PCOS and Borderline Personality Disorder
My daughter is now 14 years old, and I’m still figuring things out at every level. Back when she was 5, I noticed some unusual things going on with her, that should not be manifesting until she was more like 12 and going through puberty. She had pretty bad under arm odor for one, and really stinky feet. She was starting to get black heads on her nose. She had pubic hair. OMG. She had also gained a lot of weight.
My daughter was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Women are usually diagnosed with this condition in their 20’s, when they’re having trouble getting pregnant. It was highly unusual to be diagnosed so early. Later came more intense acne, extra hair growth, dark pigments in the folds of her skin. One of the main things we had to address quickly was her weight. She was considered pre-diabetic and I was told that her weight and the possible diabetes would only aggravate her other symptoms, and could possibly shorten her life.
At that time, I was overweight myself. Two years prior, my family had lost our home to a house fire. I had remodeled that home with my grandfather, who had died recently. It was the family “home place”. A little more than a year after that, I divorced my husband who was emotionally abusive and emotionally absent. The marriage had really taken it’s toll on me, and although I had already overcome some health issues through a merciful miraculous healing of fibromyalgia, I had turned to food as a comfort and probably weighed around 250 lbs. I cannot be sure because the scale had been destroyed in the house fire and I never wanted to own another one.
I have said millions of times, had the diagnosis been my own, I would not have had the strength to battle it. Because the diagnosis was my daughter’s, I rose up with every ounce of strength I could muster to try to change her future. I read everything I could to learn more about the condition, how to eat healthier, etc. Of course, at that time, that meant using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar! I didn’t now any better, and there is SO MUCH misinformation out there!
There were other family diagnoses as well. My father was diagnosed with Parkinsons and my sister with breast cancer. I began reading about these conditions as well. I had lost my grandfather to lung cancer and the treatment of it, back in 1996. I was not a fan of traditional treatment, as the medical profession royally screwed up in my grandfather’s case, but that’s a subject for another post. So I was reading about holistic and nutritional approaches to these conditions. I kept coming across nutrition as the key for not only preventing so much of the sickness and disease we see today, but also in the reversal of much of it as well.
In 2011, I found the Shaklee nutrition company and made HUGE improvements in my own health with their supplements, and hopefully helped manage my daughter’s condition, and kept it from progressing as quickly. But as she entered 7th grade, I saw an escalation in her emotional outbursts, and eventually learned that she was experimenting with cutting and self-harm. I was absolutely devastated. During that year, she seemed to absolutely despise me. I could not do anything right, and she challenged me at every turn. She was suicidal. A lot was going on at school, too. I had homeschooled her until 5th grade, but as a single mom, I could no longer keep up the pace, as I was also self-employed and worked long hours. So in 6th grade, she was abruptly introduced to the “real world” of public school and it was not pretty. She was teased, mocked, scorned, and re-educated about how things really were, according to her peers. Sigh….
You know how you hear about the “terrible two’s”? Well, around the age of two, Rachel’s personality went from happy to horrid. It was such a drastic change, but I kept hearing about the terrible two’s and hoped I’d get my kid back. I’d see glimpses of her from time to time, but there was much about her behavior that I was pretty sure wasn’t normal. I blamed myself. Maybe it was the divorce, maybe it was because I was a single mom, maybe it was because I worked too many hours – on and on. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but at some point, Jesus gave me peace about whatever my mistakes may have been. He would see her through it. If I was so busy being discouraged by the enemy pointing at my downfalls, my focus would not be on how to help her, and I desperately want to help her.
I could never quite follow my daughter’s reasoning about things. I was often surprised by her reactions and her perceptions of events. She did not make friends easily, and did not keep friends for very long. She always felt like an outsider, but she was constantly insulting and “putting people off”. She was hard to take, especially for kids her own age. She was, in some ways, more mature than the kids her age, and often got along better with older kids and usually got along very well with her teachers, etc.
One of the things I noticed was especially as her weight got more out of control, and the acne made her skin look so bad, that her perception of herself was SO NEGATIVE. One of the boys in school said she was “fugly” or something like that. The teasing from kids at school certainly didn’t help, but she brought so much on herself, to be truthful. It was and is heart-breaking to watch. Kids at church try to reach out to her but she loathes them in secret. Their happiness or their cuteness is a threat to her somehow. She calls them sluts and she means it.
So the last couple of years have been tough. Recently, the emotional drama in my home escalated yet again, as I re-married. I had separated from my first husband when Rachel was about 3. She doesn’t even remember us living in the same house with him. She never really saw us “together”. She saw the two of us together, period. My new husband is WONDERFUL and has been great to her, but she despises him. She acts as if they are in competition for my attention and affection. She constantly tries to sabotage the relationship. I know some of this is normal, but because she may ever stumble across this post, or family members might read it while we’re still figuring all this out, I won’t go into just how far out some of this drama escalated to. But it got crazy. I sought help from my pastors AGAIN, as they are trained psychologists also.
I have been saying for years that there was more going on here than meets the eye. A friend told me that some of the things I was going through with my daughter sounded very familiar to the struggle she had with her own daughter. She told me to google Borderline Personality Disorder. That was several years ago, and although I thought there was some merit into looking at it further, my pastors discouraged me from labeling my daughter with any form of mental illness, and for a time I followed their advice. Here lately however, the behavior has gotten worse, her self-perception has plummeted further, the emotional outbursts and down right meanness has gotten incredibly difficult to deal with. I know this sounds like typical teenage behavior on some level, but please, take my word for it and multiply it by 50 or something, and that’s what we have here.
So, I called that friend of mine again a week or so ago, and began asking questions about the personality disorder thing. I became more and more convinced that we were either dealing with this very issue, or something very similar. I began researching online, and just this morning I googled “correlation between PCOS and Borderline Personality Disorder” and OMG! About 30% of the people with the personality disorder also have PCOS. That’s a huge number! So, I am getting in touch with my daughter’s endocrinologist about what I have found, her holistic neurologist who’s been helping us detox her system, our pastors, people I know in the field of nutrition who may be able to advise us, etc and etc.
I finally feel like we’re getting somewhere. There were helpful suggestions about how there were some things that not only helped her PCOS but the BPD as well. It makes sense that if you can help the hormonal imbalance of the PCOS, it will alleviate some of the most problematic issues of the BPD. But it has to be managed, and at some point, my daughter has to do more to manage it herself. Herein lies the problem. Stress causes relapses. Relapses into the worst of this disorder can be as simple as ridiculous shopping sprees, or it can be cutting and suicide attempts. In fact, about 8-10% of people with this disorder DIE from suicide!!!! They have trouble sustaining meaningful relationships, trouble keeping jobs, trouble staying in school, trouble with the ins and outs of LIFE.
I am going to have my daughter evaluated asap. As I said, I am still figuring this out. I would love to be proved wrong. I would be so grateful for a mental health professional to tell me it was just a severe case of puberty and she would grow out of it, just hang on a few more years. And I know that EVERY condition and EVERY disease was carried to the cross by Jesus. So until my girl can battle this herself in the Spirit, I am going to try to help her battle this in the flesh while I continue to speak and pray healing and wholeness for her.
I believe I have a better grasp of what we’re truly dealing with now, and have a few ideas on how to help her. I sincerely hope this post doesn’t make things worse, but I just had to get these thoughts down. I felt led to put this out there. There is SO MUCH MORE I could say, but again, now is not the appropriate time. If you’re struggling with either of these conditions, I’d love to hear from you. If you have any insight on any of this, I’d love to hear from you as well.
To be continued…