Mental health is slowly becoming part of national consciousness. But while depression and anxiety are taking centre stage, other lesser-known or misunderstood mental health conditions are being left behind.
That’s why Kate Wildblood and her partner, Queen Josephine, are determined to set the record straight about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
Together they’ve created an honest and engaging cartoon,’The Missus, Me And BPD’, that encapsulates what it’s like to live with the condition.
“There is no predicting the days with BPD, there is only learning to cope, to manage, to somehow find the tools that enable you to challenge your distorted thoughts and move forward with hope,” Kate told The Huffington Post UK.
Kate, 47, was diagnosed with BPD in 2008, after being misdiagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety aged 21.
Misdiagnosis is common with BPD. According to Mind Charity, this is because BPD symptoms overlap with many other mental health issues, including bipolar disorder.
BPD causes emotional instability, leading to acute anxiety and mistrust in relationships, among other things. Those affected experience both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days, but the impact of the condition can affect many areas of life.
We caught up with Kate to find out more about the cartoon, which is featured at the bottom of this article.
Why did you decide to make the cartoon?
“I’m one of the one in four who suffer with a mental health issue. I’m one of the one in twenty who live with a personality disorder. Standing up and saying I’m more than a number, that I and so many like me need understanding, support and treatment is very important to me. Smashing the stigma around mental health and personality disorders is vital.
“I live with and try to manage an illness, nothing more, nothing less. Just because my illness involves my head doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be treated equally by friends, family, the NHS, in the workplace, in education and or in the media.”
How does BPD affect your day-to-day life?
“There is no regular day with BPD. There are good days and bad days. Every day is filled with over thinking and the need to control as I work, play and love and on those good days it takes a monumental effort to keep the paranoia, anxiety, dread, panic, fear, hyper criticism and self loathing at bay.
“On the bad days you slip further into a place where self harm and isolation are logical, where suicide feels a reasonable option and the good days feel totally unreal, like a fleeting moment in a sea of crippling fog.
“There is no predicting the days with BPD, there is only learning to cope, to manage, to somehow find the tools that enable you to challenge your distorted thoughts and move forward with hope. Hope that on a good day if I close my eyes and squint real hard I can kind of see coming over the horizon!”
How does BPD affect your relationship with your partner, Queenie?
“BPD affects every aspect of our relationship. The very pillars that you build a relationship on, trust, respect, faith, hope for the future – each are battered by BPD at some point. But we are surviving because of one thing, love.
“It is hard living with BPD – the rages, the sadness, the anxiety, the fight for parity in the NHS, the fear of stigma, the mistrust of others, none make for easy bedfellows but somehow we get through.
“Balancing the roles of carer with that of lover and partner is tough but by learning to truly communicate, by accessing support for both of us as we live with BPD and by laughing and dancing and gardening and wiggling between the dark hours we’re getting there.”
What myths would you like to dispel about BPD?
“Yes I’m difficult, a perfectionist, needing your approval and reassurance, desperate to have some control of the world as I literally try to hold on whilst I live with my heighten states of emotions but stick with me, dig deeper and you’ll find a person whose very emotions, even in their intensity, are good to be around.
“Sure I have BPD but I’m loyal, precise, loving, expressive and you’ll not find a dryer, more cynical sense of humour this side of Bernard Black.”
Here is the incredible ‘The Missus, Me and BPD’ cartoon, written by Kate and illustrated by Queenie.
The cartoon originally appeared in the print edition of Gscene Magazine’s Mental Health Issue, in May 2016.
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