Tricia is 59 years old, lives in VIC and identifies as a family member of a person living with BPD.
What is your relationship with someone with BPD?
My child has BPD.
What was your experience of the person you care for receiving a diagnosis?
Shock, disbelief and not understanding.
What could have made the experience of receiving a diagnosis better?
Better knowledge, better communication by medical staff with more compassion.
What would you like carers who are struggling to accept the diagnosis of BPD to know?
Get as much info on BPD – learn as much as you can about it. It’s a very complex mental illness, the more you can find out about the better you will be to understand and deal with it.
What did clinicians and mental health professionals do well to support you?
One of the hardest things to accept was patient-doctor confidentiality. Finding a GP that understood mental health issues was amazing. Just having the support, knowing that we had someone we could talk to, who showed understanding made such a difference. Finding the right psychologist is important. Once I followed the processes he gave, it just helped me cope better.
What can clinicians and mental health professionals offer to better support you?
Provide you with as much information as they can, educate you on BPD, show more empathy and understanding.
What self-care strategies work for you?
Talking to people that understand and can support you.
With the wisdom of hindsight what ‘words of wisdom’ would you offer carers struggling to support someone with BPD?
It’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t blame yourself.
Get help for yourself, don’t wait. Don’t bottle it up. Talk, open up, share, try to have a supportive friend that understands, will listen, and be there for you. It’s a long haul, but we found there was light at the end of the tunnel.