Treating Multiple Mental Illnesses


With my multitude of diagnoses and their over-lapping symptoms, I often wonder which illness has a hold on me. Am I on edge because I am hypomanic or anxious? Am I depressed because of a hormonal change/Bipolar issue or because my husband is working long hours/Borderline (BPD) issue? Am I exhausted because I’m depressed, because I’m not sleeping well due to anxiety, or because I’m overwhelmed with the kids being off school for the summer (BPD thing again)? You see my dilemma?

I know from experience what is usually causing my symptoms. Right now, I know I am dealing with anxiety because change is hard for me and with this being the first week the kids are home from school there has been a big change in my daily activities.

I also know from past experience that anxiety exhausts me physically, and that being physically exhausted makes me feel depressed. I say “feel” depressed because I know that it is just a feeling – I am not clinically depressed as in I need a medication change (yet.) First, I’d like to give myself time to adjust to the new schedule, and see if the fatigue and anxiety subside on their own.

I came across a study that looked at the interactions of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Bipolar Disorder over the course of 10 years. They found that BPD impacted major depression remission and relapse rates, and vice versa, but argued for the treatment of the BPD as a priority.

BPD and Bipolar Disorder remission and relapse rates, on the other hand, were largely independent of one another except for one area: bipolar type II lengthened BPD’s time to remission. (Wouldn’t you know that would be my case!) BPD did not affect bipolar mood swings. The study suggested that BPD and Bipolar be treated as independent disorders.

I do have rapid cycling bipolar and I also have borderline personality traits, so both on a physiological and psychological level I am battling quick fluctuations. Can anyone else relate to this? How do you cope with over-lapping symptoms from multiple diagnoses?