I used to be absolutely terrified of revealing my diagnosis of BPD to people. Wether it be friends, family or strangers, a certain part of me held back saying it out loud. I would display behaviours when I was reacting to being hurt, and I wouldn't even know where to begin to explain the illness to people. Now, at 27 years of age, I can say I have BPD out loud and with ease. I use to have a sick feeling in my stomach as soon as someone would ask me to justify why I react the way I do to hurtful things, but that feeling has passed. I am living proof, after all these survivals of Suicide ideation and acting out on pain, it does get better when you have the right help. Life does become a much better place when you finally receive the right treatment, the treatment that people with BPD or any mental illness deserve. My head was dark and stormy, and I find myself questioning how I ever reached a place where my head became clear, with blue skies, fresh air and light.
I never feel like someone has to justify why they are hurting to someone else. A thing I have learnt about when it comes to helping someone who is mentally ill, its best to sit back, validate how they feel and go from there. Over my time so many people I have had come and go have told me to act a certain way when it came to the pain I was feeling, to deal with it in 'their way' ( and if it wasn't up to their standard, that was viewed as me not 'trying to get help'). So many people spend time trying to change someone instead of learning about that person and trying to understand them. Understanding someone will help them, forcing them to change their behaviours will not help. That is a step they need to do themselves, and to make that step they need the acceptance and understanding of their support network around them.
I think with BPD, the self loathing symptom can also sabotage their happiness. I have been very well mentally lately, and because for so long I was use to being in pain and full of despair, I found myself trying to sabotage my happiness by the negative self talk slowly creeping up. I was able to speak positively, validate how I feel and I know I do deserve all the good things that have happened to me ever since I moved back home. With Estelle's help in Melbourne, this allowed me to calm my emotions down and regulate them to become stable again. This was a huge improvement for me, as in the past I have self sabotaged positive things as I believed I didn't deserve them at all. That self loathing stems from my childhood, growing up in an environment where I wasn't validated and told I was 'worthless, hopeless' etc.
Moving back, I really want to improve the mental health system here in Western Australia and make the help available that I had over East. I believe every person who suffers a mental illness should be given the chance I was given to receive that help so they can learn to live with a debilitating mental illness. BPD is often on a low priority list when it comes to mental illnesses, with ED turning people away as they are viewed as 'dramatic' or 'attention seeking', which then can heighten the crisis for them. Personality disorders in general aren't viewed by some professionals as high priority, as they think its just a momentary thing that is too difficult to deal with. This wouldn't be the case if we had more access to Government funding, with funds being cut for mental health facilities here in Western Australia. This is very scary considering the Suicide rates in Western Australia went up last year.
I am hoping by voicing outwardly my battle with my illness, I can continue to make that difference. I am still yet to start trauma therapy, I am still yet to find a suitable resource here I know will benefit me greatly. I want to keep helping the people like me who are stuck in a flawed system, who will be feeling petrified and scared due to not having the resources they need to survive in this life. Writing down my experiences and what I have learnt from my DBT/CBT therapy has already helped a lot of people who aren't coping. If I can help them keep going and give them that hope that kept me going, then I am doing my job.