Lauren is 32 years old, lives in NSW and identifies as a person living with BPD.
What was your experience of receiving a diagnosis of BPD?
My experience was very positive for me because after being given a few diagnoses this one completely made sense. I had a huge rush of relief because it all made sense and once I got the diagnosis I could look into dealing with it and putting the resources in place.
What would you like people newly experienced with BPD to know?
That it’s not something you should be scared about. There is heaps of treatment out there and you can live a “normal” life. It’s just that things affect you in different ways to other people but it’s not a bad thing at all.
What did clinicians and mental health professionals do well to support you?
They gave me medications to assist me with my anxiety and moods and told me that I am going to have good days and bad days and to make sure I reach out for support.
What could clinicians and mental health professionals have done better to help you?
They could have looked into it more and assisted me when it came to suicidal ideation. It was hard to find a good GP that understood my feelings. They could have provided me with resources sooner.
What kind of psychological treatments worked well for you?
What other things have supported you to live well?
I have pets, movies or tv shows, meditation and lots of self-care.
Do you have any tips or tricks for managing distress or strong emotions you would like to share?
Just to listen to yourself and your body. Recognise when you are feeling overwhelmed and do a body scan. Mindfulness helps me a lot and if I don’t feel up to going to a certain event or catching up with people then I just say no without feeling guilty because I am important and it’s ok. My life doesn’t have to change because of BPD it’s just a little different and I have accepted that. I’m treating it as my friend.
What advice would you give to friends/family supporting someone with a diagnosis of BPD?
To educate yourself no matter who you are. Understand what BPD is and understand how you can change the way you look at it. Be supportive, patient and aware of each other. Someone living with bpd is not defined by it, they just feel a lot more than others.
What are a few things you thought you might not have been able to do but you did anyway?!
I have a full time job and I work in mental health and get to share my experiences with other people who are or have been going through the exact same thing as me and prove that I can manage it, which I learnt by education. I am a positive role model to others
Some more thoughts:
I felt trapped and felt like giving up on everything because I didn’t feel accepted and I didn’t have control of my emotions or myself. But my diagnosis gave me overwhelming relief when I looked into what it was. Now I am creating awareness about it and get the pleasure of sharing it to other people in a positive way. The label “BPD” sounds overwhelming and sometimes the disorder is but I will forever accept it.