Believe It Or Not…

*Language & self-harm*



Believe it or not those with a mental illness can have fun, enjoy things in life, smile and laugh… whilst still having the illness and suffering with it daily. 


Something which was said to me recently was when I told people at work that I was going to a gig next year – I managed to get front row seats to see my favourite band on their comeback tour…. and I had someone say to me ‘What gets me is you can do that yet….’, as if to say if I can go to a gig why am I struggling with other things? My answer to that was simple – I won’t eat all day! My anxiety will be that high that I feel sick and can’t eat until I get home after midnight. This is usual for me. I can go to a concert, a show or other big event and though you may not see it, I struggle. I am anxious. But for instance this gig next year is to see a band I supported for half of my life – I love them and I have to be there – therefore, as a one-off occasion I will suffer the emotions that come with it.


I went to a gig last year, to see one of the members on a solo tour….. I was anxious and upset the whole time because of something that happened. I kept a face on generally and when I got home, I burst into tears and roared the house down. It was a bad experience for me. Just because you see me out doing these things, apparently ‘confident’ or having fun it doesn’t mean you know what’s going on for me. My mental health was awful at that time – I’d recently had my breakdown at therapy. I still went. I think the only thing I’ve done since is go to a comedy show – that was good. It’s nice to be able to go out and laugh and feel part of something.


There almost seems to be this rule that if you’re mentally ill you have to look miserable and a nervous wreck all the time. And you have to stay home, unable to leave the house. I’ll have you know that’s what I’ve done most of this year. My illness does make it hard to leave the house. It makes it hard to leave my room or put clothes on, or anything! So any times I go out should be celebrated. I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for going out and having much-needed fun. These sorts of events are needed for me at the moment, to give me things to look forward to and to stick around for, because most of the time I don’t want to live anymore. In some ways even seeing this band next year is not enough incentive to stay alive. But at least it’s something. I have a number of things I’ve got booked in for next year. And yes, some of them I am going to alone. Don’t think this is easy for me to do. It’s not. I’m dreading it. I’m trying not to think of it actually. But I will get through it as I have before. The reason I’m going alone is because I have been socially isolated this year… completely. So I had to make a choice… if I want to go to these things I have to go alone. It’s as simple as that. I made the decision and regretted it immediately afterwards. But I don’t have to think about those things right now.


On the days I can put on my mask you will see me in a work setting, joining in with the banter, laughing, chatting to customers…. it’s an act… to fit into society. I can’t show my reality for fear society will reject me. That is why I am not able to be in that work setting at the moment, because I’m unable to wear that mask. Who knows where I’ll be next year. I hope to feel better by then. I don’t see it happening.


I have a comedy show next week. I’m going with one of my parents, as I have done most things with them this year – they’re pretty much all I have, and are my rocks. I’m hoping laughing will do me some good. But I know it won’t solve the issues I have to deal with. Does this mean I shouldn’t get to go to something in the hope of a little relief from the suffering I endure every day of my life? After the gig I went to last year and other experiences, I’m concerned something will go wrong and ruin the experience. But I just have to go with the flow.


All throughout my illness people may have seen me laughing, chatting, messing around. Some of it an act… some of it me actually letting go and forgetting my illness for a while – which is nice! Does that mean I’m not ill and don’t have difficulties? No. Everyone is allowed to have fun and be happy and still have a serious illness. We shouldn’t live in fear that if we act normal or express contentment or enjoyment for a moment, that people will question the validity of our claims of illness…. but this is how I feel a lot of the time.  And this thinking keeps you stuck, not getting better because you never allow yourself to feel good. The worry is that people will see you laughing and think you’re not struggling anymore, leaving you misunderstood. But at the same time that is the mask people wear in order to be accepted… which means we feel ‘accepted’ but never understood … this is a big problem for me… although lately I feel neither understood nor accepted!


Believe it or not, people with a mental illness can also have strong opinions… and stand up for themselves…. and still have that illness. Just this morning I expressed my view online, and a troll decided to tell me ‘nobody cares!’ – I bit right back, saying that’s how I felt about their opinion, told them to have a nice day and muted them…. an outsider might think ‘Wow, strong…. she doesn’t care and won’t put up with any shit…. surely she can’t have anxiety or BPD like she claims’….. forget the fact that straight after that I harmed myself in one of the worst ways I ever have. Forget that it’s made me reluctant to say anything else. Forget that I had instant palpitations caused by this sod. Forget that it completely triggered me, because all this year my feeling has been that ‘nobody cares’ about me whatsoever…. friends, mental health services…. bloody government!! I’ve written about this several times this year.


But my response will usually imply I’m stronger than I am, because I was bullied all my life and I don’t believe in remaining silent, being made to feel like shit. I also don’t believe in worsening a situation to the point that I want to die instead of just cut. I believe in a curt response, putting the person in their place and then blocking them and moving on. I would have been able to do this had the troll not found my Achilles’ heel – feeling like nobody cares what I think or feel and I should be ignored. These nasty shitholes do a lot of damage to me, but fuck it, I’m allowed opinions. And I’m allowed to defend myself against bullies. This does not mean I’m not ill.


So often I have to weigh up my mental health and my RIGHT to say what I feel about things. It’s not right that it should be this way. I should be allowed to express myself without idiots jumping on my posts and attacking me, therefore worsening my mental health. Nobody NEEDS to respond to people they disagree with. I didn’t even say anything controversial. I was just telling my MP I won’t be voting for her again. What fucking business is it of that moron to tell me nobody cares?? You disagree, fine. Write your own post of support for the MP. This is the trouble I have with those with opposing political views to mine – they all think they’re entitled to explanations from us, and they can’t control their impulse to argue with everything and everyone they disagree with. Whereas we tend to let people have their views. I’ve never jumped on someone for their views. I had this with a friend a year or two ago (I say friend, I mean acquaintance) – she would always pounce on my posts, trying to appear ‘right’… but I never did the same to her. I let her have her views on her profile unchallenged, because I believe in freedom of speech but more importantly I believe in decency and manners. If I disagreed with something she said I would make my own post about the matter, separately, rather than trying to put her views down. But she didn’t do the same. So many on her side seem like that. Why can’t people just state their opinions independently without feeling the need to put others down?


Believe it or not those with a mental illness can be quite knowledgeable about their illness and still be ill. We can know what our issues are (which seems quite useful as professionals don’t seem to know how to help us anymore and ask us what help we want!!). We might know we’re experiencing paranoia, therefore knowing that the thoughts aren’t based on reality, but that doesn’t mean we can turn it off. I’ve experienced intense paranoia this year… I’m aware that it could be paranoia… I stated it and I wasn’t proved wrong, so actually in my mind it wasn’t paranoia now… but others would view it as untrue therefore paranoia. All I knew was they were obsessive thoughts that I couldn’t get over no matter how hard I tried. Knowing it’s paranoia doesn’t help. And it doesn’t mean I’m not experiencing paranoia.


It’s been years since I had it suggested that I had BPD / EUPD. I didn’t want the diagnosis when it was on offer, as my CPN made me feel there’s a lot of stigma around it. But in all those years since then I’ve had a lot of time to accept that it explains my experiences, so even without the official diagnosis I accept it, and have educated myself about my own illness. I know which of my behaviours and thinking patterns are problematic. Does this mean I can necessarily do anything to change them, without help? No. Awareness… insight….it doesn’t mean the illness is a choice. It doesn’t mean you have the answers. And even if you do have the answers it doesn’t mean you know what they are or how to access them even. I might know the level of help I need with an illness like this… I might be able to talk eloquently about what I’m going through… this may make some think I don’t have a problem in reality, as I’m not so bad that I can’t express what’s happening or what I need, but awareness and the ability to discuss my illness does not lessen the grip it has on my life. It doesn’t make it easier to deal with. In fact it’s worse…. to know what’s wrong with you… to know you need help and not be able to get it. To understand when you’re ‘splitting’ or engaging in self-destructive actions, but to be unable to stop and choose a different course, when people would expect you to be ‘smart enough’ to not make those choices. The illness is still real and has control over me… no matter how much I know about it.


So I might be opinionated. I might know a lot about my illness. I might go out and have fun sometimes. It doesn’t mean I’m cured. The path to recovery is long… and if every little step along the way is viewed by others as a leap and a sign of no longer being ill, this will lead to unrealistic expectations on me which will send me spiralling backwards. I am trying to survive. I can’t honestly say at this moment I am trying to get better. But I’m trying to endure the hell I live in. Most days it’s not a life worth living. There aren’t many good things in my life, so when I create them for myself this should be seen as an intent to keep striving for recovery, or at least a determination to endure the pain for longer. I should be allowed to have fun or speak my mind without fear of people questioning the reality of my illness.


