I’m Not Just a Subject…


As you may know, I am involved in a research study.  The study involves two randomized groups, one receiveng just medication, in this case Prozac, and the other just DBT therapy no medication allowed.  If you have followed my blogs at all, you may have noticed the struggle I have been experiencing the last month.  I have been incapacitated in pain, emtoiona suffering to the point of vomitting.  Yet, was told I can do things to alleviate the depression I was sufering by my DBT therapist.  Needless to say, I was unable to go last week and somehow managed to get myself there today, though everything inside wanted to go home and sleep away the pain.  My therapist began talking and asked me what I had done differently.  “Well, I haven’t overdosed.”  “Somehow, I havemanaged to stay alive when my soul was bleeding.  I didn’t go to the hospital this time.  However, the session was spent with her trying to convince me that the depression I am in can be solved through skills.  I looked at her and asked her if she has ever wanted to die because of the intense pain she felt.  “What could you have done to alleviate the pain?”  I almost laughed. “There is more here in front of you than a randomized subject..” I stated I tried to explain to her that there MUST be something CHEMICALLY wrong besides the BPD and I was in desparate need of medication to help my brain function properly.  “Well”, she said if you take medication you will not recieve DBT.  So there I was faced with a choice.  Walk out the door and get to a hospital to save my life, or continue with learning skills to cope with this pain.  Everything in me said run.  Run and get the help you need.  Obvioulsy, I am suffering from a major depressive disorder and though I have been on tons of medication, I knew my brain needed another try.  I began to sob.  “This was my last hope..” I said to her.  “I cannot focus on your skills, when I am hovered over in pain, something is chemically wrong.”  Her reply was “Well if you wan to give up, that is your choice, but again you cannot be on medication.”  I felt betrayed, I felt like just a mere subject in their study.  I knew I had to leave and told her  so.  She left the room, came back and told me they may consider giving you medication as well as the DBT.  A RAY OF HOPE.  Endng with we will call you Monday to let you know, we went off to group therapy.  Nothing made sense, my body wanted to go into the corner of the room and sob.  I could not hear her.  All,  I could hear was the pain all I could hear was a voice telling me to “Hold on…” and I am waiting for their response to this “Subjects” request at relief and then maybe I can  learn what they are trying to teach me….

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14 Responses

  1. This seems to me like a similar approach seen in the treatment of addictions. In the past, they used to say that you can’t get medication for a concurring mental illness until you kicked the addiction. Now they know that it does not work this way. You have to address both at the same time. I understand that in your case they had to keep a control group to avoid mucking up the study but in real life flexibility in essential. Especially when folks like are are suffering and resources are tight.

  2. Marie- U are coming on to 40 years of age. There is no definitive evidence that DBT, by itself works well on anybody oher than young people who do not smoke, drink or any other of the teen age things. Even at that, medication must be used.Prozac is no miracle drug. It is hardly ever even used any more.. People can have comorbid BPD along with Bipolar symptoms. From reading all your blogs, and speaking with you I am convinced that U are a high functioning BPD, but with a good touch of mixed Bipolar illness. U are not psychotic, but I do not believe that you are only BPD. The program sounds like it has lots of faults and will produce a great deal of pain. I would like to see you consider a different course of action whereby U can use your strength and intellect. to get a good workable remission I misplaced your telephone #, but U have mine and are welcome to call. I can explain more to you I will tell U this. U have some very positive strengths and skills. here are weak spots that must be filled in. The Ancient Mariner is not any better analogy than “The Raven”, or Kafks “” The trial,”. U are an all or n othing person . It doesn’t work that way . U are not that far from a remission, but U are ging to have to focus in and work your butt off. Print out all your blogs and keep them. There is a strong theme that runs through them. Bill

    • I think Maeia has had enough pain and tortue, surely no compassionate doctor would allow such treatment. I have bpd, and my doctor wouldn’t dream of treating me without medication, and I am very high functioning. Although I am not psychotic, I am given an anti psychotic for the trauma of the terrible moods…I do not think you should advise Maria not to take medication as you are not a doctor,,,it requires medication in tandem with therapy, I should know, I have lived with this for 47 years, and researched it completely. My doctor is a specialist in the field and writes discourses about the necessity of medications for bpd. Never tell someone they are bipolar if they aren’t diagnosed as such even if you are being helpful, it could cause more confusion.

  3. I did respond- Let me knowmif U got it Bill

  4. This is why I don’t like the idea of being in a study. It’s bordering on being unethical to not treat you for your depression. Plus, they should have at least one group that receives both DBT and Prozac in order for them to have a decently designed study.

  5. Marie I totally agree with Jenna and Wendy.Stay away from studies. These people are working from grant money and U are just a number. Bill

  6. Is the study for patients with BPD or with other comorbid diagnoses? I don’t know enough about the study to make judgments, but, usually, a study involving DBT or medication is isolated to one with a singular diagnosis (i.e., BPD or major depression, NOT both). Something sounds fishy here. I hope everything works out for you.

    “Somehow, I have managed to stay alive when my soul was bleeding.” — That is HUGE, and I strongly commend you for that. This is something with which I struggle daily. I hope you feel better very soon! Hang in there!

    Oh, and I completely agree that DBT in and of itself does not work for BPD. The literature to this point does state this. In fact, most recent studies have found that Transference-Focused Psychotherapy is more effective in treating BPD than DBT. These findings first surfaced around 2006 and 2007 and were recently re-run. If anyone is interested in seeing any of them, please feel free to contact me and I can provide the appropriate links. 🙂

  7. I hope you drop out of the study and focus on treating all your symptoms with therapy and a careful drug regimen. One of the comments referred to a participant in a study as just a number and that was want I was thinking when I read your blog. If your “soul is bleeding” then something is wrong with the program; each person’s experience with bpd is different. You wanted to run and take care of yourself and the therapist said “Well if you want to give up, that is your choice, but again you cannot be on medication.” This is not a very supportive way to work with you when you are struggling. I hope that you really do not believe that this was your “last hope”. I am sure that I am not alone in believing that there is a mix of medication and therapy that will lift your depression.

  8. Fia, I will be in contact with the articles as soon as I am able to retrieve them (it may take a bit for me to sort through my ginormous collection, but I will not forget!) 🙂

  9. Fia you deserve so much more! and to give an ultimatium like that seems harsh… I agree with Bill in that I think that you have some co-existing things going on aside from the borderline stuff. To ask someone to be able to concentrate and fully particpate in groups of this nature and not be on medication is unrealistic to say the least. I hope that you have decided to drop out of the study.. Medication is not a cure but it certainly helps us think more clearly and be able to focus and thus be able to focus and be more proactive in treatment.

  10. Fia Marie,
    How are you doing? I hope you have gotten some relief. I have been wondering about you. Are you on medication? I do hope all is well.

    • Hey, Im ok. I think. Not really…. I write on a different blog now, http://theborderlineexperience.com/ under select category just look for Finding Fia, you’ll see what’s going on, or I always post them on facebook, you can read there… I’ve been in Europe for 2 months, had a great time, but at the same time, suffered quite a bit….. thanks for asking.. how are you? Fia

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