A common call to the SANE Helpline often goes like this:
‘I think my partner, daughter or son has borderline personality disorder (BPD) and I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around them. I love this person, but the situation can be so hurtful. How can I stay and support them, but protect myself as well?’
To help we asked one of our carers, 'Ace', to share his advice for living with and loving someone with BPD. We also asked SANE Help Centre Manager, Suzanne Leckie, to add SANE’s perspective on best practice for carers.
When politicians announce changes to the services we use it can often make us stressed, worried and anxious.
For some people, it can feel like those most affected by the change are excluded from the decision-making process. And this can add to the fear that one day we’ll discover the vital services we rely on may no longer be available.
But the reality is it can take years for policy ideas to become a reality.
Simon Champ is a pioneer for the rights of people with mental illness in Australia. He believes that one of these fundamental rights is to be recognised and respected as human beings like anyone else — a simple yet distressingly difficult right to achieve, as the battle against stigma continues to this day.
When Barbara Hocking first worked with Marg Leggatt in 1989, she had no idea that six years later she would go on to become the CEO of one of Australia’s leading mental health charities — a role she held for 17 years.
‘A few years after I started at SANE Australia, Paul Morgan joined me and we began to grow from a staff of two to over 20,’ Barbara reflects.
There are few things in the world more frightening than hearing that someone is thinking about suicide.
Even when you know you have done everything possible to support them, it’s natural to feel an unsettling sense of preoccupation and responsibility that can be hard to deal with.
If this sounds familiar, here’s a checklist of four things you can do to take care of yourself.
Burnout and compassion fatigue are terms carers regularly hear when caring for someone with a mental illness.
There is no doubt that caring for someone can be a demanding, stressful and exhausting role. It's also common to be told to look after yourself and prevent burnout. But, at times it can be difficult to know when we are feeling normal pressures or when it’s something more.
So what exactly is burnout? How can you tell if you are experiencing it? And how can you stop it from happening?
Imagine watching a film about the mental illness you’ve just been diagnosed with. Now imagine that film paints a picture of violence and danger. It suggests people with your condition are a terrifying threat to society.
How would this shape your perception of the illness? How would it make you feel about yourself? And if your friends, family, children or boss watch the film and think people with your condition are ‘psychopaths’, who would you turn to for help?
I’m frustrated. Yet again, we’ve seen another film released that reinforces the notion we need to fear people living with complex mental illness.
The latest in a long line of cinema offenders (remember Psycho?) to paint people living with mental illness as violent villains is new cinema release Split.
The Hollywood horror film stars James McAvoy as a man living with dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, who kidnaps three young girls.
The film trivialises complex mental illness and reinforces the inaccurate and harmful notion we need to fear people living with complex mental illness, in this case, dissociative identity disorder.
Hollywood loves to use extreme depictions of mental illness to make movies, and they’re not always concerned with accuracy or sensitivity.
The latest example, Split, portrays a highly stigmatising, inaccurate version of dissociative identity disorder (DID).
So it’s time to counter the myths with some facts.