Even things I enjoy, I also struggle with. Things aren’t always as they seem with mental illness. Often you can’t see it… that’s why so much stigma exists. And when doubts are thrown at us about the true extent of our illness, because of the things we CAN do, it is invalidating and makes us feel accused of making it up. I don’t know about you but I can say for certain, I don’t fake being ill …  I fake being well …  just so I can try and fit in and ‘get better’ for real. I realise how self-damaging this is now, as people expect more from me than I can give. That’s why I’ve pulled away from everything. I can no longer pretend to be well. But I promise you this – if you see me out and about either in the work setting or at an event, I will have my mask and smile on and chat as though nothing’s wrong…. it’s habit. It’s not easy to give up when you’ve been conditioned to appear positive around others. Just know there’s more going on underneath than you could ever know.




Understanding Suicide.

Suicide Understanding



I had wanted to get this post finished and published on Monday, as it was World Suicide Prevention Day… but in a way I’m glad I failed to meet that deadline, as why should there be just one day to ‘prevent suicide’ or to talk about suicide? Awareness days are all well and good, but I’d prefer it if we were more open all the time, about our struggles. We can help each other feel less alone, and perhaps give each other hope. We don’t need one day to do that. People weren’t just considering suicide or acting on those thoughts on Monday… every day people are contemplating ending it all. Right now people are paying serious thought to their place in existence… they need us to keep the conversation going today, tomorrow and every tomorrow after it. If people only care for one day, and can’t keep going day after day, how can we expect people to keep living day after day, when they’re in such turmoil and distress? We cannot expect people to keep going if the support and understanding doesn’t also keep going. So here’s what I wanted to say about suicide…. it’s rather long, as I don’t speak about it often… goes without saying, be careful reading it, due to the subject matter……




I don’t have all the facts and figures on suicide, like many others put out there on World Suicide Prevention Day. All I have is an insight into the thoughts and feelings that would lead someone to feel that desperate as to choose to end their life. Until now I have never attempted to take my own life. I have considered it – sometimes just in passing as I walk past something that could be ‘a means’… sometimes more thought out… actually putting myself in the situation where I could make that decision. 6th December last year was the first time I really couldn’t see me being able to carry on, and it was the first time I phoned the Samaritans. I didn’t know what to expect but there was a gentle, caring sounding woman on the other end of the phone, who helped me through that desperate night. And the next day I shared with my family how bad things were. That was a low point in my life and I really couldn’t bear living anymore. There have been these moments I’ve seriously considered suicide. But until now at least, I have chosen the endless painful torment that is life.


But in more recent times my mind has become so much darker and more desperate, that it has sought comfort in the notion of death. Suicide plagues my thoughts. Every day lately I consider the way I could do it. I think what would be the quickest way… the most certain way… the least distressing or inconvenient for other people. You see, I’m still at that point where I can think of the people who would find me. When you reach that point where you choose death, there really is no room left for anything else. The mind and soul have been swamped by darkness and decayed hope. I’ve never been there, but I have heard from people who have, and I know enough to know that if I don’t get help soon, I will be faced with that reality myself. I’m close enough to it, to know that it takes over the mind to the point that not much else can fit in.


I know, because although I am thinking about the people who would have to witness it or find me, and I wouldn’t want to traumatise them, I also know that the pain I’m enduring is too strong and too much to bear, and in the end that will trump everything else. There will come a time when I put myself first and everything else will go out the window.


People think of suicide as a selfish act. I want to say a couple of things on this – yes…. I can understand the argument that it is selfish, and if that is the case then I can also understand why people still make that choice. I myself have been staying alive for my family now for the last few years. They are the only thing keeping me going right now. I am putting their feelings ahead of my own need to be free of this pain. I have had selfish people destroy my life and then claim I was selfish for being upset about it. All my life my needs and my wishes have come second (not to family though). So much so that I think of myself as ‘selfish’ whenever I take some time for myself and focus on self-care, or when I’m not there for my friends or family. When your self-worth is that low because you’ve had to stuff your needs down all your life, and then when it all becomes too much to bear inside, and you choose to put your needs first and end your suffering, people call you ‘selfish’… that is wrong. You have no idea what that person has gone through, and how very much the opposite to selfish they have been, to  have held on so long, for you. I understand that people will always view suicide as ‘selfish’. In some ways I could even agree that it is. That is not to say people are bad for opting for it. It is not to say they shouldn’t be allowed to make that choice for themselves. And it’s not to say it is EVER done with a selfish intent. Which brings me to my second point…


Suicide, whilst perceived by others as ‘selfish’ is often viewed by the person themselves as a selfless act. Many people who reach such a crisis point as to want to end their own lives, very often feel like a burden to those around them. They feel like a terrible person… a nuisance. Some feel invisible and don’t think anyone would notice or care if they died. But some actively think that others will be better off without them. It might not make sense to a calm, positive and rational mind – you might say ‘there is ALWAYS someone who cares about you’… but you don’t know other people’s circumstances. You may think that someone has a loving family, a network of friends, a happy relationship… and those people themselves may think that they communicate their love, care, appreciation and support – but it doesn’t mean it is being received by the person in crisis.


For instance, in the last few months I’ve had to cope basically on my own. None of my friends would know that the other friends weren’t there for me either, and that I’ve had to cope alone. I sometimes get messages saying ‘You know I’m here for you’… as if it’s a given. But sometimes when in crisis, everything goes out the window. If people think ‘Well they know how I feel about them… they know I care… it goes without saying’ and therefore don’t communicate it to us, we feel as though we’re totally alone and uncared for. Just telling each other what we mean to one another may be the thing that saves someone from suicide. You can’t expect people to just know how you feel about them.


Even if people DO feel loved and appreciated, sometimes it’s still not enough to save someone from the demons in their mind. Sometimes love isn’t enough. To live with a constant enemy inside you, ripping your soul apart from the inside, every single day, it’s exhausting, and eventually everyone reaches their limit. If they don’t have the right support, which is quite common nowadays in this country, and there’s nowhere to turn, some will choose to take matters into their own hands. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. I think that’s what many people feel when a loved one ‘chooses death over’ them. Unless you know the endless torment of mental illness, you’ll never know how someone could choose to end it. It is not personal. It’s not about you. It’s something deeper and more complex than you could imagine…. an inner demon that’s taken control of the wheel. Someone could have every good reason to live and still want to die, because they are haunted by this sickness of the mind that robs them of all light and hope.


And one last point on the idea of ‘selfishness’ and suicide. I cannot count how many times I have seen comments on local news stories, where roads have been closed due to ‘an incident’, as in someone contemplating suicide… and these comments are always the same…. of ‘inconvenience’  … it’s the same with trains, when someone has ended their life on the tracks, and people are blurting it straight out about how selfish it was, and how they’re going to be late for XYZ, or they’ll miss the football, or whatever… my message to those sorts of people is this… I understand your frustration. Perhaps XYZ was important to you. Perhaps you frequently encounter this problem and you’ve had enough of it. But no matter what your annoyance is, be thankful that you get to go home to your loved ones. Be thankful that you have just had enough of being held up by people on the tracks. Those people on the tracks had enough of life, and ended it. They won’t be returning home to their loved ones… those loved ones will be grieving tonight, and for the rest of their lives. Be grateful that you don’t understand the desperation and torment that leads someone to end their life.


It shocks me when I see those sorts of comments or hear them from people. You always hear the ‘Why don’t they just go off somewhere private and do it quietly?’ thing, which shows the utter heartlessness of people, and makes me question the goodness of humanity. But I understand these are people never touched by suicide or mental illness. They would be horrified to learn it was a friend or family member who ‘inconvenienced’ them by ending their life. But because it’s a stranger they think it’s okay to be callous about their life. Some people will go off and die quietly, as you wish them to, others will see an opportunity and take any means possible to be gone. I know you won’t like this, but some people actually want to be saved. They want to be stopped. They feel suicidal but they really don’t want to die, and they’re scared that it will happen.


I have had times when I’d fantasise about a particular way of doing it, and a great part of that fantasy was people trying to stop me and help me. I wanted to know my life was worth saving. I wanted to get the help I need. It’s not about getting attention. It’s reaching a crisis point and not knowing where to turn or what to do. It’s needing more help than is available to you. It’s needing to feel you’re worth saving. Being protected and rescued. To have someone hear and see your pain, and take it seriously and save you from yourself.


Suicide is a tragedy. And people sit at home on their computer, or on their phone, writing about the inconvenience of ‘jumpers’. How it disrupts their lives. No humanity. No compassion. Just pure selfishness. That is the true face of ‘selfish’. Not the person in such distress they cannot live anymore, but the people who do not know that pain and suffering and whinge about being late. Selfishness is people making someone feel so bad about themselves or so alone, that they no longer want to live in this world and see suicide as their only option. And people calling it the ‘easy way out’ … ‘the coward’s way out’… when they don’t know what they’re talking about. There is nothing ‘easy’ about choosing to take your own life. It takes a lot of ‘resilience’ and being worn down by life to reach that point. It takes a heck of a lot of inner conflict, backwards and forwards between just wanting peace, but not wanting to hurt anyone else. Nobody makes that choice easily. And even people who don’t want to live life anymore will feel scared of dying.


