Living with Emotional Intensity (Borderline Personality Disorder / BPD)

For our upcoming Supporting People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) training course, we worked with someone who lives with and manages the condition. Janette has agreed to blog about her experiences, from her initial diagnosis to how she makes sense of her behaviours.

In 1992 I was told I had a Borderline Personality disorder. “Are you telling me I don’t have a personality?” I asked and was not given an answer. However I had meaningful relationships and worked up until 2001 when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

I had always self- harmed, put myself in dangerous situations, drank a lot and wished I was dead. But from that point I drank and self-harmed more than ever… what did life have to offer me now? I lived in a world of darkness, confusion and self-loathing, although what people saw was a funny, chatty, confident person.

In 2011 I spent most of the year in my local psychiatric hospital. I had hit rock bottom and but didn’t know why or how to deal with the tsunami going on inside me.

But with a change of medication in 2012 my depression lifted, and I was ashamed of how my brain had lived the previous year without my consent. Later that year I did STEPPS (System Training for Emotional Predictability & Problem Solving.) Emotional Intensity was explained to me and finally my behaviours made sense.

I was taught about distorted thought patterns, distraction, recognising when my emotions were rising and how to halt them, but most importantly I was given permission to talk and words to go with my feelings.

In 2013 I did a course in counselling & communication, and then trained as Peer Mentor for Mind. That led to me volunteering at the Lighthouse (a centre for people diagnosed with a personality disorder) and to be accepted by B&H Recovery College where I did an adult education course and became a Peer Trainer for them. I work with Sussex Partnership Trust and am now an independent trainer delivering the KUF (Knowledge & Understanding Framework) to criminal justice workers and professionals working with clients with BPD.

I’m a published poet and deliver classes in poetry, self-esteem and confidence, recovery from abuse for women and an insight into BPD. I don’t like the term ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ especially the ‘disorder’ bit: I am living with emotionally intense behaviours, which can be altered, but a disorder suggests there can be no change.

I know that working with people like us can be hard and challenging. But through BHT’s Supporting People with Borderline Personality Disorder training I hope I can give you an insight into what it’s like living with this condition, and give you hope that you can make a difference.

Janette will share her personal journey in more detail on our Supporting People with Borderline Personality Disorder training on Tuesday 27th September.

You can book your place directly through our website, via the link above.