Ali, January 20, 2016

I’m Ali, I’ll be talking for London about my experiences of borderline personality disorder (BPD), and here's why…

It's hard to pinpoint one occasion where a conversation has changed how I felt about my mental health, or a particular time when someone else's view of mental health has changed, because I have had so much support from my friends and family. Of course, it has taken time for those close to me to try and understand it. But in all honesty, my boyfriend has been a real star.

How one conversation made such a positive change

I remember one conversation in particular. We were friends before we started seeing each other. I couldn't sleep one night in the summer due to a lot of racing and intrusive thoughts – it was a difficult time because a close friend was in hospital, seriously unwell.

We were chatting on Facebook as normal and he was quite surprised to see me awake at 3am. I opened up to him and he just listened. He acknowledged everything I said and he offered me a listening ear rather than a judgmental or unsympathetic comment. He didn't have to understand, he just needed to listen and take me seriously. Which he did.

Since then, we have been together for over two years and throughout every emotional breakdown, impulsive act, low mood, anxious thought or "black and white" assumption, he is just there for me. And that's all I need from him.

He accepts me for who I am

I have had relationships before where I have been seen as "crazy" or "too sensitive" – but he really just gets me and accepts me for who I am (often something I forget) and is right beside me as I slowly grow, get better and manage my condition in a healthy and positive way. He made me realise that I can be loved and I can be in a relationship (something I thought I didn't deserve) – and living with BPD isn't going to get in the way of that.

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