I don’t promote suicide. I simply say that I understand it and I am against people attacking this highly taboo subject, forcing more people into silent suffering. I want people to know that I understand the agony that leads to those thoughts and those places, because I’ve been at least three quarters of the way there, and that’s enough to know the hell you’d be in, to make that final decision. It’s a decision I wish people didn’t make. I wish they didn’t have to make it. I wish that life could be kinder to those people and they could defeat their demons, in life. I want people to hold on and fight against this illness that’s telling them to leave this life. Too many good souls are lost because of suicide… because of the conditions that lead to suicide…


Suicide is very often the final symptom of a mental illness. Just as death is the final symptom of a terminal cancer. I know you might argue that point, saying that cancer robs a person of their life, whereas suicide is a person throwing their life away. But the reality is that those who reach that point of suicide most likely feel their illness has robbed them of their life. Suicidal thoughts and self-harm can be symptoms of many mental illnesses. I know matters of the mind are harder to understand than physical illnesses, but they’re no different. Mental illnesses have symptoms, which are not the fault of the one suffering them. We would trade lives with someone in a heartbeat, if it meant having hope and a life worth living. I would give anything to not be experiencing sickening paranoia, isolation, abandonment, self-destructive urges, self-harm, splitting on people and the world, daily suicidal thoughts, hopelessness and flashbacks to every painful thing that’s ever happened. I would love to trust people. I would love my mind to be quiet for once. It is so jam-packed with the noises of memories, worries, made-up scenarios, paranoid thoughts, negative self-narrative, and the silent scream for me to just end it all. I have no room in my head for anything else. It’s already overcrowded. I want a bit of peace and quiet. Nobody chooses their symptoms, or their illness.


I take medication. I am still waiting to hear from the mental health services, just for the initial assessment! My world has shut down around me. I am isolated. Nobody knows the depth of my suffering. Suicidal feelings are hard for me to share with others – it’s pretty much the only symptom I don’t talk about in real life with people, for fear of their reactions. I don’t want to upset anyone, or alarm them. But I know I’m going to have to find the courage to discuss it at some point soon, and I just hope I have a calm, validating reaction when I do finally speak up. Silence around suicide is a big risk factor. A lot of the time people have no idea someone feels like ending their life, until they’re gone. They don’t see the warning signs. The signs are there. The world is just too busy and people are caught up in their own lives to notice them…


Signs of suicidality include:


  • Talking about / being preoccupied with death and suicide.
  • Increased self-harming behaviour.
  • Withdrawing / isolating.
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless.
  • Giving away possessions.
  • Being unable to concentrate / feeling restless.
  • Agitation / irritation.
  • Changes in personality / mood.
  • A calm / positive burst after continuous deep depression – this is often as the person is resolved to ending things… it brings them peace to know an end is near.
  • Engaging more in risky behaviours.
  • Changes in sleeping / eating habits.
  • Talk of feeling like a burden.
  • Negative view of self / life / the world.
  • Saying goodbye to people / making confessions.


I think the biggest signs for people ought to be that the person talks and writes about death and suicide more. I think there’s this myth that if it’s being talked about it’s not going to happen. This is wrong. I have talked about ending it for the last eight months or so. Admittedly I haven’t done anything yet. But what concerns me is the silence on the other end. People could see me talking about wanting to die, and had nothing to say to me. My take on that is that they don’t honestly believe I will do something. But me talking about it  was me reaching out for help, so that I wouldn’t do it. The trouble is eventually you stop talking about it. You go silent. And then if you were to follow it through, those same people who heard you talk about it for months would bleat out the same line – ‘Why didn’t she say anything?’ … ‘I had no idea she felt that bad’. The warning signs are there. And talking about suicidal feelings has to be one of the most blindingly obvious signs that someone is considering ending their life. Yet it’s often ignored as a ‘threat’ or ‘attention-seeking’. People talking about suicide is your chance to save them from it. So please don’t ignore someone as ‘crying wolf’ if they say they don’t want to live anymore. One day you’ll regret ignoring this sign.


Personally, my self-harm has got worse. I have withdrawn from everyone and I’m isolating myself. I feel trapped and worthless… completely hopeless. I don’t see a future for me. My concentration isn’t that great right now. It’s taken me a long time to write this post. I wanted it posted yesterday as well, but I had awful anxiety yesterday which only felt worse when writing this. I always feel like a burden. There’s not much good left that I see in me, life or the world and the people in it. And I am in the process of writing / saying things for people to know when I’m not here anymore. I’ve set it as my goal to stay alive long enough to document certain things, and to tell people the truth about my feelings and events. In the last few months I actually wrote ‘a note’. It didn’t become anything. I don’t know where it’s gone or what I said in it. But I’ve definitely gone to some extremely dark places this year. Right now I’m advised to take it minute by minute, so that’s what I intend to do. Everything feels broken and ruined beyond repair. But I have to just limp on and not worry about the big picture at the moment. I have to focus on me and getting through each minute. But I do so, with very heavy and intrusive thoughts of suicide.


But you wouldn’t think it to look at me. If you saw me I would be trying my hardest to wear a smile, even if that smile doesn’t touch my eyes I’ll be trying my hardest to force it to.


The whole thing with mental illness and suicide, is you never know when you’re standing next to someone or talking to someone, who wishes they were dead, or who has plans this evening to end their life. Suicide is a silent killer, often known about too late. We need to be able to speak out about how we’re feeling, and we need to have it taken seriously. If we’re speaking out about wanting to end our own lives, we’re scared, and we want to feel safe, loved and supported. It’s not easy to talk about suicide, so if we do it, please listen.



Whenever I used to be asked about suicidal thoughts by mental health professionals, I would say that I thought about it, but would never do anything about it. This was because I was afraid of their reaction. I was afraid of the doors it might open (or close). I was worried it would result in lectures, or even abandonment. The truth is I never felt completely safe from the possibility of actually doing something. And as time has gone on I have become less certain of what I’m capable of. After self-harming at therapy last year, which is something I never thought would’ve happened – I never thought I’d have been caught self-harming – I now don’t know what the limits are for me. I can’t honestly say that I wouldn’t do something. Would I admit this to a mental health professional? I don’t really know. Because I have a fear of the unknown. And I don’t know what lies beyond honesty about suicidal intent.


I feel certain at this point that it’s the direction my life is heading in. I see no future. I see no light or hope.


But let me clear something else up. I don’t want to die. I want to not want to die. I want a reason to live. I want a life. I want that life to bring me happiness, make me feel loved and important. I want people to treat me well. I want to matter. I want life to give me a break. I want to be able to cope with the world. I want more joy and love. I want to forget my past and dream of a future, that isn’t suicide. I don’t want to end my life. I want to end my pain.


This is the thing about suicide. Most people just want the pain to stop. They want the inner turmoil to mute. They want to heal. They want to kill the demon they carry with them everywhere they go. They want to be free of what weighs them down. This is how I feel. If life was different… better… I’d want to be a part of it. But at this point in time, the pull of ‘peace’ is greater than the pull of ‘life’. I don’t want to die. I want life to be better. I want to erase my memories. I want to not live in emotional pain every day. But when you are at this point, you feel there is nothing you can do to change the way your life is. You can’t make people treat you the way you wish they did. You can’t turn back time. You can’t forget everything you’ve been through. You can’t create your own breaks in life. You can’t create joy and love by yourself. You can’t make yourself matter to other people. You feel powerless. You can’t change your circumstances. But you can make a choice as to whether to live with those circumstances. And unfortunately that is why many people choose suicide. They see no other option.


People speak of the fear of being sectioned, for admitting suicidal ideation.  I would fear this too, having never been sectioned. In some ways a part of me would welcome it. A great part of me right now wants to be kept safe from myself. But the fear of the unknown doesn’t give me that choice. So I have to keep pushing on, in the hope that my regard for my family’s feelings will overpower the overpowering wish to make everything stop. But nothing feels certain anymore. It’s no longer a given that I won’t do anything. And that scares me. This year has seen the worst decline in my mental health I’ve ever known. I’m no longer who I once was. The self-destructive part of me is running the show now, and I’m afraid of my own mind.


People don’t just wake up one morning and think ‘Hey, I’ll kill myself’ for no reason. It happens slowly… days, weeks, months, years of endless sadness, pain and depression… until one day it feels like the only option left.


Please don’t be so quick to judge suffering you couldn’t understand. There’s so much more going on underneath a person than you will ever know. Try to understand what someone has been through, before thinking of them as selfish or weak. Be there for them. Help them want to live again. Push for support for them. Don’t give up on them, as they’ve given up on themselves. And listen to them – allow them to talk to you about their suicidal feelings. Remain calm and caring. Validate how they feel and why they feel that way, but show your commitment to helping them continue with life. One suicide is one too many. It’s important we talk about our feelings. It’s more important that others listen.


