Young, Sick and Invisible

My illness has shaped me,
But it does not define me.

Guest Post: 'Shelley's Story'


I’m Shelley & I live in a small town in Surrey with my family & partner. I blog part time while working full time & trying to live a social life! My chronic illness is BPD (borderline personality disorder) which most people don’t really quite get. Most people will confuse it with bipolar & to be honest it’s not too different but it isn’t the same. BPD is an emotionally unstable condition, so in reality you are unstable in your sense of self & others. Imagine a emotional rollercoaster that you can’t get off of & you’re pretty much imagining my day to day life.

I have to admit that I received my diagnosis at a young stage & I don’t think what I loved has changed. Sure I’ve grown up & my passions are different but I haven’t changed as a person. I’m still able to function day to day & I still work. I actually work more now then I did prior but that’s due to me being high functioning. I work in a pharmacy, serving customers & preparing prescriptions. It’s not the most difficult job but it isn’t easy either. I’m very aware that sometimes I need time away because of my illness but I rarely let it take over my day to day. Work has always been a place where my mental illness takes the back seat.

I honestly couldn’t tell you when the disorder first appeared because it probably was there all along but I started seeing signs around 14. It got worse before it got better & eventually around 17/18 I got my diagnosis. Getting diagnosed wasn’t easy because the system is rubbish. I went from sector to sector with people who didn’t care to people who were damn right creepy. I had been diagnosed with depression & fed meds before things started to really get serious. Being diagnosed by a specialist who actually wanted to get to the core was refreshing. Since that day I’ve felt more secure about my issues & I’m actually able to deal with them.

When I needed help I was in school so I went to the people around me & luckily had a really great tutor & counsellor who gave me the support I needed. From there I left it up to the them to contact the correct channels & as an adult I reached out for helped via GPs. The only time I’ve looked to the internet for help is when it came to understanding my diagnosis; never before & never to self diagnose.


A flare up to me is pretty much a patch of heighten stress. It can be over the tiniest thing but it will over take anything happening at that time. It’s exhausting & my emotions are on overdrive. It does pass in time & I go back to normal but right after that patch I’m usually in a state of dissociation as I switch off. My flare ups aren’t exactly painful apart from the odd migraine but they can last from a few minutes up to an hour. It all depends what mind frame I’m in & what it’s regarding. The main triggers are stress. Sounds simple but stress to me isn’t the same as it is to everyone. It’s heighten & my body doesn’t know how to deal with it. I usually get triggered by small stressors over big so just losing something can send me spiralling.

I’ve spent time learning how to cope with myself & deal with the flare ups. To be honest there’s no right way or handbook to deal with it. I just accept that it’s going to happen & I live through it. Sometimes I have to suck it up & take myself out of situations but in reality I don’t let the idea of stress swallow me. If I worried about a flare up I’d be in bed all day. I don’t take medication nor want to & I don’t discuss medication unless its on a one to one basis.

For those who suffer from BPD is all about learning about your disorder. That means reading about it so you understand what it is but also experiencing it from your point of view because not everyone is the same. It’s about picking up on your negative behaviours & putting a stop to it. Learning what works for you is the only way to deal with it. Maybe that’s in therapy & maybe that’s just you. Accepting yourself is very important to.

The way my illness has impacted my life is that it is my life. I am who I am because of this. That’s not a negative thing but my personality is intertwined with it. I know my boundaries & sometimes that can stop me doing certain things but I also know who I am & what I can achieve. Maybe I’ve lost people during my bad times but who really wants people who can’t go through a bad patch any how? I’ve made mistakes in my past & i’ve been the most horrible version of my disorder but that’s not me anymore. My disorder helped me understand who I am, reflect on who I was & strive to be who I want to be.

My hopes for the future are that I’ll find a doctor who cares enough to do research or to get me on the right treatment path. Other than that my hopes for the future are like everyone else; I hope to buy a house & do a lot more travelling!!

- Medicines described in this blog are prescribed to this individual by their Doctor. Always consult your Doctor about what is best for your needs before taking any medication -

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