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Kristen's lived experience

Kristen (she/her) is 26 years old, lives in NSW and identifies as a person living with BPD


What was your experience of receiving a diagnosis of BPD?

Very helpful. My diagnosis answered a lot of questions I’d been asking myself a long time. It served as a way for me to better understand myself. It allowed access to more specialised supports and therapies needed for recovery, which have greatly improved my quality of life.

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

A diagnosis is there to help you access specialised treatment that will benefit your wellbeing, not reduce you to a label.

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

Validated my experiences every step of the way. When I began to share my experiences with my mental health professional she helped me explore my behaviours and responses, rather than labelling my experiences as ‘symptoms’.

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

Having access to peer support workers also living with BPD would be especially helpful in the early stages of diagnosis. I believe peer support within therapeutic treatments would have greatly benefited me by providing essential access to community connections. This is still not easily accessible in my state.

What kind of psychological treatments worked well for you?

DBT-based therapy with my mental health professional. I read a lot of books about narrative therapy.

What other things have supported you to live well?

Journaling, walking, reading, cooking. My employment as a peer worker means I am surrounded by others with similar lived experience. Reading memoirs and biographies of people with lived experience provides insight into recovery.

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

Write your emotions or thoughts down, giving them a safe place to go. Write in a journal, let thoughts out on a piece of paper or computer.

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

I benefited from having my experiences validated, especially when they may have been different from others. Listening was helpful for me. 

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

Maintain a long-term relationship, manage consistent and long-term employment and experience living in a different country.

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