As many as 70% of BPD patients attempt suicide, and the rate of completed suicide approaches 10%, almost 1000x the rate seen in the general population" (Kreisman, MD & Straus)
Who am I?
My name is Amelia Dolan, I am 25 years old and I was a high achieving, social, fun-loving individual, until everything changed when my world began to fall apart in November 2022. I isolated myself from my friends, relationship pressures overwhelmed me and issues with self image and self esteem edged towards a crisis point. I entered some of the darkest times I had ever faced.
This depressive period ended with two stays in the Priory psychiatric ward, multiple suicide attempts, one section order, a stay in an NHS ward and a formal diagnosis with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)/Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD).
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
“People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement.” - Marsha Linehan
"You might be given a diagnosis of BPD if you experience at least five of the following things. And if they’ve lasted for a long time and have a big impact on different parts of your daily life:
- Feeling very worried about people abandoning you, and like you'd try very hard to stop that happening
- Having intense emotions that last from a few hours to a few days and can change quickly (such as feeling very happy and confident to suddenly feeling low and sad)
- Feeling insecure about who you are, with your sense of self changing significantly depending on who you're with
- Finding it really hard to make and keep stable relationships, and often viewing relationships as completely perfect or completely bad
- Feeling empty a lot of the time
- Acting impulsively and doing things that could harm you, such as binge eating, using drugs and alcohol, or driving dangerously
- Using self-harm to manage your feelings or feeling suicidal
- Feeling intense anger, which can be difficult to control
- Experiencing paranoia or dissociation in moments of extreme stress"
The exhibition documents my personal journey through mental health crisis and educates and raises awareness for the condition I live with: Borderline Personality Disorder. This art exhibition is to share and process my own experiences and to give other people hope that it can get better, even if not linearly. I drove my way out of hell, and continue to do so, day by day, and it is one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced.
This year has been an incredible journey for me, with heart-achingly low lows, where I felt that I'd lost everything: my friends, my relationship, my job and my independence. As hard as it was, I still haven't given up. This exhibition is a catharsis for me, a way to put meaning into what I experienced and to help those who aren't as fortunate as to receive the brilliant private care that I had. Also to raise awareness for one of the most negatively stigmatised mental health conditions, I stigma I have become all too aware of.
I continue on my path of building a life worth living, I wake up make that commitment to myself everyday, even on the days where it feels impossible. With this exhibition, and with everything I do to speak out and breakdown the stigma surrounding this disorder and other mental health conditions, I want to do everything in my power to make sure that other people know that they are never alone and that life is always worth living.
The exhibition will take place at:
The Workshop Space, Prince Edward Road, Hackney Wick, EC9 5LX
PRIVATE VIEW: Thursday 26th October, 6-9pm
OPENING: Friday 27th & Saturday 28th October, 1-8pm
Mind has been a great resource for me, my family and those around me when trying to manage and understand what was going on from learning what mental health care was available to the side effects of medications, Mind was consistently a reliable point of call.
My experiences within the NHS opened my eyes to the difficulty and near impossibility myself and many individuals face when trying to get treatment for BPD and other mental health challenges. The treatment available is underfunded, unsuitable and at times even further damaging. Mind works to advocate for all those affected by all mental health challenges, which 1 in 4 of us will experience, mental illnesses and disorders and fights to get everyone the support and respect they deserve.
About Mind in the City, Hackney and Waltham Forest:
We won't give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect. We challenge discrimination and provide local expert services so no one has to face a mental health problem alone. Help us shape the future of mental health.