Borderline Personality Disorder and Me!

Back some time in 1983 I was working for the Signal Corps at Ft Gordon, GA. I had been there for several months. I was covering 5 different NCO jobs as an E-4. My partner at the time was calling his mother several times a week. That amounted to about $500.00 per month in phone bills.

One day I was working like no other until I found myself standing in front of the XO, Executive Officer, I started screaming at him for no discernable reason. That event lasted about ten minutes. The XO’s reaction was to drop his jaw, tilt his head, and his tongue was hanging out the side of his mouth. This was so out of character for me. He recovered, turned around and headed to find the CO! They promptly put me in the commander’s jeep and took me to the Dwight David Eisenhower Medical Center on post. I stayed there for 2 weeks and was put on very light duty.

The next event was in January 1984 during the 49er’s and the Steeler’s during the 1984 Super Bowl. I was sitting in bed watching the game when all hell broke loose. I felt as if I had been totally unplugged. It was a complete Nervous Breakdown!!. My partner put me into the car and drove me to the hospital again. I stayed in that time for four months. I was diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder; Borderline Personality Disorder and a string of other diagnoses. At the end of four months I was medically discharged from the US Army.

I loaded up a U-Haul and brought all the furniture and miscellaneous un-sundries back to Orange County, California. I had an envelope with me that I opened at my arrival. The letter inside directed me to the Orange County Heath office, and while there I was told that I was to take a year off of life.

I was moved to an adult foster home. There, I read and read and read more. As the year came close to an end I was out of my room more often and helped around the property to fix things. Then when time was over I went to the Orange County Employment Office. I never made it in the door… I was greeted by a young blond girl who asked me if I wanted to be a telephone technician. I said Yes! And that led to a 20+ years career in the telecommunications business. I was truly in my element.

I went to telephony school and was hired out 2 weeks before graduation. I must of had about 30 plus jobs at different companies over those 20+ years. I was never bored doing my work in various business across Southern California and then in 1990 me and my partner moved to Portland, Oregon.

1998 was a year that would change my life forever. Since age 25 I had been a drug user. At first it was cocaine. Then after about 6 months I looked into a mirror and saw a monster. I quite cocaine at the snap of my fingers. Next I was introduced to methamphetamine. I have been using now over 30 years. I am currently on hiatus from using. But I strayed on two occasions and touched my daughter inappropriately. The first time she was 12. I did it again at age 15. On February 2 1998 I was arrested on sex abuse in two different counties.

I spent 11 months traveling between Washington County, OR and Multnomah County, OR. Each and every time I was moved I lost all of my property. Finally I was convicted. I was moved to the Clackamas County Pre-processing facility. Three months there and I was transferred to the Oregon State Penitentiary. I stayed there for 3 months and then was transferred to the Snake River Corrections Facility. I spent 3 years and 9 months there. That was a dangerous place to be. I did okay while I was in there. I was released on November 15th, 2001. I was taken to Washington County corrections center. The building was a work release facility. On Christmas Eve I was 5 minutes late in getting there. I never went back! At the time in Hillsboro, OR there was no resources for me to draw upon. So at 4:00 a.m. I arrived in Portland, OR. on Christmas Day.

I stayed with a friend for three years on his love seat. Then one day I had an epiphany!!! I was no longer a man. I had become a woman in that instant. My friend kicked me out when I started my transition to full womanhood. I think I was 38 at the time. So I was dumped on to the street with nowhere to go.

Then at age 40 I started having anxiety attacks. Then along with that came depression. At first I went to the downtown Multnomah County Health Department. There I was treated for my mental health and physical health. Being a disabled Veteran I learned that I could get help through the VA Medical Center. I have been going there ever since. My mental health was quite disabling and over the next 10+ years I was admitted to the psych ward on average of 3 times per year.

I can’t pin it down to a date but I found out about NAMI Multnomah. Being a member of NAMI Connection Group has been a godsend to me. I am a former facilitator for the various Connection Groups. I have been on hiatus for the last couple of years. Now I am ready to climb into saddle again. I have been part of my home group for about 6 years. I go there every Saturday afternoon.

I am now in therapy with Ann who is going to help me work through my traumas. I am also much more stable at this point of my life. I live with my husband of almost 9 years in deep East County. For the most part I am quite stable. And while the VA has been a great help to me over the years, I have to credit NAMI for the great environment for me to learn even more how to maintain my mental health. I still have my bad days, but most days are quite good.