Confessions of a Zebra: #3 Borderline Personality Disorder and Me – Katie
Trigger Warning: Substance Abuse
Sorry, I missed April’s installment of the guest post series – Confessions of a Zebra.
I have been super busy, visiting the ankle surgeon, recovering from food poisoning and a UTI infection, and escaping the British weather in Amsterdam.
May is Mental Health Awareness month
So, I thought it would be great to share Katie’s experience, of living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Katie is 31 years old and was diagnosed 6 years ago, shortly after her second child was born.
1.What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline Personality Disorder is also known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder and is when you cannot regulate emotions properly for a long time. Common symptoms are extreme mood swings in one day, splitting (seeing things in black and white) unstable relationships, loss of identity, feeling empty, acting impulsively and suicidal thoughts.
For me, I can’t control my emotions, one minute I feel confident but the next minute I am suicidal. I find controlling my temper very difficult. I can fly off the handle at the smallest things and become upset for no reason.
2. What are the main symptoms you suffer from?
- Severe mood swings
- Constant fatigue
- Huge lack of appetite
3.How do you manage Borderline Personality Disorder on a day-to-day basis?
- Plenty of hugs
4. In what way has the NHS supported you?
I feel like the NHS has not supported me apart from giving me my formal diagnosis. Although, having a label does not make me feel any better about myself.
5. How was your journey to diagnosis for Borderline Personality Disorder?
The journey of being formally diagnosis with Borderline Personality Disorder was destructive, painful, regretful, difficult, lonely and bitter.
6. What have your learnt about your condition since being diagnosed?
People make me angry, so I must steer clear of them, to avoid triggering off more mood swings. I have learnt to take more time for myself and trust only myself. I think no one can help you but you. I must remember no matter how bad I feel, it is all in my head and not reality.
7.How has Borderline Personality Disorder changed your life?
Dramatically. I used to go out regularly spend all my free time with friends. I distance myself in case anyone sees me on a bad day. My ex has used my mental health against me and taken my youngest claiming I’m dangerous even though I’ve never once hurt my kids. It’s been a tool people can use to hurt me for a while, because they know people don’t care about mental health. We tend to just get classed insane and left to kill ourselves off.
8.What Perceptions changed since you were diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder?
I realised that I am a lot weaker mentally than what I initially thought. Although, at the same time I am strong because I am overcoming my struggles slowly. I think that although there has been a lot of work done to reduce mental health stigma, still very few people care about mental health on an individual basis.
9.What information do you wish you was given when you were diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder?
I wish I was giving some coping mechanisms and someone to talk to.
10. Have you gain any new hobbies since been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder?
Yes. The more unsociable I come the more creative I am. I paint rocks with positive messages and hide them where I live. I also, do more colouring and writing, but gaming is still my biggest hobby. It is very rare I am not on my Xbox. It helps block out this confusing and hurtful planet for a while.
11.What emotional support do you have for Borderline Personality Disorder?
I rely on my partner, his mum and a few friends. In my case, professionals just do not care.
12. What do you find is the most challenging part about Borderline Personality Disorder?
The most challenging parts of BPD is controlling my emotions all day. I can feel angry and I do not know why. I also can feel intense happiness for or really scared and change between seconds without reason, which is frustrating.
13.What advice would you give to someone newly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder?
Just keep fighting. No matter how angry, sad, scared or hurt just keep going and do not let your demons get their hands on you. Find someone to speak to and just keep pushing.
14.What are your plans for next year?
Prove my mental health only affects myself and not my children and get my life back.
Sharing is Caring
To help raise awareness of Borderline Personality Disorder, we would love if you shared Katie’s story.
Share your Story
I am passionate about raising awareness’s of chronic and mental illnesses. If you want to become a part of the Confession of a Zebra series, please fill out the form below.
Are you Feeling Low?
Samaritans UK: A helpline for those who feels heavy distress or suicidal. The helpline does not show up on phone bills also.
116 223 – Free helpline
Young Minds (Under 25 years old): A UK based charity committed to improving children and young people’s mental health.
020 7089 5050
National Suicide Prevention Helpline
National Adolescent Suicide Helpline
Need Long-term Mental Health Support?
If you suspect you have Borderline Personality Disorder you will need to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Katie remains a great advocate for mental health and runs a small support group on Facebook called Mental Health Poetry/Writings.
Treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder include cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) or dialectal behaviour therapy (DBT). Access to these services are not guaranteed but assessments for U.K residents can be carried out from a referral to Psychodynamics services or Complex Needs.
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