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 am so much more than my BPD diagnosis

My diagnosis of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), or the UK name EUPD (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder) was at first a major blow, but then I realised I finally had a name for this shadow that had been following me around for the last  20 years and, more importantly, I wasn't alone.

The words that describe what we live with do not define us – we are more than just a neurological clinical diagnosis, we are complex human beings.

If someone's struggling, try to help them, don't blame them

I was 23 years old, I had found the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and I was feeling content…and then out of the blue, a bombshell came that was going to massively affect my life. My wife, being a caring and compassionate person, tried to help a family member financially, and was left with their crippling debts. We stuck together through the two years of fixing the damage, but it took so much out of me emotionally. Sadly our relationship has never been the same.

Ask twice and let them know you're there to listen

Someone who has shown me they were in my corner was my friend Sandra who I first met at work; we became friends after recognising our similar tastes in books, and penchant for morning coffee.

We'd eventually come to realise we had more in common than initially thought.

I don't know how to explain it fully but when I talked to her, about anything and everything I felt that sense of "this is a safe space, this person gets me".

There are so many myths about self-harm

The first time I self-harmed I was sixteen. I had been struggling with my mental health for a while, and felt low, anxious and overwhelmed on a daily basis. I was desperate for a release from the distress I was experiencing and from what was going on inside. 

At the time, the physical pain felt easier to deal with than the emotional pain I was experiencing. It gave me a sense of control, when I felt I had so little control over the distressing thoughts and feelings I had. However, it became my ‘go to’ way of coping, and it felt impossible to stop. 

Talking about mental health is not a weakness — we need to break the stigma

I remember the day I decided to take my own life, that moment was the first time I’d had clarity of thought for as long as I could remember.  There was a huge sense of relief that I had finally realised how I could take back control over what was happening to me.  The irony was that things in my life had never been so good.  I had just become a father for the first time (my daughter was 6 months old), I had a wonderful supportive and caring wife, a lovely home, and a great group of family and friends around me.  However, by this stage anxiety and depression had taken over.

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