If you’re feeling suicidal or struggling with your mental health then please try and seek help – I know it’s hard to come by now, but don’t suffer in silence. And give the Samaritans a call (or your national suicide helpline)… it might not fix everything, as the pain you feel cannot be cured overnight. But I hope they can give you the encouragement to see another day.


We’re in this together. You’re not alone in feeling the way you do. I understand how you feel. I’m going to keep trying, one minute at a time, and I hope that if I can do it, you can find the will to do it too. I know it’s hell and pure darkness, but all we can do is survive and pray the light will return in time. And I believe it will. I have to.


Take care of yourselves.


Stigma: All’s Fair In Love & War… And Politics Apparently.

“My self-worth is not linked to your cruel words and actions.My self-esteem is not affected by your deliberate attempts to destroy my character.You have no power over me.You will not s



*Bad language & self-harm*



To the woman (I assume) who attacked my personality the other night…


This was going to be a post about people like yourself, who have a habit of diagnosing those you don’t agree with, with mental illnesses. I had collected evidence from the last few months of just that, where people said President Trump has Borderline Personality Disorder. I wanted to tackle the stigma that people like you are spreading with your uneducated opinions. But after the way you spoke to me the other night, I’m addressing you as an individual.


I never challenge things online. For reasons such as you. It took a lot for me to pluck up the courage to speak up. But I couldn’t see such lies about BPD being spread. You were saying that BPD is a ‘personality defect’ and ‘not curable’. You are wrong on both counts. I felt I had a duty to say something. I naively thought you looked like a decent person, and might be welcoming of new ideas. I thought you might be a reasonable person…. boy was I wrong! I’ve encountered some nasty people in my life – it’s why I am the way I am…. but you are by far the worst of all the people I’ve had the displeasure of conversing with.


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Your responses to me were full of sarcasm, attitude, anger and false accusations. You are a spiteful bully and a narcissist. You talked to me of ‘projection’ – projecting your own projection onto me … which is ironic, as that’s a part of being a narcissist – the same thing you actually mean when you talk about Trump. The thing you’re confusing with BPD. I was trying to educate you on the difference. It’s not my fault you’re a closed-minded bigot. You actually were trying to ‘gas-light’ me as well, by saying ‘you WERE absolutely asking me to have compassion for Trump supporters’ – that’s another narcissistic tactic, to try and create doubt in my mind about what I said and what I meant… to change the narrative to make yourself look better…. it’s either gas-lighting or you’re just dumb and didn’t read what I said at all. Maybe your understanding of the English language is below par.


I most certainly was NOT asking you to have compassion for Trump supporters, I was saying people should have more compassion for those with a mental illness, and since Trump supporters do not have this mental illness of BPD, I was NOT asking you to feel compassionate towards THEM. I was asking you to have more respect for those with the mental illness. They don’t have it. Trump doesn’t have it. You just hate him. I could easily claim that YOU and your lot have a mental illness…. I’d probably be closer to the truth with that too, as you seem totally deranged in your fanatical hatred of Republicans. But the truth is your lot also don’t have a mental illness…. you just have different opinions to Republicans… and those of you who seem crazy and show all your bad qualities are not mentally ill, you are just unpleasant people!!! You see? People have different opinions. Just because they don’t fit with yours, and you can’t accept that Trump is the President, it doesn’t mean that he and those who put him in power, have a mental illness… but I would seriously consider whether you have one….


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The way you went on the attack, and were so unreasonable causes me concern. It’s not normal to behave that way. Yes I was challenging something you said, but I did so respectfully, with goodwill. I was not rude to you, I didn’t swear, I wasn’t provocative, so I don’t know what your problem is. I think you are so livid with the result of your election, and hate Republicans and Trump that much that you swipe at anyone who isn’t as livid about it as you. You’d probably take a swipe at a Democrat who has even one ounce of reason or acceptance of things. You need something to control your rage. You are behaving worse than you are accusing others of being! You try and give off this sense that Democrats (just like Remain voters) are better people than those who won the vote…. but you show from the way you speak of them, and your violent, aggressive, hateful and divisive nature that you are in fact MUCH worse as people.


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I wasn’t trying to ‘shame’ you by saying ‘the likes of you’ – that’s a wild interpretation of a set of words…. those words simply meant ‘people like yourself’ i.e. you and others who feel the same as you…. but Twitter has a character limit, so ‘the likes of you’ fitted in better! Deary me if you’re offended by that… ! It was actually a way of not singling you out – not being so confrontational as saying ‘something that YOU are fortunate to not understand’ – for fuck’s sake, if my trying to not be confrontational made you angry then you need help! I honestly don’t see the offence in my words. However calling me an ‘arrogant know-it-all’ IS bloody offensive and I reported you for it and all your subsequent tweets.


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You also said that you’ll rush out and get a psych degree so you don’t insult ‘people who have no compassion or interest in other humans’….. First of all it doesn’t take having a psych degree to know how to be kind to people. I don’t have one, and I manage just fine. Most people I know don’t have such a degree yet know how to be a decent person. It’s not hard… though you obviously think otherwise!  Second of all you talk about these people who have no compassion or interest in other humans, yet you prove that you have no interest in how other people feel, no interest in changing your behaviour and wording so as not to hurt other people, and you have no compassion for mentally ill human beings…. I think this sentence tells everyone all they need to know about you.


You said to ‘whine at someone who cares’… you made it perfectly clear you are not a caring sort of person. You made yourself sound like a teenager having a strop. I’m shocked to discover you’re actually in your late sixties! Your behaviour does not reflect this in the slightest. I’d have thought you would know better how to be respectful of others. Clearly not. You said I was just ‘pretending to be on the high road’, simply because you recognised I was on the high road, and you wanted to drag me down from it.


You are a little bit delusional and dramatic if you think your country is crumbling around you… your own little world where you get your own way may be crumbling around you, but I don’t think things are all that bad. They’d be a damn slight better if you started accepting things the way they are. You’d find more peace. But you clearly enjoy conflict above all else. The ‘assholes causing it’ are probably those unwilling to accept the result two years on, as it is here. I respect you don’t like Trump, you don’t agree with the result, but calling his supporters ‘assholes’ won’t change anything. It won’t get you anywhere, and will only breed anger and division. You should calm down.


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You say I jumped into what was an obvious political discussion – yes, I did, because you were incorporating MENTAL ILLNESS in that political discussion, and my whole point was that was uncalled for. If it was solely political that’s different – when you bring mental illness into a political discussion it suddenly changes from a political discussion, to a political and mental health discussion. You don’t dictate what is allowed to be discussed henceforth. It’s indecent of you to label someone as ‘borderline’ simply because you don’t like them. Only I was saying it in a nicer way. But I’ll be straight now, and say – it’s a bitchy thing to do, and makes you a very nasty and uneducated person. You are adding to stigma and should be ashamed of yourself. There. Said it. I’ll speak your language, rather than trying to be polite about things… being polite and thinking through my responses still ended up with me being spat at anyway. At one point in our discussion I actually typed in the words ‘To use language you understand – fuck you!’… but deleted it, because I’m not that person. But actually after what you were like, and what it did to me… yeah… fuck you.


I wasn’t ‘lecturing you’, I was hoping it might guide you, inform you, enlighten you, and I was making sure people newly diagnosed with BPD know there is hope and that it doesn’t mean their personality is flawed. But you’re a closed-minded moron, so nothing will get through your thick skull. As for ‘think what you like’ – I realised I was talking to the thickest of walls, so your opinion is your opinion, feel free to think it…. but it doesn’t mean you’re right. Still makes you a bitch. Still makes you nasty and a bit of a sociopath to be honest, but keep doing it, whatever works for you….. Again, character limit.


But do you know what I noticed? I noticed that you picked apart every innocent word I said, and turned it into either an ‘insult’ or me being ‘above you’ i.e. ‘arrogant’. You read into words that mean nothing. You are either highly paranoid and need help with it. Or you recognised that actually I was right, and you felt bad, so had to attack me to feel better about yourself…. but since I was not offensive to you, you had to try and find some fault in the wording I used, to make it look like an attack on YOU – that is fucked up mate.


