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Many people cringe at the phrases, ‘emotionally unstable personality disorder’ and, ‘borderline personality disorder’. They don’t sound particularly inviting. People hide away from it or stigmatise it because they don’t understand what it is like to experience it. My name is Leanne and I have borderline personality disorder and to say my journey has been a rollercoaster is an understatement.

I have had four long years of highs and lows

I have had four long years of highs and lows, self-hatred, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, hallucinations and episodes that I barely remember. I have also felt emptiness for months at a time and never been able to fully trust all except a couple of people: but I have gotten through it.

It all started with panic attacks from a young age. My peers called me an ‘attention seeker’, and the staff were never able to help much, not even fully understanding what I was going through. Whether they judged me or not, I’m not sure. To be honest, I don’t think I ever fully understood myself until last year when a doctor suggested I had emerging personality disorder traits. At times I felt like a freak, because that was what people made me out to be; I understand better now.

The stigma only got worse when I reached college

The stigma only got worse when I reached college and people used more degrading language when referring to me. Soon enough I was low and attempted suicide. When my family came to visit me in hospital, I tried to make jokes, but inside I was ready to burst in to tears, feeling so much shame for what I did. Only now did I realise it was a way of me trying to cope. It isn’t the positive way and it didn’t help, when I reached home I realised that I needed to fight to be with my family.

I would be lying to you if I say I haven’t thought about it, or done anything to harm myself. But I have an amazing support network, especially one person who also experiences mental illness. I owe that friend my life: she has been amazing and a constant in my life, never giving up on me. I will never forget the moment our bond was ultimately sealed after admitting our issues to one another. I can never repay her for all she has done because she could just as easily walk away from me. Of course, there is my family who have been here through it all with me, each in their own way, helping in any way they can. Things with the mental health team have been a little rocky in transitioning me but now I am on the road to recovery, with a positive end goal.

If I can have a future, you can too

For those of you reading this, especially if you do have a mental illness, remember to always have hope and keep fighting on. If I, of all people, can be strong enough to overcome the daily struggles, then you can too, I believe in you to be strong and to stay on the positive path.

My name is Leanne and I have borderline personality disorder. Four years ago I couldn’t see my future: it was a foreign concept to me, I hated myself and was so full of anxiety. But now I have accepted I am who I am and the way to university after everything I have been through. If I can have a future, you can too.

What do you think of Leanne’s story?

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Source:time-to-change.org.uk

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