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My disability

"Something is totally wrong with me!"
Anker 1

Already as a child I had the impression, "Something is totally wrong with me. I am different!" But I never talked to anyone about it, not even to my parents. Why?

I didn't want them or anyone else to worry. And I was afraid that I could totally be right about something being wrong with me. What would happen? Would mom and dad be sad? Would I be the reason for them to worry? I didn't want that to happen so I didn't tell anyone. 

Furthermore I guessed, that I was just behaving wacky because the other kids could do everything without any problems. "I just have to try harder!", was my conclusion.

The pic shows Tirza Gamerdinger being 1 yea old. She wears a orange dungarees with white stripes, underneath a white shirt.
What should I do with these big emotions?

My brother is 11 years older than me. (No, this isn't a joke.) Even as a little girl I looked up to him and wanted to be able to do everything he could do, too.

This led to the fact that I took apart our telephone cabinet in the hall at about 1.5 years of age. My brother and my parents were reading books while sitting in the living-room and when my my big brother read something to my parents from his book, it just became too much for me, because I wanted to be able to read.

I was angry with him because he could read, I was mad at me because I could not, and just mad at everyone and everything. This impotent rage was just too much for me. Only where to go? In the living room, many things had been put away, out of my reach, as I, like every child, loved to pull the books from the shelves.

So I stomped into the hallway and took apart the cabinet, which was about my size and in which my mom kept the address books. In the end, the door, which was hard to open even for adults, hung on its hinges, the books were torn, and my anger ... Yes, my anger was still there.

"A normal fit of rage of a small child," one may think now. But that's not true.

First symptoms: dissociation / depersonalization

I saw what was happening, I felt it, and yet it felt like a movie in front of my eyes: from the ego perspective of another totally alien person with whom I could not even begin to identify. I dissociated, perceived everything, but as if I sat about half a meter further back.

Dissociation is a brain's ability to manage traumas or situations that you cannot handle at the moment. This happened also in the case of the telephone cabinet: the destruction of the same did not help in breaking down the anger and not in the fact that I could have read from now on.

Possible forms of dissociation are:

  • derealization: environment or oneself is perceived as unreal and alien 

  • amnesia, you do not know what happened

  • sudden flashbacks

  • pain in parts of the body that can not be explained

  • hear voices

  • movement disorders, you can not move

  • seemingly groundless fears

  • trance or possession

  • sensory disturbances

  • depersonalisation: one perceives oneself from outside and has no relation to oneself 

Above all, dissociations serve to survive the situation or the trauma as well as possible.

In addition to the event with the telephone cabinet and my anger in the situation it came over and over again to moments in which I dissociated. However, since I assumed this was normal, I did not tell anybody.

Additional symptoms - way too strong emotions

Beside the feeling of beein different, which accompanies me since childhood, I always had a hard time feeling (long lasting) joy. 

Emotions, especially sadness, anger (see above), fears and self-doubt, are oviously very distinct and I have a very hard time to control them or get them under control.

My brother likes to tell that when I was a toddler I was able to cry from one second to another and all of a sudden. And no, these weren't just a few tears but rather fountains of tears. Could they calm me down or did the situation change the fountains stopped immediately. 

Even the smallest things that did not work the way I wanted made me react with rage. If I could not bring the too strong feelings back under control, it came to self-injury.

If I did not do something 100% as I had wanted to and thus did not live up to my own expectations or did not live up to the supposed demands of others, the world collapsed for me and I hated and abhored myself for it.

Moreover, I remember when I was 8 years old standing on the balcony on the second floor and thinking to myself, "What happens if I just jump down there? How can I do it best, so that I'm not only paraplegic, but really break my neck? " At that moment I hadn't even the desire to die, but it was a thought that I thought again and again for the next few months. And yes, back then I still thought that this was normal, so I did not talk to anyone about it ...

Conclusion: since I was born I have had to fight with it. With what exactly?

Diagnosis: Borderline personality disorder and recurrent major depressive disorder

Last year I was for a short time in a psychosomatic clinic and since then I finally know "what's wrong with me" or respectively why I struggle with a lot of things: I have BPD, Borderline personality disorder, and recurrent major depressions.