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I’ll tell you how you were being offensive – calling me an arrogant know-it-all. You called me arrogant twice. You don’t fucking know me mate. Anyone who knows me would tell you how polar opposite I am to that. You’re the arrogant one. There’s some projection going on with you I think ‘deary’. Patronising bitch. Fuck you. You only WISH you were on a high horse. You were on the ground, and losing ground, so you were wildly, viciously clawing at me, to make sure I was no better than you. You were trying to get a rise out of me. I managed to stay calm through most of it. My heart was all over the place. But I waited for it to calm down before responding. I wish I hadn’t given you as much as I did, because you will use that as ‘evidence about people with BPD being a certain way’. You’re wrong. Anyone would have reacted how I did when provoked. Of course your side of the story would be that I provoked YOU. That I baited you and then played the victim. But if you can’t take a little questioning of your spreading of misinformation on something quite important actually, and your ego is too big to be ‘challenged’, then I’m glad I did it. Because people like you need taking down a peg or two. You think too much of yourself. You think you’re right, and anything else is wrong. That much is evident from things you said to me, but also on your timeline. I simply made a comment in defence of those with BPD – that was not baiting you. It may be what you read into it, but it didn’t require a response, especially in the manner you responded. And you continued it even after I explained and tried to defuse your aggression.


The fact is you knew I had BPD, and yet continued to lash out at me and hurt me. This either shows the FACT that you don’t know anything about BPD, and that therefore you should not cause such hurt to someone… though given your opinions about Republicans I’m wondering why you would think anything other than ‘I shouldn’t cause hurt to anyone whoever they are’ – as you think you’re so noble and morally superior….. Or it shows that you’re a psychopath and a narcissist and you take joy in making people like me cut themselves. Because that’s what I did. Repeatedly. Violently.


You were fucking offensive and aggressive, and you tried to excuse that by insisting that I don’t know you and called you ‘the likes of you’…. in what world is that even offensive? If you want offensive then read this bloody letter. I’d agree it’s offensive. I’d also say it’s true though from what I’ve witnessed with you and how you made me feel. I’m rightly angry about your bullying nature – this is the reaction to that. Your response was totally uncalled for, and out of proportion with what I was even saying. That’s because you’re so caught up in your hate-filled bubble about Trump, that you perceive everything as an ‘attack’…. you see everyone as ‘the enemy’ unless they agree with you 100%. What I said was not in the slightest bit offensive. And you people wonder why you get called ‘snowflakes’! Seriously. I don’t call people that, but being offended by a general term of ‘the likes of you’ – meaning ‘you and others similar to yourself’ is very snowflake-ish. How anything can be inferred about your character from those words I don’t know. But calling me arrogant is an offence against my character. There’s no mistaking what you meant by your words. So that’s how you were offensive. I notice you deleted that tweet soon after… did it reflect badly on you?


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I don’t think I’ve ever had a conversation with anyone so vile as you. There was one who I used to know who was offensive and resorted to personal insults, when they couldn’t bring me down any other way. But actually even she pales into insignificance next to you. You do your side of the political debate no favours. I don’t actually give a fuck about American politics. I don’t give a fuck whether I SHOULD give a fuck about American politics. I believe in democracy, acceptance and just bloody well getting on with it. But you have shown Democrats to be vile, deranged bullies. I’m quite upset that I also at the moment think badly of Americans. I know I will get over that, because there are lots of lovely American people, but you do them no favours by behaving in the way that you have.


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I’ve seen too much evidence of Americans attacking Trump and sometimes his supporters, saying they all have BPD. This is unacceptable. Nobody can diagnose someone from their armchair. Even medical professionals who say they think he’s got it, cannot and should not do that. You cannot diagnose someone unless you are qualified to do so, and have met them in person and evaluated their mental health. You cannot decide who has what mental illness. If you want to call him a narcissist that’s different, because you’re not referring to the illness of NPD, you’re just talking about his nature, if that’s how you perceive it. People can be narcissistic without having the personality disorder. But I don’t get why you can’t just state the fact you hate the guy, hate everything he says, everything he does, everything he stands for, and will never accept him as President, full-stop. Why bring mental illness into it?


Does it make you feel powerful or something? That would be my guess from reading such posts. It gives off an air of ‘I’m better than you – I’m more sane than you…. you’re a crazy person…. you have a mental illness…. your “crazy” is showing’. It seems like you’re all doing it to make you feel better about yourselves. Can you not see what is wrong with that mentality? To put people with mental illness down, to make you feel better…. to use a mental illness as a way of insulting someone you don’t like….. to imply that someone is incapable of doing a job because of a supposed mental illness…. you are stigmatising and discriminating against those with mental health problems. And when you attack one, you attack all. Even though in your mind you’re possibly thinking ‘Depression and anxiety are “good” mental illnesses…. BPD is one of the “bad” ones’. You are still discriminating against those with mental illness. Would you do the same with those physically disabled? Would you use their personal circumstances to make you feel better?


“No one would ever say that someone with a broken arm or a broken leg is less than a whole person, but people say that or imply that all the time about people with mental illness.”



I would hope that most of those throwing ‘BPD’ at Trump would in reality have compassion for those with such a mental illness. I’d like to believe that people still have their humanity. That if faced with a loved one with such an illness, they would be caring, compassionate and understanding, and defend their loved ones against harmful words like this. Either I’m wrong, and they honestly think those with BPD or mental illnesses are the scum of the Earth, in which case may they live long enough to experience such a mental illness themselves and face such stigma. OR I’m right and they do care about people with mental illness, and are just being foolish in posting such shit online. Maybe they don’t comprehend the damage they’re doing….


Trump is a controversial character. People love him or hate him. The hate is toxic. WRONGLY diagnosing him with BPD, and listing incorrect symptoms of BPD to back-up that false diagnosis, will cause trouble for those of us with BPD. When people hear about our BPD they will think of Trump, if these opinions are allowed to circulate unchallenged. Trump does not have BPD… not the recognisable diagnosable version of it. I realise I am equally unqualified to say he doesn’t have it, as I’m not his therapist – but the point is he would have to be assessed by a professional to be given a diagnosis, and I feel I know a fair bit about my own illness, to know what the symptoms are, and what they are not. People say he meets all the criteria. This cannot be assumed. How does anyone know how he feels about himself? About abandonment? Does he self-harm? Is he suicidal? Does he feel empty? How would anyone but a personal psychiatrist / therapist know any of that?


People seem to be basing this apparent ‘diagnosis’ on possible anger outbursts – which EVERYONE is capable of… doesn’t mean they all have a personality disorder; on ‘impulsive’ decisions he’s made; on ‘narcissism’ which they believe is a symptom of BPD; apparently ‘pathological lying’ which they claim is a symptom of BPD too – news to me! They talk about his BPD and how he’s self-absorbed, thinks he’s always right. They claim projection and triangulation (playing people off against each other), and gas-lighting are symptoms of BPD… these are all symptoms of NPD, and the two should not be confused! I feel convinced that knowledge of the different personality disorders varies in America from in the UK. I’ve often witnessed people lumping all ‘Cluster B’ personality disorders in together, as though they’re all the same. They’re not. There may be a little overlap between the disorders, but they are different. People have claimed that those with BPD lack empathy, therefore Trump has BPD. What bullshit is this?! Anyone who’s reading this and has BPD knows what a lie this is – we have an abundance of empathy… so much that it actually hurts when others are hurting… we are able to read the emotions of others. We wouldn’t hurt or reject other people because we know too well how it feels, to be hurt and rejected by others.


“With ignorance comes fear- from fear comes bigotry. Education is the key to acceptance.”



Everything they say about BPD is wrong. Some even refer to it as a ‘narcissistic borderline personality disorder‘ – there’s no such thing… it’s one or the other. I shouldn’t be too bothered, as they’re only showing their ignorance… but it’s sad that so many speak of something they know nothing about, and those words they speak are damaging and dangerous for people who already suffer a great deal. These people all paint a picture of people with BPD being ‘monsters’. If they only knew the reality they’d feel ashamed of vilifying us. People with BPD are some of the loveliest, kindest, most caring, loyal, funny, creative, generous, loving, understanding people – a damn slight nicer than those who insult them! Whilst people are painting the image of us as people who abuse others, we are in fact more likely to be the VICTIMS of abuse ourselves.


This woman who attacked me said that BPD is a ‘sad personality defect’. She is so wrong. Ignorance and the unwillingness to learn from your mistakes, and attack people instead is a ‘sad personality defect’. A stubbornness and arrogance. That’s what I would refer to as a ‘defect’. BPD is not a flawed personality, as we all know. We know about the movement to change the name, as it doesn’t reflect the meaning. It’s not about our personality at all. It is about our emotions, our difficulty regulating them, and how we relate to the world. It’s about how we cope with our emotions. People labelling Trump and followers with it are implying it’s who we are, there’s no cure, we don’t even accept there’s a problem (NPD), and that negative character traits = personality disorder. It doesn’t. Everyone has less than desirable traits – it doesn’t mean they all have a personality disorder. People like this woman for instance… she demonstrated many undesirable qualities in just a few short tweets…. do I therefore diagnose her with a personality disorder? Whilst the temptation may be ‘yes!’ because I’m angry with her, and appalled at her behaviour, there is no reason for me to diagnose her with any mental illness, including a personality disorder. She’s just an arsehole.


