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I have borderline personality disorder (BPD). AMA.


Staff member
What is the most difficult aspect of having BPD?


Answered by Lucie Schmidt (Registered Nurse) on the 29th of December 2017

Seeming on the outside like I am ok.

A few people have posted about “presenting well” and it’s very true for the poor borderline.

We are, in many many aspects.. normal. Intelligent (often quite intelligent actually), quirky in a highly engaging way, often able to take care of our basic needs and moreso a great ability to take care of others. We are understanding, empathetic, wonderful listeners and love to be there to support the people we love. At heart, we are, and present as, wonderful, fully functioning people.

Nobody can see what’s actually going on inside us. Our ability to tuck it all away for fear of judgement and rejection makes it very difficult to be understood by anyone. Whether we cancel plans so we seem ‘unreliable’ rather than ‘psychotic’, or leave to go to the bathroom so we can take a breather to push away all the bubbling emotions that threaten to destroy a perfectly happy moment. We do whatever we need to, to ensure that our deep, dark secret stays hidden. We really deserve a PhD in pushing emotional turmoil away, at least on a temporary basis (for this is always only allowing a delay- at which point all will come boiling to the surface in an exploding, catastrophic mess. But.. we successfully didn’t let you see that, so phew!)

What this does, is it creates a perception amongst everyone that there is nothing wrong. That we don’t deserve any love, care or attending to when we are in deep emotional pain.. because, according to them, it doesn’t happen. So where do we go when we trigger? Who can we turn to when the pain is threatening to swallow us up into utter despair and hopelessness? We feel entirely alone, that nobody cares, and only confirm our deepest core belief- that we are unlovable and nobody can love us the way we need to be loved.

For a borderline, this is hell. This is fear provoking, nihilistic thought inspiring hell. We don’t feel like we can share our plight with anyone, because they won’t understand us. The look of utter confusion and dismissal I’ve seen on the faces of the people I care about when trying to convey that I’m actually quite mentally unstable.. it is truly heartbreaking. I know it’s my own fault, because I’ve successfully portrayed this perfect image of myself, but it doesn’t stop the deep feelings of being misunderstood. And it’s not necessarily sentences of refute, like “no, there couldn’t possibly be anything wrong with you” that hurt the most. It’s often the dismissal. The look of nonchalance, the disregard that the pain is real or affects me on any great level. Conversations keep flowing like I never said anything. I may get a pause, I may even get an eye roll like I’m being too dramatic.. and then any attempt to communicate what I need is once again lost due to lack of external evidence.

Without compassion and empathy coming from the people we know, we question who we are and what we actually mean to people. Can we ever really trust ourselves or trust others if we open up? Can we be accepted, and possibly understood? Will anyone ever know who we really are? Will we ever know who we really are? Holding our deepest selves back sets us up for feelings of depression, isolation, self hate, inadequacy, anxiety, anger, rejection and alienation, resulting in a high likelihood of triggering each and every time we feel misunderstood by someone.

There are many difficult aspects of BPD, but for me it’s the ‘seeming ok’ that causes so many of my problems. Nobody understands why I don’t work, why I’m socially erratic, why I cancel a lot. I very much doubt that they’d ever acknowledge my pain because I don’t display any ‘classic’ signs of mental illness. I’m more likely to attract a ‘lazy’, ‘unreliable’, or ‘attention-seeking’ label instead, which further invalidates my struggles and only adds to my belief that I am fundamentally flawed.


Staff member
It is disturbing how you can't do anything for someone with BPD despite trying all you can to help. Why do they become so cold and cut you off abruptly without mercy?


Answered by Michelle Shaw (RN, BA Psychology & Social Work, University of Waterloo) on the 8th of January 2018.

People with borderline personality disorder see things in black and white - no shades of grey. They're sensitive to any kind of rejection, so it's either red pill, blue pill for them. They don't feel secure in most relationships and they're vigilant to any hint of deception or betrayal. This is how the sudden endings occur.

The core of the disorder is the inability of the person to really feel secure in a relationship. Everything looks good at the beginning but eventually the person almost demands reassurance most of the time. Most often caused by some kind of betrayal during childhood, it' s understandable they need to feel secure in a relationship with both partners and friends.

One way I like (professionally) is to tell them “Whatever you need, come find me. It doesn't matter if I look busy, I'll stop what I'm doing as soon as I can”. And do it. Initially there are many visits but by the second day the number of times the person approaches drop by half. Third day fewer approaches, by the fourth day on approaches are more touching base than requests for support. Not to suggest it' s necessary to listen to sometimes lengthy emotional disclosures , it' ok to set limits re: time and investment.

