Natalie is 52 years old, lives in the ACT and identifies as a family member of a person living with BPD.
What is your relationship with someone with BPD?
My partner has BPD.
What was your experience of the person you care for receiving a diagnosis?
It was good to have an answer that made sense and helped us the path to move forward and work towards a life worth living.
What could have made the experience of receiving a diagnosis better?
Not getting stigmatised attitude and information from health professionals. There is always hope.
What would you like carers who are struggling to accept the diagnosis of BPD to know?
Don't listen to the stigma, listen to others who have been there and things have gotten better. There is always HOPE. Things can get better. Seek good professional support, reach out to other Carers. Change can start with YOU.
What would you like carers who are struggling to support someone with BPD and feeling overwhelmed to know?
Get help and support. Don't do this alone, it's too hard. Seek out professionals who really UNDERSTAND BPD. If they say there is no hope, find a professional with a compassionate view of BPD. Seek out Peer support - other Carers who understand and don't judge.
What did clinicians and mental health professionals do well to support you?
Listen to me and my concerns - I know my loved ones best. Valued my lived experience as a Carer.
Are you receiving support in your caring role? What support did you receive/ access?
Yes. I go to Loved Ones of those with BPD Support Group, have done Family Connections, joined Facebook groups for loved ones, made friendships with people in similar situations.
What can clinicians and mental health professionals offer to better support you?
Learn and understand about BPD, have a compassionate view not a stigmatised one. Value Carers lived experience.
What self-care strategies work for you?
I love to crotchet, take baths. Use Radical Acceptance to reduce suffering, practice Mindfulness, practice DBT skills myself and share and build relationships with other Carers of those with BPD.
With the wisdom of hindsight what ‘words of wisdom’ would you offer carers struggling to support someone with BPD?
There is ALWAYS HOPE. When you are overwhelmed and feel hopeless reach out for support. Change can start with YOU even if your loved one isn't ready to change themselves.