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Stephanie's lived experience

Stephanie is 19 years old, lives in VIC and identifies as a person living with BPD


What was your experience of receiving a diagnosis of BPD?

I was already receiving treatment for other mental health diagnoses when I began experiencing different symptoms. I researched these symptoms and discussed it with my therapist, after which I was formally diagnosed.

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

It can be really confusing and at times I felt like I was a terrible person. I know now that there is help and you're not alone.

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

They gave me informative DBT worksheets (Linehan, 1987) which explained the symptoms I was having. They also used a mixture of CBT and DBT for my treatment which I have found to be extremely helpful.

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

They confused my symptoms with another mental health diagnosis, and so they failed to see that I was experiencing BPD, which delayed treatment.

What kind of psychological treatments worked well for you?

I found DBT to be more effective than CBT but they work well when combined.

What other things have supported you to live well?

Doing things I love, such as spending time with my animals and surrounding myself with positive people helps me live well.

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

I take time for myself when I'm extremely stressed or feeling angry as I can struggle with my communication skills. Turning my negative thoughts into positive ones also helps.

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

Be patient with them and give them space when needed. Sometimes we just need someone who will listen to us.

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

I moved out of home, graduated high school and am now enrolled in University.

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