"Already I feel different. Speaking to other people and knowing you’re not alone makes a big difference"

Thinking Well Client

I felt quite lonely and isolated before I came. Now I feel more hopeful about maintaining my health; and seeing others with the same illness makes me strive to be better because I can see that they are doing well.

 

It’s hard to think about how stress has affected my life because it makes me think how different my life would be if I didn’t get stressed.

I let it consume me, it eats me up.

Sometimes I want to lock myself away from the world, and sometimes I can’t bear to be all alone.

There was no help for me when I was young. I was 13 when I took my first serious overdose.

I went through some tough times in my childhood and I dealt with a lot of stress and that’s when I noticed I wasn’t well.

I didn’t know who to speak to. I didn’t have access to mental health services.

It’s quite hard for me to separate stress from my illness.

I’ve been going to the Thinking Well service for a couple of months. It’s a service for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

It’s group therapy and takes place all day Tuesdays and on Friday afternoons. I actually look forward to going.

What we do varies a lot from having deep conversations about the problems we are having, to doing art.

What I think is helpful about doing it in a group setting is being able to talk to people about what’s going on. I’ve done individual therapy before and this is better.

It’s more informal here and you’re treated like an adult. You get a lot of break times to chat to people.

If someone’s having a bad day in the group, we can support them.

Already I feel different. Speaking to other people and knowing you’re not alone makes a big difference.

I felt quite lonely and isolated before I came. Now I feel more hopeful about maintaining my health; and seeing others with the same illness makes me strive to be better because I can see that they are doing well.

Initially I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder, but I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder a few years later at 22. When I was diagnosed with BPD I had a massive cry about it, but it did ring true.

I’m glad I got the diagnosis because it enabled me to have access to the support I needed.

When I was a teenager, I never talked about my problems. No-one knew I had taken an overdose. People thought I’d taken a bad drug. I let them think that cos it was easier.

I would say I’m no expert in dealing with stress still, but I’m learning about how it affects me.

Sometimes I can tell I’m stressed but other times people have to tell me.

Sometimes people say I don’t deal with stress normally and a lot of the time I have to ask someone if it’s normal to be stressed by something in particular.

Stress for me is worry. My mind can be preoccupied and I feel it in my body.

I have fibromyalgia and stress really affects that. I’m in a lot of pain. Massages and muscle relaxants can help to calm my body.

Keeping myself busy can help keep stress at bay.

One of my coping strategies is spending lots of time researching and buying presents for people – that’s a good distraction!

And talking is the main thing for me. I never used to.

When I was 19, I had a severe breakdown and was referred to a psychiatrist. For the first few years I didn’t speak. I didn’t know how to do it, cos I’d never done it. But now they can’t shut me up!

It’s definitely helpful to talk to someone about stress.

 

In partnership with the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, we have developed a new dedicated service for people with Personality Disorder called Thinking Well. The service offers a range of group drop-in, social and clinical sessions, provided at our Wellbeing Centres in Lewes, Hastings and Eastbourne.