People can hate Trump. I have no issue with that. I don’t think people should be so offensive towards those who support him and voted for him…. I think these people need to become familiar with ‘live and let live‘… accept a difference of opinion and move on. But let’s just say for a moment that I don’t even care if people hate Trump voters too….. People can say what they like about Trump, the situation, the voters…. they can say they hate him, he’s a prick, his supporters are idiots, they detest their country now, their lives are ruined forever… whatever…. but mental illness? Come on! They’re ‘free’ to say what they like about that too, as we have freedom of speech still, for now, but I want those people to realise it makes them look like not very decent people. A lot of people in the world are trying to be more open about their mental health struggles, and battle the stigma, and such ignorance and hatred – trying to get people to hate those they deem to have a mental illness, is just so backward-thinking. So they can’t use mental illness as an insult, and then claim they have the moral high-ground politically.


Insults are the last resort of insecure people with a crumbling position trying to appear confident in their dumb decisions.



My question to those people would be – Would you speak about BPD in this manner if you weren’t associating it with Trump? Forget Trump is President… rewind a few years…. would you spread such vile opinions about a mental illness like BPD? Or are you just doing it to have a go at Trump and make yourselves feel better because you lost? If you would still do it then shame on you…. there’s no hope for you ever changing probably… though it would be nice if you could properly educate yourself about mental illness (note: this does not require going to university and getting a ‘psych degree’ – read a book…. read blogs…. listen to people who have BPD!). If you’re only doing it because it’s Trump then think. Be better than this. Don’t let your hatred of Trump and Republicans turn you into ill-informed, ignorant, insensitive arseholes.


I know nobody likes to admit they’re wrong about something. A part of me would be concerned that I honestly upset and embarrassed this woman the other day, and that she was just refusing to admit a mistake. But to be frank I think she’s just a bitter, angry woman, who loves hurting people and putting them down to make herself feel more powerful. I’ve met one or two of them in my life.


I hate people trying to paint me as some sort of villain when I’m trying to do something good in the world. I’m not a nasty person (I know you might think so from this post, but this is the releasing of emotions stirred up by a bully)… I don’t like confrontation. I hate conflict. I think the scars on my arms would tell you as much. I’m a peaceful person. I’m quiet and reserved by nature. And my only aim in what I said was to help people who have BPD… to defend them against such vicious lies. To stand up for what’s right. To stand up for those of us with this illness, who feel we have no voice a lot of the time. To try and educate people to stop the stigma. This woman has a fixed idea in her head what BPD is all about. She has demonised us and will never change her stance. Upon hearing that I am one of those with this illness, she obviously decided what sort of person I was and treated me in relation to her beliefs about people like us. This is her problem not mine. She got me all wrong. She misunderstood me as a person… she misunderstood my intentions, my illness, my words. She invented insults out of what I said. She interpreted what I said and tried to tell me what I said / meant, when only I know what was meant… she thought she knew my mind better than I do. She doesn’t know anything but her own mind. I think she lives in her little bubble of hatred… she’s blind to all else. The trouble is though, once someone like this makes up their mind about you, there’s no persuading them otherwise. She’d decided I was a villain, just like Trump and his supporters – I didn’t even have to be a Trump supporter myself to incur her wrath. Once I’d been put in that category there was no coming out of it. I could’ve been the sweetest person on Earth to her, and she would insist I was doing it to wind her up, and to pretend I was better than her.


This is what’s known as a ‘superiority complex’. It’s something that’s fascinated me in our politics too, where Labour voters perceive Conservatives to be ‘above them’… ‘looking down on them’…. ‘posh, rich snobs with no idea of real problems’. These attitudes are in themselves ‘snobbish’. Labour voters sneer at Conservatives and call them ‘Tory scum’, to put them down and make themselves feel superior. They claim to be morally superior to hide the fact they  FEEL inferior. The important thing to note is that they’re not actually inferior. And Conservatives DON’T think they’re better than them. This is why it’s called ‘a complex’. They feel inferior, so try to appear superior. Conservatives don’t look down their noses on Labour voters… certainly not for the reasons they think. More recently I’m sure a great many do, but simply because of the behaviour of Labour voters – the same sort of behaviour I witnessed from this woman. When people act like that, you do start to feel like you’re ‘better than them’, and ‘above such behaviour’. You do start to feel morally superior…. and in that way what people with a superiority complex do, is cause the very behaviour they’re afraid of… It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.


As someone with BPD I take on the negative things people think and say about me, as though they’re true. This comes from not feeling certain of who I am – I often split on myself, and go from thinking I’m a good person, to thinking I’m a terrible person. And words like ‘arrogant know-it-all’ scar me. They go into my negativity memory bank, for a rainy day when I’m hating myself. They will replay now forever. In a rational, more positive mind though, I know how wrong she is about that. I know I have the qualities of my granddad, and he was gentle, reserved, quiet and a good person who worried and cared about other people.


That was all I was doing by my tweet… worrying how those with BPD would feel. Standing up for them. Challenging stigma. If that makes me ‘arrogant’ in someone’s view, then so be it. I think it’s better to defend and explain a mental illness than to demonise it. I just chose the wrong sort of person to do that with. She wants to remain ignorant. I will continue to fight stigma where I can, but I will stay far away from anti-Trump fanatics from now on. They’re not reasonable people. And I’m not strong enough to cope with them.


Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all.

Said by the husband of who that woman would
have supported in the elections. How ironic.




Battling The Stigma Of BPD.



So yesterday The Guardian published an article called ‘Personality Disorders At Work: How To Spot Them And What You Can Do’, by Dr Mary Lamia, a clinical psychologist, and professor. It has since been taken down, under review, but that doesn’t erase the damage done to breaking the stigma of mental illness, and it doesn’t change the impact it will have had on anyone with BPD who happened to see it before it was removed.

This article has upset a lot of people, myself included… you can tell from the discussions on Twitter and from the comments on the article itself. This is not just someone disagreeing with the apparent description of themselves – it’s a widespread knowledge that the ‘information’ in The Guardian’s article is wrong. It is misleading and very damaging.

The article discusses personality disorders, but the language used is sloppy and appears to lump everyone in together, as psychopaths, sociopaths, anti-social personalities, narcissists and borderlines, as though they’re all the same. It describes both NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) as ‘Anti-Social Personality Disorders’. When in reality Anti-Social Personality Disorder is a diagnosis of its own, and is very different to BPD.

I’ve written a post before about the difference between BPD and NPD, as I came across another highly stigmatising blog, that lumped us in together. They actually described somebody with the traits of NPD and labelled it BPD, and as a result a lot of people who were new to their own BPD diagnosis, felt like they were ‘monsters’. People with BPD should not be made to feel they’re awful people…. dangerous… to be avoided… a burden… a monster. Because WE are the people who will take that to heart, and will feel we’re not welcome in this world, and will never fit in. People with BPD are at a higher risk of suicide. 70% of people with BPD will attempt suicide in their lifetime. 10% will complete it. Making us feel like freaks, psychopaths, and like we’re a burden will only push more of us towards that. It’s hard enough to feel like we can fit in, simply because of our BPD, and the existing stigma around it, without the added stigma created by articles such as this.

I originally began this blog to try and break the stigma attached to BPD. There is so much misinformation out there about this personality disorder, and the stigma makes us hide our illness. We bury it deep down, through fear and shame, and we don’t get the help we need.

I don’t have an actual diagnosis of BPD, but I was told that was what I was being treated for through my DBT at the time. I identify as someone with BPD. It makes my world make sense. I didn’t want a diagnosis of it as I didn’t want the label back then. I had read up and discovered the stigma surrounding it, and didn’t want this to affect my future employment. I wish I’d taken them up on the offer of it now, as in some ways it may have helped explain things, plus with the state of mental health services now, the likelihood of me getting to see a psychiatrist to get the diagnosis now, is slim.

But I don’t need an official diagnosis to know who I am. Besides, I am more than a diagnosis. I am more than my illness. And that is the whole point of this post…..

First let’s look at the stereotype for someone with BPD:

It’s generally thought we are –

  • Young women, and we will ‘grow out of it’
  • Attention-seeking / drama-queens
  • Dangerous / violent
  • Needy / clingy
  • Manipulative / controlling
  • Impulsive
  • A lost cause / untreatable
  • Self-absorbed / lack empathy
  • Crazy

These beliefs are held by others because they believe what they read online or hear from a misinformed friend, and are too lazy to properly research for themselves. If you want to know about BPD then ask people who have it – we’re the only people who actually understand BPD… friends and family, even psychological professionals, DO NOT understand BPD and cannot understand it fully. But WE do. People should be educating themselves about BPD, by learning from those who have it.

I’ll admit there probably are some aggressive, manipulative people out there who also happen to have BPD, this does not mean that all of those with BPD are dangerous, controlling, attention-seekers.

