Steph is 33, lives in Victoria and identifies as a person living with BPD.
What was your experience of receiving a diagnosis of BPD?
It took far too long to go from being diagnosed, to being fully informed on BPD and to finally finding a therapist capable of helping me. BUT I have an amazing therapist now. At the time of diagnosis I wasn't really aware of what it really meant. Just another label used to describe my issues. It was a mostly neutral experience, almost numbing really. Today it means something totally different.
What did clinicians and mental health professionals do well to support you?
Once I found support people who truly understood BPD, they acknowledged the real struggle and helped to overcome daily challenges through Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.
What could clinicians and mental health professionals have done better to help you?
Listen fully and understand all the different ways BPD can present itself. Compassion and understanding goes a long way.
What would you like people newly experienced with BPD to know?
Your diagnosis DOES NOT define you. Your feelings and experiences are valid and you are worthy of living a good life.
What kind of psychological treatments worked well for you?
Psychotherapy and DBT
What other things have supported you to live well?
Mindfulness, learning to sit with extreme emotions and acknowledging that they don't last forever.
Do you have any tips or tricks for managing distress or strong emotions you would like to share?
Try and see what are rational versus irrational reactions to emotions. While they are still potentially extreme and horrible to experience, acknowledging that they are a symptom and will pass helps.
What advice would you give to friends/family supporting someone with a diagnosis of BPD?
Look after yourself first and foremost but don't ever forget just how much BPD can affect the person with it.
What are a few things you thought you might not have been able to do but you did anyway?!
Living independently with potential to be able to hold a job in the near future. I now have much stronger awareness and more control over impulsive behaviour.