As the person develops trust in the relationship their feelings of security naturally improve as well. One caveat - there will be emotional storms once in a while but more readily managed since hopefully the basic trust is strong. Remember the person feels powerless/helpless. It can become tiring to try and remain in a relationship like this, so it' s important to set clear limits - “we have already talked about this, can we talk about something else?” . Even a bit more bluntly - “I'm happy to talk with you but not about that”.

It's sad that people have to go through this. There are effective therapies - cognitive and dialectical - but most people tend to suffer without seeking/gaining access to treatment programs.


Staff member
How to Be Friends With Someone Who Has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

By Fiona Kennedy


This post has come about off the back of a conversation I had with a close friend who had been struggling to know how to react to me at times, or understand why I was behaving in certain ways. I’m so proud of her for having the strength to bring this up with me because it was never going to be an easy conversation, but it was one that had to happen sooner or later.

One of the things she mentioned was she had gone looking for information on how to be friends with someone who has borderline personality disorder (BPD) and didn’t get very far. It seems so obvious, I can’t actually believe I didn’t think to write something like this before, because there is so much I’d like people close to me to know – about the times I hide, the times I ask over and over again if everything is OK, the times I seem angry, the times I seem distant – the most important thing is it’s nothing to do with you. I (occasionally way over)react to everything, even the seemingly inconsequential things. I’m working so hard to get a handle on it all, and I’ve been making huge progress since starting with Therapist 2.0, but there are still times BPD will get the better of me.

Actually, it occurs to me as I write this that while it’s personal to me and my own family and friends, it could equally apply to anyone who is either trying to understand a friend, or trying to explain to a friend what it is they need. In no particular order of preference, here are a few bits I think might help us all:

1. Be honest with me. If I have said or done something to upset you, please let me know. The conversation might not be pleasant, but avoiding it just makes things worse

2. Sometimes I won’t be able to talk to you. It’s nothing personal. It’s just sometimes I feel so awkward and out of place I can’t actually string a sentence together

3. Similarly, sometimes you won’t be able to talk to me because I will frustrate the hell out of you. That’s OK. If you need some space, just tell me. It’s up to me to manage my response to that.

4. If I don’t make eye contact, that’s a pretty strong indicator that I’m not doing well.

5. You are not responsible for making me better. If you can, listening on a bad day would be awesome, but I understand that won’t always be possible. You’re not my therapist!

6. I want to know what’s going on with you – never, ever feel like you can’t talk to me. There are two of us in this relationship.

7. I’m really good at picking up on your moods, good, bad or otherwise. Unfortunately I also have a tendency to assume it’s my fault if there’s something wrong (I’m working on that one, honestly), so if you’re able, talk to me. Chances are I’ll understand.

8. Sometimes my reactions to seemingly minor events will be epic. Nine times out of 10, it’s nothing to do with the actual event but rather what it has triggered in me (I’m working hard on that one too).

Things are changing for me. It feels so, so good to finally be getting some control over BPD, but it’s also a little scary – I have to get used to new ways of managing my behavior, and then you have to get used to me behaving differently. I’ve discovered there are quite a few things that have to happen every day to try and keep myself on the straight and narrow, and that takes a considerable amount of time and effort, both of which leave me flattened on occasion.

You won’t always understand, you won’t always want to, but I honestly believe as long as we keep talking to each other, as long as I keep doing what I now know I have to do, it will be OK.


Staff member
I was wondering does your BPD effect your reactions as a fan/supporter ?? Supporting Manly was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster last season, do you find that harder to deal with because of your condition ?

Good question.

Radical acceptance is a big part of BPD and DBT. I accepted very early in the season that we (or should I say they) were not going to make the finals last year. We had very good players in the team (and hard working people off the field) but the attitude was not good and they weren't playing together as a team. Injuries didn't help but even with a fully fit squad we were not going to trouble the top eight teams in September last year. I'm very lucky in that I spend a lot of time playing soccer, meditating and practicing yoga on the weekend so can only watch so many games of rugby league live. I love the Manly club and the players who play for our team. But I also accept that they are flawed human beings and do not idealize them as anything beyond professional sportsmen.

Whether Manly win or not has very little effect on my level of happiness and inner peace. We could go bankrupt tomorrow and I would still watch and enjoy rugby league. Learning to let go and not live vicariously through my sports teams has been a massive part of my emotional development over the years.

It is just a game.











Staff member
Do BPD’s have a hard time apologizing and if so, why?

Answered by Jason Rodgers (Married an Un-diagnosed Borderline Disordered female with Narcissistic traits) on the 2nd of February 2019.

There are those that feel regret and guilty after having an episode or an outburst and will apologize profusely.

Then you have the more resistant borderlines that in addition may also have those extra toasty narcissistic traits that will justify their shit behaviors and truly believe in the moment that you deserved their sometimes disgusting treatment and anyone who has been on the receiving end will know what I'm talking about illness or not…..literally no accountability nor apology. …(but there are occasions when you may see some kind of remorse displayed but its rare due to their stubborn and defensive nature as they resist being seen as vulnerable or weak which they actually are,those borderlines which seem cold,aggressive and spiteful are in truth soft as mush emotionally. …its just buried deep deep under those deeply entrenched defense mechanisms) .