We are all individual. Every single person on this planet has their own set of individual traits. Just because we have a label attached to us of ‘Borderline’, it doesn’t mean we’re suddenly all the same. There is a scale with BPD too, and for those without it to think of it as ‘us and them’, like we’re this stereotype, is exactly the black and white thinking that is associated with BPD. I find it quite amusing that someone like me, with BPD can see the grey area.. the scale of BPD, whereas ‘non-sufferers’ can’t see this. We’re either one thing or we’re not. This is ignorance.

People of all ages, races, any religion and gender can be affected by BPD. It’s not a teenage girl thing. It is not an attention-seeking illness. It is not being a drama-queen… this is more likely to be another Cluster B personality disorder known as Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). Even then it’s not to be mocked or judged. But people tend to generalise and blur the boundaries of different personality disorders and saying we’re all the same… particularly when it comes to the Cluster B personalities.

The reason people think we are attention-seeking, manipulative and controlling, is because of the emotions that arise from our behaviour. For instance people with BPD often self-harm. This is a very touchy subject for some. Unless they’ve been there, some people can’t comprehend how someone could cut into their own skin, or understand the reasons why. They don’t understand it, so it scares them. It makes them feel uncomfortable. It stirs up emotions in them, because they care about the person who’s self-harming… they feel shock, sadness, anger, confusion… and because these emotions have been stirred up by someone’s act of self-harm, they feel they are being controlled and manipulated to respond in a certain way. This is very often not true though. Self-harm is done in private… secret even. It is not done to provoke some reaction or emotion from another person. It is done to cope with overwhelming emotions inside. We’re not trying to get attention or manipulate anyone. Any concept of manipulation is the problem of the person feeling it. If a friend or family member of ours feels manipulated, more often than not this is their problem, not ours, and they need to work through their own emotions.

We’re not dangerous and violent. I admit, I have outbursts of anger. But that anger will never be used against anyone else. It will be used against myself, or my environment – to hurt myself. In this way I may be ‘dangerous’ but only to myself. I may be ‘violent’, but only towards myself. I have anger issues. But my anger issue is that I think anger is a BAD thing. So I bottle it up until it has nowhere else to go, and it explodes. I don’t know how to cope with anger in a healthy way. I don’t know how that is done. I either witness it in a bad way, or don’t see people getting bothered by things, and both of these make me believe that anger isn’t normal, and makes me a bad person. I would never hurt anyone else. I couldn’t live with myself for mentally hurting someone else, let alone physically. I’m not an exception to the rule. Most people with BPD are lovely people… peaceful people… caring people… who just struggle with emotions and take those emotions out on themselves.

We’re not needy and clingy, and these terms are not helpful. Yes we fear abandonment, but the term ‘needy’ is one I hate. It’s thrown around generally by players, who aren’t interested in fulfilling a woman’s emotional needs. We all have needs. We all need to feel loved, cared for, appreciated, respected, secure… and these types of men don’t care about making a woman feel that way. They say she’s ‘too needy’, when in reality she’s asking for the basic human needs, that we all have. So when it’s implied that people with BPD are needy and clingy it annoys me, because it makes it sound like we’re too demanding. When in reality we’re neglected. The people in our lives are not fulfilling our basic human needs, and then on top of that they’re making us feel as though we don’t deserve to have those needs met. Like it’s too much to ask. That’s how very often our self-esteem ends up six feet under.

In some ways we can be impulsive, I agree. However, at the same time I have been found to overthink things as well. To over-plan things. To problem-solve for weeks on end, before making a decision. It’s not always black and white. It is possible to sometimes be impulsive and other times not. We don’t always act without thinking.

I assure you I think about other people a lot. In fact the reason I’m where I am right now is because I put others’ needs ahead of my own for a long time. I was still accused of being selfish by the people I prioritised, but that’s the way of life unfortunately – do good for people and they take it for granted, take advantage of you. Yes I might be a bit selfish sometimes and look after my own wellbeing – but that is part of having depression, a mental illness, and needing to get well.


Bryan McGill, Author


The idea that we lack empathy is ludicrous. Absolutely ludicrous. Narcissists lack empathy – I’ve met a few of those in my time, believe me! People with BPD have empathy in abundance. We have overwhelming, overflowing empathy. A lack of empathy is a disconnection from emotions… others’ and our own. It’s not realising the impact of our actions on the emotions of someone else. I am very much connected to my emotions. I have a certain amount of understanding about them. I can read the emotions in someone else – in fact I think people with BPD can pick up on emotions that others wouldn’t even notice in a room. We’re very sensitive, and perceptive. And my God, if I upset anybody or feel like I’ve caused any emotion in someone else, I immediately apologise. And then I beat myself up for it for ages afterwards. After I had a bit of a breakdown a month ago, and harmed myself at my therapy course, I was swamped with emotions – most of them relating to other people. I was aware of the effect my actions might have had on the therapists running the group, and I actually had more concern for their feelings than I did for my own.

I have so much empathy it drives me mad… I sometimes have to isolate myself to not pick up on others’ feelings and vibes, as it overloads me. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way – just about everyone who has BPD, talks about this empathy issue, and that we actually seem to have the most empathy out of everyone. So yet again, people are mixing up the disorders and labelling people with NPD as people with BPD. So the truth is getting lost.

Whether I am crazy or not is debatable. And crazy doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But I guess in this sense they mean off-the-scale, ‘not in touch with reality’ kind of crazy, and that is absolute rubbish. I may be a bit messed up mentally. I may be an emotional wreck. I may harm myself. I may make a lot of mistakes and react differently to things that wouldn’t bother other people… but my feet remain firmly in reality. I have enough sanity to question my own sanity. And that is a sign of sanity! Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy… I am ‘together’ let’s put it that way. I am able to recognise that my actions are not always healthy and ‘normal’, but I have researched enough about my mental health to understand why I am the way I am. And most of the time I would appear to other people to function like a normal adult. So I’m certainly not crazy. And though at the moment I FEEL I am beyond help, realistically I’m not. It is possible to recover. And BPD should not be confused with NPD – with NPD the patient is unlikely to seek help as they don’t recognise themselves as having a problem… they think it’s everyone else who has the problem. Whereas people with BPD accept they have a problem and are willing to work on it, as they want life to be easier and better. So there’s always hope for us.

So to recap – I am not attention-seeking… I am private, reserved. I am not a drama-queen…. I am simply struggling with life and dealing with it the best I can. I am not a danger to anyone else… my violence and anger is only ever self-inflicted, and I hate that I feel anger at all. I am not needy and clingy…. I fear abandonment, and I struggle to let go of things and people I care about, and I’m only asking for the basic human needs that everyone else seems to get met… I’m not too demanding. I’m not manipulative or controlling… my behaviours and words are my own experience… they have nothing to do with other people.. that’s THEIR own ego making it about them, rather than the pain I’m experiencing… It’s their own issue if they feel manipulated by my way of coping with life. I am not impulsive… I have episodes of anger where I’ll feel out of control, but otherwise I overthink everything. I’m not a lost cause… there’s hope for me yet – I can’t see it for myself right now, but I need others to believe there is hope for me… for them to not give up on me, otherwise I might as well give up on myself. I am not self-absorbed… I sometimes just need to focus on myself and protect myself from outside experiences because of the turmoil going on inside me daily…. I have a lot of empathy – I’m actually what’s called an ’empath’. It’s a part of what makes life so difficult for me. And whilst I’m ‘crazy’, I’m not insane. I’ve got my senses, my wisdom, my humour and a lot more sanity than many ‘normal’ people out there!

That’s what I’m not…. Here’s what I am…

  • Honest
  • Reliable
  • Trustworthy
  • Kind
  • Caring
  • Empathetic
  • Funny
  • Entertaining
  • Humble (although this list makes it seem otherwise!!)
  • Sensitive
  • Loving
  • Gentle
  • Wise
  • Intellectual / inquisitive
  • Loyal
  • Protective
  • Down-to-earth
  • Moralistic
  • Creative
  • Nerdy
  • Intuitive
  • Compassionate
  • Polite
  • Friendly
  • Genuine
  • Passionate
  • Reflective
  • Respectful
  • Open-minded
  • Tolerant
  • Understanding

It was incredibly hard for me to write that list – I had to rely on things people have told me, and a list of character traits as prompts, as I find it hard to think of good things about me. It’s much easier to list the negatives.

But the whole problem is that people hear the word Borderline and make assumptions about who we are… forgetting the fact that we’re human beings too, with a heck of a lot to offer. We have our good traits, and also our interests and hobbies. They also make up who we are. I’m not just a person with BPD. I am someone who loves her Godchildren so much her heart could burst… who has a passion for fossil-hunting… who loves playing the piano, writing poetry and enjoys art…. who is fiercely protective of her family…. who appreciates nature and loves animals more than she loves most people….. who likes to educate herself about the important things in life…. who will randomly burst into song when she’s happy but also when she’s sad, just to let it all out…. who never gives up, and picks herself up and dusts herself off, every time she’s knocked down. I am all this and more!

