that is paramount, yesterday i did my usual freak out that i always seem to do then in the days after i become more and more logical…like today. I think ive put so much effort into sobriety the freak out came because im now so protective of it…logical Kelly today can now see that therapy will be a positive thing to supply me with the tools required to stay on the right track and thus maintain my sobriety, sometimes i just need some logical brains to help me through my freak out stage lol …thats where you guys come in :blush:


DBT is actually designed to help Nero-diversity to understand depression, their behaviours, and how to improve their well-being.
BPD is a very broad spectrum term used towards people who have complex needs.

Please don’t take it to heart and label yourself without having proper psychological help.

Most training drs diagnosis themselves as terminally ill multiple times before the first year of training.

:wind_face:Deep breath in, (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) :wind_face:Deep breath out.

Stay strong and reach out if you need support. This community isn’t going anywhere :heart_hands:


Insightful interview with Rachel Aviv about her recent book, which explores minds, labels, perceptions, and belonging:

Take care everyone and know that you belong and you matter, always. Keep active in the mutual effort to understand and connect - and find trusted contacts you can speak to when you’re uncertain - and you will find what you need.