Miles is 23 years old, lives in SA and identifies as a person in recovery from BPD.
What was your experience of receiving a diagnosis of BPD?
It was both positive and negative; positive because I felt like I had an explanation to my experiences and I felt less alone, negative because there is a lot of stigma around being diagnosed with a personality disorder.
What would you like people newly experienced with BPD to know?
You are not your diagnosis! Recovery is possible and you are not alone.
What did clinicians and mental health professionals do well to support you?
My GP highly recommend trying DBT which at first I was hesitant but he persisted and honestly, DBT saved my life, my current psychologist specializes in BPD and personality disorders so I know she is knowledgeable which helps me feel comfortable with her.
What could clinicians and mental health professionals have done better to help you?
Try not to judge. My personality disorder is an explanation for some of my thought patterns and behaviours it’s not my only definition, stop stigmatising us.
What kind of psychological treatments worked well for you?
DBT has by far been the most effective, being in a group setting with others with a professional helping navigate us. I recommend DBT to everyone. It taught me the skills to be able to live a life worth living and I have gotten so much out of it. CBT and Schema therapies have also helped along the way but DBT is the best in my opinion.
What other things have supported you to live well?
Being creative, my cats, going outside, having a sleep routine, taking my medications, keeping up to date with my physical health and talking to friends\ family when I’m down.
Do you have any tips or tricks for managing distress or strong emotions you would like to share?
The TIPP Skill. Cool compress on pressure points in times of distress and taking time.
What advice would you give to friends/family supporting someone with a diagnosis of BPD?
Don’t stigmatise, try to be understanding and patient, if you are frustrated use empathy.
What are a few things you thought you might not have been able to do but you did anyway?!
Have a lasting relationship, being around family safely, starting a career, having stable accommodation and recovering from self-harm.
Some more thoughts:
Patience, being thoughtful and understanding make a world of difference. People diagnosed with BPD deserve to be treated with dignity. Listen to our experiences and remember BPD is different for everyone.