Its simply because they are so fragile and broken inside that the mere thought they have done something wrong fills them with toxic shame and guilt and they will go to great lengths to maintain their perfect view of themselves and will literally deny,project and blame everyone else and then play the victim in every situation…..so whatever situation you find yourself in .. Its never their fault……ever.

So you will find this person doesn't apologize,the cumulative effect of this is that this person doesn't have to change.

When people apologize generally speaking their admitting fault,acknowledging a mistake and ideally looking to not do it again…relatively speaking.

However some borderlines with or without those narcissistic traits are like fuuuuuck that,I can do what i want because I don't have to play by the rules like everybody else and this is where they can display a sense of entitlement…and expect to be treated like nothing happened…..and avoid consequences.

This leads on to a subject called splicing where borderlines can create a shit storm and days later its treated like it never happened…..imagine removing a scene from a movie,you watch it a second time and its missing …you know the scene happened…but now its like it never happened,no apology,no discussing the event…nothing.

Until the next shitstorm…..and its rinse,wash and repeat.

Thanks for the request.


Staff member
What screams "mentally healthy"?


Written by Elinor Greenberg (Psychologist, Author, Lecturer and Consultant on Narcissistic Disorders) on the 11th of March 2019.

When I think of the people I know who I consider mentally healthy, they tend to have many of the following traits:
- They have a sense of humor about themselves and life events.
- They can continue functioning effectively during difficult times.
- They take care of their health.
- They pay their bills on time.
- They are usually kind to people.
- They know what they like.
- They can make their own decisions.
- They complete most projects that they start.
- They are reliable.
- They have a group of friends.
- They save for the future.
- They are responsible with money.
- They can hold their temper.


Staff member
Over thinking, under explaining and letting go.


My name is still Patrick Flynn. It has been over two years since I started this blog so just thought I would provide some updates on my situation and also some belated new year’s resolutions related to letting go of things that cannot be changed outside of my control.

Life has changed so much in the past two years. Since opening up publically about my borderline personality disorder diagnosis my life has transformed so much. This journey has led me to experiences that have opened new doors for me in my community on a personal and professional level. The main change for me has been has been reconnecting with the local community. It started in February 2017 where I attended my first embrace meeting at Romano's. Soon after this discovered I discovered that there was something in Wagga Wagga called Potowa Buddhist Group. Both have had a massive effect. There have been other organizations and events throughout the way as well. There were certainly some very challenging situations along the way. For every positive experience there were also some difficult moments of misunderstanding. Either people not knowing what BPD was or misinterpreting my intentions.

Whether you like me or not, at the end of the day I have established myself as a dependable person with an imperfect but pretty good reputation in my local community. Not only am I playing soccer for the South Wagga Warriors but am also on their committee as well. Despite my physical and mental limitations I show up for indoor soccer every Tuesday night and work every day. Since last year I was delegated the role of the main point of contact for embrace by the founder and my friend Samantha Brunskill. Every month I attend embrace meetups and check-in with other people who are living with mental illnesses. These are not feelings they are facts. Our coordinator and my friend Peir Woon has given me the opportunity and privilege to do the social media (Facebook, Instagram and twitter) for Potowa. In addition to this I attend all of their meditations and events (not just when the Buddhist monks are in town). At 5:45pm every Friday night (besides public and school holidays) I practice yoga at Divine Wellbeing. These classes are by donation so everyone can enjoy yoga no matter what their life circumstances are.

How do you deal with people who have BPD symptoms?

This is very close to my heart. Through Facebook and embrace, it seems that every person suffering from BPD in my local community knows who I am. Through this I have been able to connect with many like-minded men and women. Some have become trusted friends. Some of the less stable have cut contact very quickly and blocked me out of their lives. They have every right to do this. Through spending time with different community groups, I have learned that not everybody understands and appreciates me. Unfortunately my gender, size and personality make certain types of people feel unsafe and or uncomfortable. My mentality is very different and this can be challenging and confronting. Some people feel more at peace without my presence in their life. Some have sent very unpleasant messages to me outlining this in great detail. I cannot help these people. All I can do is share my story and what works for me. My resolution is too observe this, accept this and let it go. Not trying to control other people or their behaviors. Just focusing on staying true to my beliefs, following my true path to inner peace and setting the best example that I can for people who are affected by BPD. This is what works for me.

The only things I control are my breathing, the tone of my voice, respecting others personal boundaries, the smile on my face, not taking anything for granted and displaying gratitude felt every day.

What next?

