From the stranger walking past I may look the typical 20-year-old living life to the full, working and studying (not to mention partying!), but on the inside I couldn't feel any different to that description.

Yes I am 20, and hold down a full time job as Care Assistant as well as studying full time, but at 19 I was diagnosed with what the professionals call Borderline Personality Disorder.

Never heard of it? Neither had I until I was sectioned. That's right I was admitted to the psych ward against my will. I am not ashamed to admit it because:

1. It is nothing to be embarrassed about, everyone gets ill.

2. it’s given me the determination to write these blogs, support the Time to Change Wales campaign and pursue my career as a nurse.

Before I was sectioned I had completely gone off the rails, but I moved from Cambridgeshire to Wales when I came out of the psych ward, and I can honestly say it has saved me. I may seem all better now and be totally sorted - I know what I want from life, I'm at college completing my access to nursing, I'm going to university, establishing my career as a nurse in A+E or ICU before I settle down and have a family - but on the inside, I am still plagued with the fear that belongs to mental illness. The mind full of what ifs. What if they don't understand me? What if they write me off as crazy? As a BPD sufferer, I find it hard to turn these emotions off and find attachment difficult.

Now, I could dwell on this but instead I have found the greatest relief is by helping others. Since I left retail, to work in care I have become stronger for it. I am passionate in helping others. Just because I have a mental illness my life doesn't have to be destroyed. Not only do I work as a Care Assistant, and am studying to become a nurse I'm also waiting to start my voluntary post with the Welsh police and Hafal to work with vulnerable detainees in custody.

Many people give up on their goals when they are diagnosed with a mental illness which in turn can make them worse, mainly because of the stigma.

Many people give up on their goals when they are diagnosed with a mental illness which in turn can make them worse, mainly because of the stigma. If more people spoke up about their battles stigma could be erased, and everyone would feel able to fulfil their ambitions. I am not saying for a minute it’s easy, I still get days when I think “why am I doing this?” or “I m useless”, but I give myself a pep talk and remember why I am doing it.

I have had a rough past but it’s in the past, I always remember there's people worse of than me so when you feel down, throw yourself into achieving your goals! Becoming a nurse is what keeps me sane, not the meds - although they do help!


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