Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year and no one should feel ashamed. By sharing our experiences, together we can end the stigma.

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I wish there was more education around BPD

Since about the age of 10 I’ve had depression and depressive episodes, I always knew there was something else to it, but only a few months ago I got diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This was also the first time in my 23 years of living I had even heard of this disorder.

People hear the words “personality disorder” and presume the worst of the worst or don’t know how to react, this makes it extremely difficult for people like myself to open up, even to friends and family.

Depression is not an emotion - it's an illness

Ah, mental health stigma surrounding depression. The worst that's been said to me in the last 9 years of having depression is:

"Don't go and have a Helen moment on me!"

"Don't quit your job. I know your job has been making you feel depressed but you're being stupid. You haven't tried hard enough."

"Is that all your depressed about?"

"Stop being ungrateful and take your Great Aunt's advice!"

Please, stop.

'Self-stigma' is real and we need to talk about it

When I started taking antidepressants for the first time last year, I was scared of what people would think. Whilst I knew, rationally, that there is no shame in taking medication for a health condition, I was flinching away from the imagined reactions of those who knew me.

I told a select few. Partially because I was advised to, and as an advocate for mental health, it would have been hypocritical of me to stay quiet.

The best way to understand someone's mental health problem is to talk to them

My name’s Carl, I’m 26 years old and I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression for over 10 years. However I suspect even before then there were some mental health issues going on.

I think it's key to talk and create an open discussion on mental health. I believe it should be treated in the exact same way that physical health is treated. We will very likely have either been affected or know someone close to us who is suffering from mental health issues, and it’s a very serious problem. Suicide is the number one killer of men under the age of 45, which is a terrifying statistic.

Mental health stigma doesn't solve issues, it just makes them worse

So where do I begin?

I've been told since I was 12 that my constant stress, sickness and weakness, and panic attacks were nothing more than attention-seeking behaviour.

I didn't want to make friends, but I didn't want to be alone. I didn't want to leave the house, but I couldn't live with the idea of me being a failure. I didn't want to admit something was wrong, but at some point I had to.

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