The main things for me at the moment are embrace, Potowa, yoga and the South Wagga Warriors football club. Letting people know that these things exist. And especially letting people with BPD know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. They may not be able to see it but it is there.

Lastly, at the risk of sounding cheesy, the most important thing in my life is my family (that is mother and my sister). They do so much for me and I am so grateful for everything that they do. We have our moments but I cannot imagine my life being what it is today without them.

Like I wrote two years ago, if you have BPD (or know someone who does), please ask me anything. I will do my best to answer whatever questions or comments you have as quickly and mindfully as possible. I know for a fact that I’m not the only person on here with this and I will respect your privacy if you wish to contact me privately.











Staff member
Why do people with BPD randomly abandon the people they are close to?


Written by Christina V. Oderschvank (Clinically Diagnosed, Antisocial BPD subtype) on the 31st of March 2019.

I’ll try to make this answer as simple as possible, because it’s a complicated issue.

When you have BPD, but not enough self-awareness, you start to test your partner (or best friend, maybe, I don’t know about that, as I used to struggle with intense and unstable relationships, not friendships. But some people with BPD test their friends). The reason this happens is due to the unconscious fear of abandonment.

If I leave you, will you come after me?

This has nothing to do with the famous narcissistic “chase”. We don’t want to be chased. We just want to know that we can count on you. If I leave and you don’t give a sh*t, it means that you don’t love me, and if you don’t love me, I have to, no, scratch that - I need to find someone else who will love me. Because people with BPD crave unconditional love. But also to be cared for, nurtured and protected. Yes, like a very young child.

Now, another reason why some people with BPD leave the ones whom they get close to has to do with unhealthy emotional attachment, which usually triggers fear of abandonment. I don’t like having this fear triggered, and when this happens, I leave the person who does this to me. Right now I’m working on this issue, because my daughter triggered my fear of abandonment three weeks ago, and I can’t leave her, obviously. I need to find a way to re-attach myself to her in a healthy way.

Basically, anyone who triggers the fear of abandonment in someone with BPD will end up being dumped. Below I’m gonna list other reasons why people with BPD leave a partner or a friend.
- They no longer trust you.
- Being with you makes them feel insecure (it has nothing to do with you. They’re just insecure, but the lack of self-awareness stops them from seeing that).
- Jealousy. It’s insecurity again, of course, but it’s a distinct feeling. While you can feel insecure without being jealous, you cannot be jealous without being insecure.
- The partner or close friend has high demands and puts too much pressure on the person with BPD. Normal people leave too in this scenario, now imagine an impulsive, annoyed, stressed mofo. :D
- They feel engulfed by the other person. This happens when you have weak or no boundaries and a weak sense of self. And this is due to not enough healthy narcissism. Yes, you too need to have an ego.
- They give too much, while the other person just takes, takes, takes. Hello, my ex-marriage, lmao! This usually happens when you’re with a Narcissist, and by that I mean person who has NPD.
- They have devalued you because X, Y and Z. You’re an awful person now, so they leave. You probably hurt them or again, triggered the fear of abandonment.
- They like/love/idealize someone else. Eh, this sucks, I know. But here’s the thing: if someone with BPD feels that their needs are met, they won’t have eyes for anyone else. So, again, you hurt them, and they have decided to move on. Cheating isn’t a BPD thing, it’s just a d*ck move, and normal people do it all the time.
- And last, they don’t feel worthy of your love. This is common with people who have BPD, because we tend to feel like we’re unlovable and/or not good enough. So, we leave. I won’t go into the psychology behind this issue, as I think you know why it happens.

That’s it. I hope my answer was helpful!


Staff member
18 'Impolite' Things People Do Because of Borderline Personality Disorder


Written by Juliette Virzi (February 23, 2019)

When you’ve lived with borderline personality disorder (BPD) for a while, you become aware of the unique things you do because of it. Things like “splitting,” experiencing intense emotions or mood swings and dissociation are mainstays for many folks with BPD — but they aren’t the only ways it can manifest.

Sometimes BPD can make people do things that are often described (and misunderstood) as being “impolite.”

Maybe you lash out in anger at unsuspecting loved ones when you’re feeling emotionally activated. Maybe you alternate between oversharing with strangers and undersharing with the ones who love you most — to protect yourself from getting hurt. Or maybe you push people away when you fear they might abandon you.

If you struggle with an “impolite” manifestation of BPD, you’re not alone. The reality is, these things aren’t meant to come off as impolite at all. The only way we can set the record straight about “impolite” things people do because of BPD is to talk about it.

To open up this discussion, we asked our Mighty BPD community to share one “impolite” thing they do because of their condition.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. Interrupting Others

“I interrupt everyone all the time because my brain gets so overexcited that I can’t control my mouth.” — Sophie S.

