Living with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder can be hell, but sometimes I wouldn't change it for the world. It's not only given me a real insight into the world of mental health, but it has made me want to help others like me too, and worse.
I can understand in a way where people are coming from with the whole stigma around mental health, but it is important to know that everyone has mental health, just like physical health, just some have it poorer than others. It is also important to know that these people are not dangerous, and are in fact more of a danger to themselves than others.
I first started having symptoms of my disorder in my second year of university. I would obsess about everything that had happened, I would hold a grudge over everything, I would gain and lose friends within days, and I would hide away for even longer. I did not know who I was as a person, I felt lost. As my university grades started to take a turn for the worse, I turned to my tutor. My tutors were amazing all throughout university, and the best thing I ever did was turn to them with my worries. Everyone around me in university seemed to be getting on with their lives, growing into themselves and really developing emotionally, whereas I felt stuck in a rut. I was risk taking more than ever and my self harm was increasing. I have self harmed since school, where I started showing symptoms of an eating disorder, which even now still creeps up within my borderline personality disorder, and doesn't help with my self esteem.
I would obsess about everything that had happened, I would hold a grudge over everything
When I was at my lowest, I had attempted suicide several times, I had been in and out of hospital for months and nothing was getting better. However I wasn't low all the time, some days I was at my highest peak, and my university work would flow. I have always been creative, and so I did my degree in Illustration. Almost at the end of third year, I had been arrested four times due to drunken behaviour, assault, battery and public disorder offences, and I still am on probation. I had woken up in hospital more times than I can count, I was on my last and final student disciplinary warning and was on the verge of expulsion. On the other hand, my grades were sky high, and I was predicted a first class degree a few months before graduation. Weeks before graduation I was due to have another disciplinary hearing to decide whether or not I could graduate. With the most difficult choice at hand, I accepted help from the community mental health team, I accepted there was a problem and I graduated top of the class with two awards.
I am now 23 years old, with a first class honours degree and I'm a support worker in the community
My best advice would be to talk about your worries, no matter how big or small. Accept you may have a problem. Relapse is also common, so if you find yourself getting better then all of a sudden you seem to slip, don't worry, I have too, and so have millions of people out there. I have a great outlet within my illustration work, in which I still do now. I have had exhibitions all around Cardiff, in Scotland, North wales and Nottingham raising awareness of mental health issues. Some of my work can be found here. I also run a private blog, which you may access if you ask for it, (you may email me here) however I feel I cannot post it on here as I get bad days too, a lot of bad days, and on bad days I do blog, and the last thing I want to do is trigger anyone. It helps me to read what other people write about their disorder, as all disorders are completely different and you do not feel so alone.
I am now 23 years old, with a first class honours degree and I'm a support worker in the community looking after elderly people, and I wouldn't change it for the world. Like I said I too get bad days, however, honesty is the key, my boss knows everything and is incredibly understanding. One day I hope to be an art psychotherapist, and I hope to apply for the masters in a couple of years.