Lauren is 27 years old, lives in VIC and identifies as a person living with BPD
What was your experience of receiving a diagnosis of BPD?
When I first got diagnosed with BPD it was confusing as I had previously been diagnosed with other mental illnesses. At first I saw the diagnoses as negative as the name borderline personality disorder made me feel like my personality, what made me who I was as a person, was flawed.
What would you like people newly experienced with BPD to know?
Although having BPD has many challenges, you have so much love to give and you will develop strength as a person that others might not have. The road at first can be a rocky one, but you just have to ride the wave to discover the amazing person you are, BPD and all.
What did clinicians and mental health professionals do well to support you?
They supported me to put plans it place for when challenges and crisis’ may have arrived. Linked-in and connected support across many different professionals and sectors who are all on the same page was important for me
What could clinicians and mental health professionals have done better to help you?
Early experiences I had with mental health professionals were invalidating and deterred me from reaching out to services until I was older. I think if I had been referred to a peer worker with a lived experience of BPD earlier I might have found my way to recovery easier.
What kind of psychological treatments worked well for you?
DBT really helped me in the beginning of my BPD journey and mindfulness has really helped me to control my distressing emotions. I try to remain present in the moment, which for me is challenging.
What other things have supported you to live well?
I have a love for writing, poetry in particular. It helps me to verbalise my thoughts and stop them from building up in my head. It’s definitely a positive outlet for me.
Do you have any tips or tricks for managing distress or strong emotions you would like to share?
For me, the busier I keep myself, the easier I can deal with distress. I surround myself with positive people, and when going through strong emotions confide in these people. Keeping these emotions to yourself is just going to allow them to become stronger.
What advice would you give to friends/family supporting someone with a diagnosis of BPD?
Please be patient with your loved one who is diagnosed with BPD, their behaviour may not seem rational to you but in their mind it might be. Your friend/family member just wants you to love them unconditionally, like everyone in this world does but their feelings may just be more intense at times. However, create strong boundaries for your loved one and take care of your own mental health.
What are a few things you thought you might not have been able to do but you did anyway?!
I thought I would never experience happiness and the joys that most people take for granted but I was wrong! I am now the proudest mum to a little boy, who has shown me what true love and happiness is and makes me look forward to what the future has to bring.