“Interrupt people when they’re talking. … I really struggle with knowing when the right time is to interject or have my say as I’m so anxious about how I come across! I end up talking over people then feeling so guilty my anxiety increases and I do it again! I stutter and get my words muddled then beat myself up for days/weeks… even years!” — Kim A.

“Get too excited because I can relate to a person and accidentally interrupt to tell them a similar story because I want them to know we have something in common.” — Rishele S.

“Talking over people…when I feel an urgency to get my thoughts out.” — Heather W.

2. Oversharing

“I overshare a lot. Like I tell total strangers about my sex life, being raped in high school, my family hating me and not wanting me, and other closely personal information. But I don’t tell close friends the same information.” — Steven H.

3. Undersharing

“Overshare or undershare to people that [are] actually close, throw and break things, disassociate, get angry over small triggers and livid over bigger ones, etc. BPD is so exhausting.” — Chrissy H.

4. Lashing Out at Others

“I snap at people for the slightest thing. When I’m in one of my moods, everything is an inconvenience so even something like an unexpected phone call will trigger the attitude. If someone touches my dog without permission I have been known to fly off the handle at them. Even threaten them. I’m not a nice person at all when I’m inconvenienced.” — Angie C.

“When I have feelings for someone I will snap at them over the slightest thing. Read my text and didn’t reply? I’ll snap. Not talking to me much today? Well you just hate me, so I’ll snap.” — Alysha L.

5. Canceling Plans

“I cancel plans constantly and isolate all the time, because I think the outside world is scary and I know my friends get tired of me canceling but I can’t do anything to change it, sooo… yeah.” — Megan T.

“Making arrangements then not going out, ignoring phone calls from my best friends (thankfully they understand why) and oversharing. Being hyperactive one [minute] then sleeping all day or one hour. Zoning out so walking into people, then get shouted at by them.” — Georgina C.

6. Talking About Self Exclusively

“I never ask my partner how his day was or how he’s feeling, I just go on tangents about my day because I forget about other [person’s] problems and feelings. I’ve gotten into a routine that has helped me remember to ask him, but it’s been a very slow process.” — Tanesha G.

7. Being Brutally Honest

“I’m often overly honest and straightforward and come off as blunt or rude. “ — Taylor C.

“I can’t hide disgust. And I’m easily disgusted by food. So I’ll look evidently grossed out when I get served things I don’t like. Like at weddings or if the food doesn’t look how it should in a restaurant — but the worst is when I get invited to eat at someone’s house. And you’ll try to see me hide my face.” — Li N.

“No tact whatsoever! I upset people without even realizing what I am doing wrong. Sometimes when I think back on it I get why they were upset, but mostly I cannot get my head round it. … I ask direct questions and all hell breaks loose?” — Phrin B.

8. Ignoring or “Ghosting” People

“I ignore people. Most of the time everything feels crushingly overwhelming and I can’t muster the mental allowance to even reply to messages. The people close to me are used to it now, but I beat myself up for going MIA often.” — Jamie D.

“I ghost people all the time even though I like them. I just really struggle to stay in touch with people.” — Zahara S.

9. Being “Forgetful”

“I forget a lot of things. I don’t mean to — sometimes I just forget because I was [in] a really bad state or was disassociating.” — Montana B.

10. Leaving Without Saying Goodbye

“Walk away at inappropriate moments during a conversation because I feel like they hate me.” — Elizabeth B.

“Leaving situations because I’m uncomfortable. I have no idea why it’s considered impolite but it is, I guess?” — Megan G.

11. Deleting Then Re-Adding People on Social Media

“Don’t know if this counts. I will get into this frenzy where I delete people from social media and then re-invite them a day later.” — Rozeltte C.

12. Prolonging Conversations on Purpose

“I stall people from leaving or keep talking on the phone when they say they need to go because I don’t want them to leave or hang up. I don’t realize I’m doing it most the time until after they get upset with me.” — Sami S.

13. Cutting People Out Unexpectedly

“I think my worst or most impolite habit is cutting people off with no explanation. In that moment I feel as if I owe nobody my justification, but later on I feel bad for it, but by then it’s too late and I have to remember why I cut them off.” — Olive R.

14. Being “Clingy”

“I get super clingy to the point people get uncomfortable. I’ll literally sit there and tell you how much I adore you and weird you out about it lol.” — Michelle I.

15. “Checking Out” of Conversations

“Switching off from conversation because I’m experiencing dissociation. People assume I’m not interested/not listening when in fact I am just experiencing a dissociation period.” — Carissa W.

16. Nagging Others

“Well for me I get very nitpicky and naggy. On my worst days it’s always my way or the highway. I can’t see anything but my plan and the way I think things should go.” — Molly S.

17. Getting Defensive

“I get defensive over any perceived slight, and not just an offense to myself, but I’ll defend anyone against any slight if I’m not mindful of my emotional reactions.” — Andrew R.