Life can be hard for people like me. I feel as though I will never truly fit in. I wonder how I will ever navigate my way through life, like a normal person. I don’t feel I belong anywhere and never will. Socially, romantically, professionally. Everything is a challenge when you have BPD. Relationships with others can be strained. Work is hard, particularly when faced with pressure and the public.

I help in a charity shop right now, to try and build my confidence up and propel me to bigger things. And I find it a struggle if I’m honest. Especially at the moment, where I’ve gone backwards in my recovery – I’m not feeling as strong. But when I’m at work I put on a face. I’m always really polite and helpful to the customers, and I don’t let anyone see the negatives. If I get overwhelmed I step out the back and breathe, before going back in as if everything is fine.

The article in The Guardian says about those with BPD:

Nevertheless many of them function well enough in the workplace to stay in jobs long term. That’s not good news if you work with one of them, since they are divisive, use power tactics, show intense or inappropriate anger, and regard others as either all good or all bad. Terrified of abandonment and tending to feel empty, jealous or envious, they often secure their ties to others in coercive ways”.

A person with borderline personality disorder, for example, would admit to ignoring the presence of particular co-workers when they passed them in an empty hallway to intimidate them”.

I would never dream of intimidating others. I live my life feeling guilty for ‘inflicting myself on others’. I don’t like to burden others with my problems. I don’t want them to know how screwed up I am inside. That’s why as someone with BPD I internalise everything. I am not divisive, at all. I try and include everyone, and work as hard as I can to fit in. I want to be treated normally, just with a little more sensitivity on my more fragile days. I crave to feel accepted and like I belong, so why would I sabotage that by ‘using power tactics’ and intimidating people?

Heck, the couple of times colleagues have upset me at work, I’ve just popped out for some air, returned, and when asked if they upset me I have DENIED it! That’s how much I don’t want my condition to infect the workplace. I soldier on through some very difficult emotions and tough days, and I do it all with a smile, and then I go home and drop the act and can be myself again. I try really hard at work to show my good qualities and to help as much as I can. It’s actually exhausting, pretending to be stronger than I am. But I do it, so that I can try to believe I can fit in this world somewhere, and it’s not all for nothing. I do it to give my life some sense of purpose and to feel better about myself.

If people have read that article it could make life very difficult for those with BPD. And life is already hard enough for us without accusations of things that aren’t true, and having people steer clear of us as though we’re monsters. People with BPD want to fit in. We want to be like other people. And vilifying us isn’t going to help us make a transition to recovery. I would suspect fewer people will disclose their mental illness now, after an article like that, afraid of the backlash.. the repercussions… the ostracism. So more people will hide their BPD, leading to more shame and secrecy, more stigma and a much harder life for those suffering already.

This is why stigmatising articles like that have to end. There has to be more understanding and compassion and less divisiveness in writing about personality disorders. What concerns me the most is that this article was written by a psychologist and professor! A supposed ‘expert’ showing a complete lack of knowledge on the realities of BPD. I think the world needs mental health professionals to learn less from textbooks, and listen more to lived experience from those with the condition. If I knew there was a way for me to get involved in educating professionals on BPD and self-harm, I would be all for it. I can’t see opinions shifting without this sort of intervention.

The article goes on….

If you work for or with someone who has a borderline personality disorder you are likely to experience similar emotions to them – what psychologists refer to as “affective contagion” …… In interactions with people who have a borderline personality disorder, you may feel the same sense of inadequacy, disconnection, helplessness or anger they experience”.

Like people with BPD, people who have a narcissistic personality disorder attempt to rid themselves of intolerable shame by behaving in ways that lead others to experience the emotion instead. People who bully others have similar skills”.

So this is saying we infect others with our disorder. Newsflash: You can’t catch BPD! If someone is that affected by our disorder that they start to exhibit signs of it, then that shows they themselves do not have a strong sense of self, and have lower emotional defences. This isn’t our fault. Most of the time we try and disguise how we’re feeling anyway. If I’m having a low day at home, I hide away from everyone, so as not to inflict myself on them. People need to take responsibility for themselves and their own emotions. If being around me when I’m feeling low, causes others to feel low, they need to look at why that is – it’s likely because they care about me and don’t like seeing me low, or they have expectations of me that can’t be met -which is not my problem. It’s a feeling they have to deal with themselves. I own my emotions. Others should own theirs and not blame them on mine.

The last comment implies we are like bullies. I’ll tell you what, the likelihood is that those with BPD have been the victims of bullying and abuse in their lives, so to then accuse them of BEING the bullying types is disgusting.


Five days of fun and feasting!


The article finishes:

What can you do?
Work relationships can be challenging if you have to deal with someone who has a disordered personality. Recognise that when a boss or a colleague has a personality disorder they will approach situations differently to you. They will not want to rehash the past if any wrongdoing is their own, but prefer to ‘forget about it’ and move on as though particular events have not happened. If you push the issue, you are likely to encounter rage. However, some who are especially skilful may inquire about any hurt or anger you feel, but inevitably they will blame it on you and not their behaviour. The same principles you might use to handle a workplace bully apply when dealing with personality disorders – in particular, maintaining your confidence, competence and composure. Trying to get on their good side will only make you look weak”.

How about rather than the selfish thought of ‘What can I do to avoid this person and protect myself?’ as though we’re about to attack you… you ask the question ‘How can I help?’ … Perhaps think about the things you can do to accommodate the needs of those with BPD. Think how you can support them to do their jobs more successfully, so that they can actually have a chance at recovery and a normal life. The depiction of us with BPD in that last paragraph is so incredibly wrong. It may not say BPD but the whole article mixes us all in together, and refers to us as having a ‘disordered personality’. The last paragraph describes narcissism, it does not describe BPD, and it’s a shameful way of closing an already terrible article on personality disorders.

People who write things like that, and those who read and believe them, forget that they are also human and have many flaws themselves! Nobody is perfect. You don’t have to have a personality disorder to have ‘undesirable qualities’….

Many people have these character traits:

  • Aggressive
  • Angry
  • Argumentative
  • Arrogant
  • Big-headed
  • Bitchy
  • Careless
  • Cold-hearted
  • Conceited
  • Controlling
  • Cruel
  • Deceitful
  • Dishonest
  • Disrespectful
  • Greedy
  • Harsh
  • Hateful
  • Immature
  • Inconsiderate
  • Inflexible
  • Intolerant
  • Irresponsible
  • Jealous
  • Malicious
  • Manipulative
  • Materialistic
  • Mean
  • Moody
  • Narrow-minded
  • Nasty
  • Patronising
  • Pompous
  • Quarrelsome
  • Rude
  • Scheming
  • Selfish
  • Self-centred
  • Sneaky
  • Snobbish
  • Stubborn
  • Superficial
  • Tactless
  • Thoughtless
  • Unkind
  • Unreliable
  • Untrustworthy
  • Vengeful
  • Violent

… And yet they will never be diagnosed with a personality disorder. This is just who they are. These are the qualities they possess. Yet those with BPD are singled out by this article, as though we’re the only ones with ‘flaws’.

Let me put this bluntly, I would rather BE an attention-seeking, needy, impulsive, self-absorbed young woman who inflicts violence on herself, who is also kind, gentle, loving, tolerant, understanding, honest and respectful… than to be like some of the ‘normal’ people out there, who lie, cheat, steal, are aggressive towards others, arrogant, superficial, selfish, rude, nasty, inconsiderate, intolerant, narrow-minded and judge people like ME for being who I am. You know what, I am a more decent person than 90% of the ‘normal’ ones out there. And the same can be said for anyone with BPD.


It's not always abouttrying to fix somethingthat's broken.


We are the some of the loveliest people you will ever meet in your life. We care about others. We have a lot of love to give. We are funny, intelligent, warm, giving, honest, trustworthy, creative people, and we would never want to hurt anyone else, because we know too well what it feels like to be hurt and abandoned by those we’ve loved and cared about. We would give you the world if you’d let us. Unfortunately as is the case with me, some of us fall in with the wrong people, who treat us poorly and bring out the negative sides, and make us forget our positive sides, and make us feel we’re unworthy of love and friendship.

We’re not monsters. We’re soldiers. Wounded soldiers. And we deserve respect and support. We are fighting our hardest to fit in with society, and it would be good if you could help us to do that, rather than trying to alienate us and undo all the hard work we’re doing, to have a better quality of life like the rest of you. You just don’t know how close to the edge some of us are, and how hard we battle every day just to function like you. Cut us some slack please and stop trying to make us feel bad for having a mental illness. We’re BPD warriors… we fight the hardest to get well and stay well… harder than you will ever have to fight in your lifetime. We should be proud of ourselves for not only having to defeat the demons within us, but also the ones on the outside, trying to bring about our demise.