‘My struggles with BPD left me homeless and suicidal. Now I’m training to become an adult carer’ (iNews)

Georgia is a 19-year-old Londoner who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). After she was made homeless, Beam launched a crowdfunding page to fund Georgia’s training to become an adult carer.

At the age of 19, Georgia reflects on what living with Borderline Personality Disorder means for her, and her ambitions for the future

I’ve struggled with my mental health since I was nine years old. I was referred to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) for treatment, but I dipped in and out of using the service because I couldn’t find the help that I needed.

My brother has autism and my sister has epilepsy, so it was quite challenging for my mum to raise the three of us alongside my mental health struggles in London. Even though it must have been hard for her to look after us all, she did the most amazing job.

I cared for my grandad at quite a young age when he receiving palliative care for terminal cancer. It was all about making him feel happy and comfortable. I helped clean him and move him so he didn’t get bed sores, and even try different foods to boost his health.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up. They lived across the road from me and my family, and they looked after me a lot. My grandad had a big role in my life, and was one of my main role models as a child. My grandad got cancer when I was 12, and he passed away just before my 14th birthday.

By the time my grandad had passed away, my mental health deteriorated quite a lot. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) when I tried to take my life at the age of 14. I was hospitalised for three weeks, then I was allowed to return home.

BPD is different for different people. For me, when I’m triggered by something, it feels like I’ve got a rush of maybe five different emotions in one go. I can’t speak, never mind get across how I’m feeling. It’s like feeling happy, anxious and sad all at the same time, so it can be very confusing for the other people around me.

When I first received my diagnosis, I pushed my family away. I was so young, I didn’t know how to ask for help. They recognised I need a lot more support, but it was still challenging because of my mental health struggles.

A couple of weeks before my 18th birthday, I lost control, and I left home. I was working in hospitality at the time. With my health being how it was, I struggled to keep up my studies, and I dropped out of education. I turned to my local council in south east London for help, which found me some assisted accommodation.

At first, moving was scary. I’d heard so many bad things about the hostel. I was going to live with other vulnerable young people. Even though I had mental health issues myself, I was like, ‘I don’t know what all these other people are going to be like’.

When I first moved in, I hid myself away as I didn’t want to talk to anyone else there. Once I finally felt settled, I spoke to some of the residents. I slowly found out whether someone had just gotten out of prison or had mental health problems like me, we all just needed support.

Some of the residents had BPD too, so they understood where I came from. I knew other people were out there, but I’d never met someone with BPD before. To see someone face to face that suffered with it too made me feel like I wasn’t alone. They noticed when I was triggered, and they helped me get my feet back on the ground.

I made friends with these residents. They helped me form better relationships, including a better relationship with me and my mum. It took us a while to speak again. When we did, we went through therapy, and there was a mediator involved to work out how to move forward.

Now we understand my illness and what it means, my mum and I have been able to rebuild our relationship. I’ve educated my family because I’ve been educated myself. It’s a lot better for me as people can now understand my triggers and they have started to work out how to bring me back. For example, my mum knows that if I speak to my siblings or see my siblings, I come back down to a normal level.

I’ve been told multiple times that I’m more than one person, and I’m not normal, and other stuff like that. But I’m really lucky because of the people that I have in my immediate circle of friends and family.

Now, I live on my own, and I’ve been accepted for a job as a carer, so I can start my training. I’d always wanted to help people in some type of way, and I decided after helping my grandad, that’s what I wanted to do.

At the moment I’m not on medication. I’m just waiting to start a new type of therapy that can help me understand and manage my illness in the long term.

I don’t wanted to be treated differently because I have BPD. I am a human too, and I don’t need to be treated like I’m a wild animal that needs to be caged. Sometimes people do fall off the bandwagon, but as long as they receive the right support, the more likely it is that they’ll come back from it.

Read the original article on iNews here.

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