18. Taking Out Feelings on Others

“Take my feelings out on everyone around me.” — Roxanne C.

If you’ve ever been called “impolite” because of something you do related to your BPD, you’re not alone.


Staff member
How rugby league hopes to persuade people to talk about mental health issues


By Matt Newsum (11 July 2019)

"We're known to be tough, we run at brick walls for a living, but we're human beings with emotions."

Huddersfield Giants prop Matty English puts it quite succinctly.

However physically resolute modern rugby league players are, they still face the same mental trials and tribulations as anyone else.

Super League is embracing a push for players, coaches, fans and anyone associated with the sport to consider their mental health with the advent of 'Wellbeing Round'.

The 'Tackle the Tough Stuff' campaign has seen those associated with the game share their stories, in the hope of persuading others to follow suit.

Matty English, Huddersfield Giants prop

Giants front-rower English was part of the club's academy side when team-mate Ronan Costello died after tragically slipping in a tackle against Salford in June 2016.

Costello, 17, was taken to hospital in an air ambulance but died days later following the accidental severe brain injury.

"It's a day I'd love to forget but I don't think I ever will," English told BBC Sport.

"We're known to be tough, we run at brick walls for a living, but we're human beings with emotions, and that's what I want to get across.

"You can show weakness. I was 18 years old at the time and I didn't handle it all.

"I took on everyone's grief instead of mine. I tried to be there for everyone else but never had the conversation with myself - 'you're not alright'. I wish I had so long ago.

"I thought 'why did the sport I loved since I was five or six years old take a friend from me?' It was the tough bits for me, I had so many unanswered questions I don't think I'll ever get the answers to."

After English finally broke down in front of his parents and poured out the bottled-up thoughts, his mum advised him to speak with Giants player welfare officer Steve Hardisty.

The pair shared a long chat over the phone, which then led to a meeting with a counsellor.

"I was sceptical for starters," he recalls. "I thought 'what can talking to a randomer do for me?', but I'm so glad I did.

"Within 10 minutes I felt so comfy in her company. We didn't talk about Ronan for a while and we just got to know each other and she just brought in little promoting questions.

"She didn't ask or question me, she allowed me that blank canvas to talk about it. Everything I'd always bottled up I could just say.

"I felt like with grief, in my case, when you talked to someone about it, they put their input in. Sometimes you just want to talk about you, and how you're feeling.

"Just to listen, to take in what I'm saying and tell me I'm not stupid for feeling like this. For such a young person to witness what I did it was tough.

"Ronan was a legend bloke, and he had a dig for the boys, and I always try to take a part of that, and live on in his legacy."

"There's no better place to rebuild than rock bottom"

Paul Highton, ex-Salford player and now club welfare officer and team manager

What do you do when something that is effectively all you have known for 18 years, is no longer part of your life? How do you cope?

For Wales international Paul Highton, it was like dropping off a cliff.

He quit the day-to-day banter of the dressing room, the training paddock and the post-match beer, for the solitary world as a sports development officer. Lots of solo working - the exact opposite of what he had known for so long.

"That's when the dark thoughts started creeping in," he said. "I'd got to the point where I was heavily medicating myself.

"I was abusing prescription drugs, using Tramadol as a coping strategy.

"It sort of slowed my life down and allowed me to think clearer. It allowed me to sleep as I was struggling with insomnia. It used to wake me up to stop my body aching, I used them to give me confidence to do my presentations and just be in a public area.

"It got to the point where Tramadol had taken over my life and it was all I could think about.

"It was the first thing on my mind when I woke up, the last when I went to bed. Worrying if I have them in my car, at my desk at work.

"I was taking up to 30 a day, a phenomenal amount," he continued. "It got to the point where my partner had got very close to finding out how out of control my life was getting."

For a while it was a coping strategy, and maybe Highton was coping. But it was starting to impact on life - work and relationships were affected.

He moved out to try to sort out his issues, find a 'safe haven', and planned to come back a changed man. However, that was not how it worked out. It instead led to his darkest hour.

"I woke up one Friday and thought 'this is it, I'm out of here tonight, I can't do this'," Highton said.

"Luckily for me it was a failed attempt (at suicide). I got drunk and fell asleep on the settee, and that was a huge sledgehammer to the side of the head.

"It was a wake-up call. There's no better place to start rebuilding your life than rock bottom, and there's where I was."

Highton credits being honest with himself with the turnaround in his life. He sought help from charity Sporting Chance, who promptly provided him the support of a counsellor.

"He didn't know who I was and what I was, but he understood what I was doing," Highton explained.

"He gave me thoughts and solutions to the behaviours I was expressing, and just that act of getting the deep dark secrets off my chest - I went to 12 weeks of counselling.