Possible symptoms of BPD are (atleast 5 must have been met):

  • anxiety of abandonment (real or imagined) and efforts to avoid it

  • people and yourself  are alternately idealized or devalued

  • instability of self-image or self-perception

  • impulsive or dangerous behaviour: e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, binge eating, reckless driving

  • suicidality and/or selfharm and the threatening of it

  • intense or uncontrollable emotional reactions that often seem disproportionate to the event or situation

  • chronic feeling of emptiness

  • instability of emotions and relationships

  • paranoia and/or dissociation

More possbile symptoms, that you may recognize:

  • black-and-white-thinking: there is either yes or no, no inbetween

  • to accept emotions or to speak about them is difficult to impossible

  • it's very difficult to trust others and to be criticized

Selfie shows Tirza. She wears a silver chain, a black top, and a black and white cardigan.

A video, showing how it feels to be a Borderliner:

Causes of Borderline

It is still not fully understood how this personality disorder develops.

Possible causes:

  • genetics: it is believed that one can inherit a certain genetic predisposition to mental illness, but us far no corresponding genes were found yet

  • influence of the environment: no, not nature, but the family and social structures and people around a child

  • neurobiology: it has been shown that borderliners are prone to subfunction of the prefrontal cortex (regulation of emotions, emotional evaluation) and a reduced volume of the hippocampus (functions of the memory) and the amygdala (feeling reactions), also to malfunctioning of the frontlimbic network (processing of emotions and development of instinctual behavior)

  • traumas: traumatic experiences in early childhood affect self-awareness and personality

How do you treat Borderline? - DBT

Good experiences have been made in this respect with DBT, the dialectical-behavioral therapy. This is a form of psychotherapy. It is used in the outpatient as well as in the inpatient area.

This particular form of therapy attempts to teach the patient the following:

  • breaking the learned wrong emotional and stress management strategies, sometimes including dysfunctional strategies, and replacing them with new positive, more effective and non-self-destructive ones

  • learn that feelings are justified and should help one

  • coping with trauma

  • improvement of the stress tolerance

  • mindfulness: train self-awareness so that you pay more attention to what is happening to you and what is happening inside

  • do not rashly assess and evaluate a situation: just because bad things have happened in the past does not mean it has to go on and on

  • one may and even has the right to stand up for themselves and to say even "no"

  • improve self-esteem and help build a relationship with yourself

Anker DBT
Antidepressants as treatment
It shows an opened pill box.

There are several groups of antidepressants, all of which have different effects on the chemical components in the brain like e.g. to block various messengers.

Whether one agrees to the drug treatment or not, of course, it is up to each one and should always be well considered with the help of the psychiatrist or specialist


  • have a supportive and stabilizing effect on the patient and can thus advance the therapy

  • depressions, which can often be a side effect, can be treated as well

  • if you are struggling with sleep problems or low energy, the pills can help


  • you have to be patient, because not every sort of antidepressants may help everyone in the same way or even at all

  • common, possible side effects: weight gain, sleep disorders, depression, gastrointestinal problems, sexual dysfunction, etc.

  • tablets do not change the patient's circumstances

  • if you get pregnant while taking the tablets, the unborn child may be harmed

Severe disability - mental suffering

Half a year before the diagnosis was made, I lost my job because of increased absent days. Since I did not know what was going on, I pushed myself on and on and never fully recovered. The mental stress I put through only made the situation worse.

With the diagnosis, I asked myself now how to proceed now and with the advice of the general practitioner, I applied for recognition of a disability.

"But are disabilities like paraplegia or blindness?", One may think now. Yes, even the psyche can have such a big impact on one's life that one has to struggle with diminished quality of life.

Since August 2018 it is official: I have a disability degree of 50% and thus am severely disabled.

Since I have no marks on my ID card, my only advantage is that certain termination protection guidelines apply when the trial period is over.



[For your information: in Germany there are differences between beeing disabled and beeing severly disabled. There is a medical list and they calculate how big the restrictions are. The degree of disability decides whether the German Employment Protection Act will help you or not. Furthermore, if you reach at least a degree of 50 there may be tax credits and you'll get a severely disabled ID card. A mark like "B" on the ID card will allow you to bring a person with you anywhere to help you.] 

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