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Living with borderline personality disorder: Aaron's story

Aaron-SANE-Ambassador
SANE Ambassador Aaron Fornarino

Following story as told to Fairfax media.

Living with complex mental illness is hard enough, but the accompanying stigma and isolation make symptoms worse and act like a handbrake on recovery.

That was the case for Aaron Fornarino, who was first admitted to a mental health facility at age 14 and eventually diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). He spent his teenage years and young adulthood in and out of psychiatric wards and foster homes, where he struggled with self-harm, anxiety, depression and impulsiveness.

“It was just a really chaotic time,” says Fornarino, now a 37-year-old public servant in Adelaide.

“Borderline personality disorder wasn’t taken very seriously back then. I was sort of treated like an attention-seeker or a pest.”

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6

Functional neurological disorder: the silent illness

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Functional neurological disorder – formerly called conversion disorder – is more common than multiple sclerosis yet remains a little-known condition in both the medical community and the general population.

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94

Condolences: Commissioner Jackie Crowe

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SANE Australia mourns the passing of Jackie Crowe.

Jackie was a fearless and passionate advocate across so many mental health issues. She was an absolute champion in ensuring that people directly affected by mental ill-health were put in the design seat of programs and services.

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1

Coming out with an eating disorder

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I'm gay, and I'm loud and proud. But it wasn't so long ago that I was hiding my truth from the world. The longer I held onto this secret, the heavier it seemed.

When you hide something as central to your identity as your gender or sexuality it can seem as though there is a vast chasm between you and the rest of the world, and it is a lonely and isolating existence.

I remember hearing an anecdote about the burdens we carry. It goes something like this.

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1

Common questions about BPD

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There's far more to borderline personality disorder (BPD) than the stereotypes, myths and misunderstandings that often exist.

People who live with BPD are ordinary people. People who are overcoming challenging symptoms, as well as stigma and discrimination.

So, to raise awareness and reduce stigma we asked the community what they wanted to know about BPD. These questions have been answered by people who live with BPD and the SANE Help Centre.


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9

Five things nobody told me about living with a mental illness

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Since turning 18 I've actively sought and managed my own treatment, this includes seeing a raft of counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists and health professionals.

I've had my share of hospital visits, undertaken a year of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), completed a 20 day inpatient Schema program and recently started an Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing program.

I also take medication and have found a lot of purpose through my work in the arts.

I've been through all this and I'm proud of my progress. But my journey would have been easier if someone mentioned, all those years ago, five simple facts about living with a mental illness.

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24

Five lies my OCD tells me

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Obsessive compulsive disorder tells lies which disguise themselves as truths. 

These lies add to the distress that obsessions cause, but once we are able to realise they aren't true, it makes dealing with OCD much easier. 

Here are some of the lies OCD tells:

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18

Understanding postnatal psychosis

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Postnatal psychosis (also known as postpartum or puerperal psychosis) is a rare condition affecting around 1 or 2 women in every thousand.

It's a serious illness that requires urgent treatment.

Most people know very little about postnatal psychosis so it can come as a shock. It can often occur suddenly without a history of mental illness.

Understanding postnatal psychosis can better prepare families in the event of an episode.

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6

Condolences: Sir Ninian Stephen

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We mourn the loss of SANE Australia Patron-in-Chief The Right Honourable Sir Ninian Stephen KG, AK, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, PC, QC who died aged 94 this week.

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