"The one which has taken the place of the Tramadol is meditation. I go to the Buddhist Centre twice a week, it chills me out and gives me peace and clarity. Meditation, exercise and just being honest and open about not feeling great.

"When feelings kick in, I do something constructive, not destructive. I'm not the finished article but I'm far better equipped to deal with it these days."

Brad Dwyer, Leeds Rhinos hooker

Dwyer plays at 100 miles per hour, skipping out of dummy-half and buzzing about like a clockwork mouse.

And, for a while, that was his style off the field too. He was the joker, the livewire, the life and soul of a dressing room packed with banter and patter.

"It was the personality I'd created myself having grown up with a birthmark, and having insecurity," Dwyer said.

"I went straight on the front foot, being involved in the rugby environment and around lads every day increased that every day and helped me cover it up."

It was not until Dwyer went through a break-up that he realised what impact his insecurities were having.

He sought the counsel of player welfare manager Nigel 'Fats' Johnston, who helped guide the 26-year-old towards feeling comfortable with the situation.

"I tried to get the birthmark removed, but it wasn't possible with playing rugby," he continued. "So when I came back after the break, I just wanted to come out and face it head on.

"I put some stuff out on social media at first. They helped me get this story out there.

"I knew then if I came into uncomfortable situations it wouldn't affect me as I had already accepted what I had going on."

The response of other people - be it team-mates or members of the public - who have been in touch with Dwyer has helped him not just feel comfortable. but actually brought him happiness.

"Until I hit rock bottom and trying to figure out why I was down in my own time, since I've opened up, it's been great," Dwyer said.

"It's great having a laugh, but when the lads turn round and say they have respect for what you have said, it really helps.

"I got involved in a charity and tried to help others. It's been great."

You can hear more from Matty English, Paul Highton and Brad Dwyer - plus stories from Hull FC's Josh Griffin and Warrington's Foundation Learning Disability Team - on the BBC Radio 5 Live Rugby League podcast.


If you are affected by any of the issues in this story, help and support is available at the BBC Action Line.



Staff member
How me is feeling today

By Pat Flynn (7/9/2019, 3:38pm)

It's been a while since I sat in this chair, typed up a blog and published it on this page. So here goes.

My name is Pat Flynn. Tomorrow I'm turning 36. And my life has never been busier. I work 9am-5pm at a law firm. I am the coordinator for Embrace Mental Health Meetups Wagga Wagga (started attending in January 2017, made coordinator August 2018). I do the social media and graphic design for Embrace and Potowa Buddhist Group. I also play indoor and outdoor soccer. Indoor for Embrace (we have two teams). Outdoor for South Wagga and Unity FC. I also practice Yoga and meditation. I also sell Lego and Transformers on eBay (and have done since 2011). In 2007 I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). In 2016 I was diagnosed with an an autoimmune disease called Lupus. Since 2007 I have been sober from drugs and alcohol.

MMG. A few months ago a new Mental Health group in town started called the Murrumbidgee Men's Group. As the name suggests it is a mental health support group just for men. It has been founded by Rhys Cummins and Jesse Warren-Rigby. It's a comprehension issue for me (just like with Darren Sweeney and Kate Wall of Walk n Talk Wagga Wagga, another blog for another day). Part of me just does not understand why they would start a mental health support group without attending or becoming a part of one that is already in existence. This is not my journey though, it is theirs and I wish them well. Just because I'm the coordinator of a local mental health support that does not give me the privilege for people like this to consult me. It is their life, their time and their energy and they have every right to do whatever makes them happy. It would be very nice if they acknowledged Embrace but they do not have too and that is OK. They do not see me as a peer, they see me as just another person. This is out of my control and I have to accept that. The media coverage has frustrated me a bit too. What is the difference between Murrumbidgee Men's Group and Embrace? What is the difference between Walk n Talk and Embrace? That is just my perception though.

Burlesque. Similar issue here. At some point last year I offered my services to be MC for Burlesque Wagga Wagga. This was declined. What can I do to help? Just promote our events on social media and leave us alone please. That was the extent of our communication. So tonight two of my friends are performing and with my tail between my legs I'm sitting in the crowd to support them. With my ego in check and knowing what my place is. Similar issue as above, the people in charge of Burlesque do not see me as a peer or a friend. They have a certain perception of who I am and that is OK.

Tinder. Hello rejection. A few months ago I'm having lunch with an ex and she mentions that she found someone on Tinder. A thought immediately pops into my head. Since then it's been a lot of rejection. Not very many matches. A lot of people not replying. And a lot of people contacting me from overseas.

