Who am I?

…is apparently a common question a lot of people with Borderline Personality Disorder ask. But let’s do the basics first…

Hi, I’m Sarah. In November 2018 I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, after a lifetime of baffling spells of tricky mental health, interspersed with incredibly happy and stable periods of time that can last years. I’m going to use this blog to talk about my experience of living with BPD, how it manifests for me (and always has done), how I was diagnosed, what helps, and everything in between.

Anyway, I thought I’d start with some basic facts about me:

  • I’m 32.
  • I grew up in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
  • I live in Sheffield with my husband, Tom, and our grey-and-white cat, Stella.
  • Tom and I got married in October 2017. It was an incredible day filled with love, laughter and much wine. I gave a speech and crushed it.
  • Oh, I love wine. Especially a good Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Until recently I worked as a Learning Support Assistant at a secondary school, but I made the decision to hand in my notice and focus on my health for a while.
  • I’m a runner: I have run 3 half marathons and over 60 parkruns since I first did the Couch to 5K course in 2015.
  • I have a BA degree from the Open University in Humanities (History and English), and graduated in 2012.
  • I had to drop out of York Uni in 2008 due to my mental health. Hence the Open Uni, and studying whilst working.
  • I’m incredibly determined, and when I set my mind to something I will do what I can to complete it. Sometimes this is to the detriment of my state of mind.
  • I love cooking, coffee, make up and anything creative. Also a fan of statement necklaces.
  • I had what can only be described as a major breakdown in May 2018, and in October 2018 I was admitted to a psychiatric ward as an informal patient, where I received my BPD diagnosis.
  • I love books and films.
  • I’m currently knitting myself a sweater. Just in time for summer.
  • I’m a feminist.
  • I’m trying to eat less meat for environmental reasons.
  • I’m writing this while I watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race.

So that’s a random collection of facts about me. Some mental health-related, others not. Because that’s life, isn’t it? I have BPD, but I’m also still Me. That’s what I want this blog to show – my own experience of living with a mental health diagnosis that has a lot of stigma and confusion attached to it, but also just my experience of LIVING.

When I was trying to decide whether to start writing about all this, I immediately started second-guessing myself and thinking ‘Who wants to read yet another person’s experience of mental health issues?’ Then I realised that I have never once regretted reading another person’s account. (Matt Haig. Bella Mackie. Bryony Gordon. They’re all great, you should check them out.) (Also I’ve realised from writing those names that I need more diversity in my reading.)

People with mental health ‘labels’ tend to be grouped together and generalisations are thrown around. Every single individual who adds their voice and their experience to the conversation is adding a new dimension, helping to build a bigger, brighter and more varied picture of what mental health (good, bad, and all the grey in between, we all have it) means to human beings. How can that ever be a negative thing?

So this is me adding my voice.

Sarah x

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