Ella's story

Ella's Story

I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder last year and remember feeling really frightened and confused. 

The doctor said it was going to take some time to get better. I remember getting really angry and yelling at the doctor: “It’s going to take a year? That’s ridiculous, that’s forever!” I was only just keeping things together.  I was a single mum and working part-time. I had no idea what I was going to do.  The doctor suggested I see a psychologist or go to a therapy group but I didn’t want to talk to anyone, especially not to a stranger. I was also scared that talking was going to make things worse.  I’d spent my life trying to block things out of my mind. And, I had no idea how I was going to pay for it.

Deep down, I knew I had to do something.  I wanted my daughter (who was 4 years old at the time) to have a different life from the one I did. I wanted her to grow up and feel safe and secure in herself, and have strong relationships with people.  My relationship with her father had broken down before she was born.  It was always on-again, off-again. I blamed him but knew I did things to sabotage the relationship.

I’d made a number of friends during secondary school but the relationships had all gone sour. Again, I blamed them for not being good friends. I also made a couple of friends during first-year University but when I dropped out, I never heard from them again.  One girl told me she couldn’t handle my mood swings and negativity, and ended the friendship.

Anyway, the doctor gave me a name of a psychologist who specialised in borderline personality disorder. The psychologist was able to see me one afternoon a week - after I finished work, and before I picked up my daughter.  Being able to fit me in at this time of day was really helpful as I wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise.  I was also able to claim some of the session fees back on medicare.

I remember feeling really nervous before my first appointment. I actually felt sick and wanted to cancel.  But I went, reluctantly. The psychologist was really nice.  She was funny, firm and fair – not what I had expected. She didn’t ask too many hard questions about my past and explained how the sessions worked, including holidays and cancellations.  We completed a care plan and I felt like I had some control over my life.  Surprisingly, therapy didn’t feel like a life-sentence and I felt much less confused and more optimistic about the future.

A year on, the most useful part of therapy has been learning how to relate to people, including my psychologist.  Working through my fears and reactions in the sessions has helped me in other relationships, including my relationship with my daughter.  I feel less angry and a little more in control of my emotions.  I feel like I have choices. There’s still a long way to go and it can be really hard work, but it does feel like I’m getting to a better place in myself.  I’d encourage anyone with BPD to find a therapist who specialises in BPD and give therapy a go.

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Last reviewed: 8 September, 2011