Introduction

Hello, I am not sure where to start really my life has been a roller coaster that really took off when I started my A-levels.

So my name is Erin, I am 25 right now, I am mentally ill. I am diagnosed with Bipolar as far as I know it is type 2 rapid cycling possibly due to the amount of cycles I have. I also am diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

I have been through hell and back, I am still fighting stigma within the professional community of psychiatrists etc to treat me like a human being. To not be treated as the stereotypes of my conditions:
‘manipulative, abusive, drama queen, attention seeking, uncooperative, rude, nasty’ just to name a few; this is just the borderline stigma I have received.

I actually was at university in Leeds studying Forensic Psychology. Many people mistake this for the whole CSI crime scene forensics teams. This however is untrue. It is actually the same Psychology module accredited by the BPS (British Psychological Society) except we have a module specialising in mostly sex offenders, a bit on addiction, terrorism, serial killers and so on.

I still have old friends from University who studied Psychology. They post articles/studies every so often. One such study was about mental health nurses etc stigmatising patients with borderline also known as emotionally unstable PD. It is so bad they want to change the name of the disorder. It has also been suggested it should be reclassified and defined/thought of in the same way professionals view those with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

BPD affects our world view. The way we interpret others, the things we see and so on. It is not something that is attached on to us, so depression attaches onto our personality and our world view. It modifies it. But for someone with Autism their world view is that through the autism lens it is not something they can change about them. It is similar to borderline PD. People always say your illness does not define you it is not what makes you, well…you. It is not who you are.

Whilst I would agree to an extent I do think for a borderline person to hear this it is hard to not be cynical and retort snarkily back, ‘well my personality is entirely influenced by my disorder and therefore the way i view the world is too.’ What causes my over reactions is because of my hyper sensitivity to notice changes in say, inflections in peoples voices or tiny changes in behaviour.

Things someone else might brush off to me leads to a very real fear in my mind of abandonment. So I would argue it is something that is integral part of who I am and what makes me the person I am to this day. There is this very real stigma that we cannot just accept we are mentally ill and it makes us who we are when we have borderline.
It can be very sad to be told by everyone who does not understand and even professionals who should know better that ‘hey it is okay your disorder is a horrible thing and its not you and it should be rid from you.‘ Now I am NOT saying my disorder is something that doesn’t cause me great pain, but it is an integral part of who I am, as it is a personality disorder.

SO I have started this blog as I have registered to be a Time To Change Champion which is about using our personal stories and knowledge to try to break down stigma. This blog will be raw uncut honesty when it comes to my personal story.

I have recently come to terms with my borderline diagnosis. I have found the good in the disorder…some of my most creative sides have come out because of my borderline and bipolar. I would not be sat here now talking to you. I would not have started writing poetry. I probably never would have gone to university let alone studied psychology.

This is seen as such a taboo in the mental health world/community to admit.
People will say you’re letting it define you. Do not let it define you.

I say admitting your diagnosis/disorder makes up a big part of who you are, is not shutting yourself into a box and saying this is who I am, I cannot change and admitting defeat. It is just acceptance. One of, if not the most important things you can do for yourself when diagnosed, is to learn to accept this is your diagnosis it is right now a part of you. That you can improve, you can get better, in some cases you can recover. But for right now. This is the cards you’ve been dealt. You need to accept your diagnosis.

Well that is not letting it define me. I call it realism. I call it acceptance. Self love. Self care.

I am me. I am different. I always will be.

-Erin

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