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Ashley's lived experience

Ashley is 33 years old, lives in NSW and identifies as a Person in recovery from BPD

 

What was your experience of receiving a diagnosis of BPD?

I was very lucky the therapist who diagnosed me knew how to speak to me appropriately and approached it in a positive way, that because I now had a diagnosis I could learn to work with the BPD diagnosis.

What would you like people newly experienced with BPD to know?

For me, once I was diagnosed a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Understanding and learning can support you in navigating through day to day. Look at specific treatment methods for BPD that are highly effective, such as DBT.

What did clinicians and mental health professionals do well to support you?

They helped me to understand how my brain works, and how to use mindfulness as a tool to become present within the moment and to hold no judgment.

What could clinicians and mental health professionals have done better to help you?

Have more face to face BPD specialists available.

What kind of psychological treatments worked well for you?

DBT

What other things have supported you to live well?

Art, nature, eating a healthy diet, exercise, meditation, mindfulness, dancing and yoga.

Do you have any tips or tricks for managing distress or strong emotions you would like to share?

When my mind starts to run when I’m deeply distressed and it’s creating stories, I write my thoughts down. The whole dialogue my head is playing and re-read it to myself out loud. When I do this it makes me realise that it’s my mind creating stories. This is the only way I can start to calm my mind sometimes and get back to reality.

What advice would you give to friends/family supporting someone with a diagnosis of BPD?

Don’t start acting different around someone who has been diagnosed. Learn more about BPD in order to have understanding on how the brain works so you can understand certain functions common in BPD and it will also help when communicating in future.

What are a few things you thought you might not have been able to do but you did anyway?!

Go to gym alone, I was scared of the judgment. I was convinced everyone would be viewing me negatively, but it turned out to be nothing like that. On bad days I still may struggle, but I push through and feel better for it afterwards.

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