When I was in 7th grade I started experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression due to struggles that my family was having at the time. As the years went on, I started developing eating disorders where I would starve myself for months on end and would self-harm by cutting my hands or legs.
As I got older and graduated high school, people around me and I began to notice that this was getting to be a more severe problem than just "teenage mood swings”. I felt that I was seemingly required to have breakdowns for people to believe me, and have physical scars to show that it wasn't all in my head. I was sent to the hospital in my second year of university three times over the course of three months and was admitted to the psychiatric ward. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder earlier that year and with that diagnosis everything became clear to me, it explained why I've been feeling and acting in these ways and it helped me to better understand myself.
Every day I struggle with my illness, it's as if I'm on a rollercoaster that I can never get off of and I never know when my next episode may strike. It's scary living this way but thanks to my support system I am able to try and recover. The biggest supports for me through my experience has been my parents, my best friends and my boyfriend. Along with many different psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and so on. Without all of these people I would probably not be here today. It's so important to have a big support system, especially people who understand your illness and really try and do their best to help you in any way they can. I'm so thankful for everyone's patience and understanding over the years.
One of my biggest challenges to face was that getting better and recovering from an illness takes time, and I don't mean a few weeks, I mean years and years of work, therapy, different medications if that's what you would like to try, changing your diet and exercise routines, getting better sleep, and so much more. None of these changes are easy to do and no steps are easy to take. You will not get better until you decide that you are really ready to get better. Some days it really feels like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, but believe me there is. You may occasionally fall back into old habits, but that is just a part of the recovery process. There is so much more out there for you and life will not be this way forever, but it's going to take a lot of hard work to get to where you want to be.
Nobody in this world can force you to get better until you are ready, but once you choose to make the changes it takes to heal you will start seeing the results. Never be ashamed to reach out and ask for help, and try and take small steps and reward along the way, you can do this.
Some misconceptions that are common among people with BPD are that we are all manipulative, cold and abusive people, which is all very untrue. Knowing myself and the people I have met that are affected with the disorder, we are among some of the most caring and companionate people you will meet. We love so hard when you gain our trust, even if this takes time. It's worth getting to know us better because there is much more than what meets the eye. I find myself to be a very sympathetic person for others, as I know what it is like to feel pain and struggle and I want to do anything that I can do to make their life a little bit easier and happier. I love to take photographs, paint, read and write, spend time with my family and friends, go on long drives with the music blasting, take long baths and to take care of kids.
Being part of the My Definition campaign is a really big deal to me. Being on a poster for the world to see is terrifying but also incredibly empowering. I finally feel proud of who I am and not ashamed of what I struggle with. I want to start the conversation about mental health disorders and also show that it’s also not what defines the people who are effected. If my involvement in the campaign can help even one person reach out and get help, or feel less alone than I will feel accomplished.