Borderline Personality Disorder,  Shame

Mental illness shouldn’t be a dirty secret

The real issue I had was with the judgement from people. Not because they were trying to be cruel, but because they genuinely did not understand.

Mental illness shouldn’t be a dirty secret


Last updated 05:00 06/08/2015

As someone who has experienced mental illness off and on for the past 10 years and had an experience of acute mental illness, especially over the past two years, I feel I can say that discrimination is a problem in New Zealand.

Personally, I think most of the problem is the lack of education around it. Other people don’t know enough about mental illness.

Often what they ‘think they know’ is wrong and leads them to have unhelpful assumptions about how mentally unwell people ‘should be’, or that mental illness is just for the weak or something people who can’t handle life say to make others sympathise with them.

I have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, which people find really to understand. They always ask: “But what does that mean? Is it depression or what?”

Borderline personality disorder is very hard to explain and even more difficult to live with. There is a helpful article on Wikipedia that will give you some information if you want to know more, but I refuse to let it define me!

There are periods where I am really unwell and last year was a prime example – I spent a month in a mental health unit after having a nervous breakdown.

The worst part about it was the reaction from people around me.


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