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