Borderline Personality Disorder

I’m Drowning Not Waving

I reached crisis point one night last October when I sent pictures to my ex-husband of blood pouring from self-inflicted wounds on my arms demanding to know if he was “happy now”.

I’m Drowning Not Waving

Alexandra Sheach

It’s Depression Awareness Week and I figured it was time to blow this mental health stigma shit high out of the water.

I hadn’t known there was an official event this week, I’m so used to seeing memes on social media I meet with a sage nod or wry smile as we all ‘like’ a post telling us it’s nothing to be ashamed of – but we don’t stick our heads above the parapet and yell “yes, I’m the nut in the fruit-cake!”, but today after another run-in with inadequate mental health services I posted on my Facebook timeline about how I was being let down. I’ve always held it in, this dark and shameful secret – figuring that if anyone ditched me today or decided to distance themselves from me, they were unable to hurt me more than my own mind already does.

In 2002 I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and was told I should not refer to it directly in naice company, but instead allude to bipolar – or some other form of more socially-acceptable illness.

I got as lucky as anyone diagnosed with a severe mental illness can be. I was at the time living in The Netherlands, Maastricht to be precise, and they just happened to have a university research team who were world leaders in the research and treatment of BPD – I even had MRI tests and pretty pictures of my brain to try and figure out if my neurons were firing the way they were supposed to in response to triggers in picture format.

I got 4+ years of weekly 1:1 therapy with a clinical psychologist and a whopping array of psychiatric medicine until the therapy kicked in and I could be weaned off. In 2008 my therapy ended and I was released back into the big, bad world – mostly stable but aware of my limitations.

Life trundled on, I got married, had two children and the time came to move back to the UK just over two years ago, to Shetland. I don’t know whether I started to relapse before we moved or shortly after – but the cost of desperately trying to ‘hold my shit together’ meant that I essentially shut out the world, shut down – and eventually ran away from my husband taking our children, rather than talking to him and so my marriage collapsed.


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