Embrace The Rock 2: Inclusion. Speaking of not replying. This is the second year that I've organized this event and I've been overwhelmed by the numbers of people wanting to help out and volunteer their time to help out. I'm looking at the poster now and their are over thirteen different community groups and organizations that are coming together for the day (plus a couple of extras who have come one board after the posters were printed) to promote inclusion, peace, harmony, unity and tolerance in our community. Reducing the negative stigma towards mental health, but also bringing together different people and celebrating what unites us. We are all sentient beings deserving peace, love and understanding. Embrace is not about public relations or marketing. We are real people embracing the reality of life peacefully and respectfully together in unity. We are not raising money for charity or a foundation. We are raising awareness for Embrace, The Rock and all the different community groups involved.

So yeah that is me and how I'm feeling today. Between Embrace, me, my BPD and life in general. I'm grateful for the privileged life that I get to live. Every day is a blessing.

Thank you for reading.

Please let me know if you have any questions.



I have no doubt I am suffering from this, I thought I could fight it myself if I could shut out the emotions that make me feel the way I do but I am done hurting the people closest to me as a result of the way I am and that's the ultimate reason I am going to a doctor today to seek help.

I've been reading all of your posts Pat and you're an inspiration to me with everything you've said not only about yourself but also about the personality disorder.

Only one person around me knows about my mental sickness and the reason she knows is because of how badly I treated her and for the most part I had zero idea I was even doing it, that's the hardest thing to explain to someone. That I manipulated and hurt her and it was never ever my intention.

Keep up the good work mate.


Staff member
What kind of partner is best for someone with borderline personality disorder?


Answered by Sam Kerr 8/2/2020

I have been in a relationship with a partner that has BPD and from that experience continued to learn how to make that relationship work so both parties feel heard, understood, validated and valued. This is what I have learned and continue to learn:

Number 1: A partner who is aware of their partner’s BPD.
If they are not aware, they cannot understand fully and you and your partner will go around in circles. Both of your emotional supply will be depleted and it will only grow you further apart.

Number 2: Open communication and trust.
I find in this type of relationship dynamic, open communication is essential. An open forum built with a solid footing of trust between both parties is important so the person with BPD feels like they are not being judged for having feelings that are natural to them. This can also be said for the partner w/o BPD. They have feelings that are unnatural to the person with BPD as well. These differing emotions and feelings can easily be tossed aside by other party, creating distance and resentment. No emotion is too small to be communicated. This makes the space smaller and creates a strong secure space of trust between partners.

Number 3: Patience.
This is for both parties. I was guilty of taking everything personally that was directed toward me from my partner. I was too inside myself to understand the bigger picture. I would go on defense mode, feeling as though I was being attacked for having good intentions. Instead of being patient and actually hearing what my partner was saying, I would go on hardcore D-FENSE, protecting my pride and ego with every response. This is counterproductive and will only escalate the situation. Listen with love, but also set a boundary. If the argument begins to switch and sound harsh or on the lines of abusive, a boundary must be set. If the boundary is not set, it will only enable the partner with BPD and you won’t helping anyone. In fact, you will be damaging the progress you both are making.

An example of a boundary in this situation would be: Explaining to your partner with BPD that you need X minutes of space away to collect your thoughts and calm down. Ensure you are in the house or just going for a walk around the block. You don’t want to make them feel abandoned, but you also need to set a boundary that the behavior toward you is not ok and hurtful. Explain softly, but firmly that you want the conversation to continue, but only when you have a calm and rational state of mind. The partner with BPD has to accept this moment of space from the partner. The partner should let their partner with BPD know in a caring way, I need X amount of time to recharge, but I promise you we will continue our conversation because it is important for both of us to be on the same page.

This really is a collective effort for both the pwbpd and their partner.

Number 4: Validation.
When you see and feel your partner trying and putting in the work until their eyes grow tired and they have grown weak from being their heads 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, acknowledge the work they are doing. Acknowledge their accomplishments, big or small. This is really the same as any other healthy relationship. However, there are always boundaries on the amount of praise and validation. A pwbpd will require more validation. Provide that for them, but in a healthy way. Always ensure you communicate if your needs are not being met and look for ways together to ensure the support stays in balance. Always take care of yourself as well. If you are not healthy, your relationship will reflect that.

Those, in my experience, are the most essential. At the time, I did not know about the BPD. I made a lot of mistakes. Being educated and putting love first before any ignorant negative stigmas is what sets the stage for an amazing type of shared intimacy, trust and companionship that follows.

If you love this person with all of your heart and they love you with all of theirs, it is a choice you both make. You leave, or you do the work together and both stay. Yes, your partner has BPD; So what? If you see value in this person and feel the love and see a life to build together, you both communicate and decide on an action plan. When someone gets triggered, it is an equal effort to work together and communicate through those times. A partner can not enable or try and fix the problem for the person BPD (this was my mistake early on). However, it is their responsibility to stay aware and do what is best for that moment without enabling. Each situation will be different and could look like drawing a boundary, listening and hearing what they are saying, not being dismissive, remaining patient and understanding and non-judgmental. Pretty much what everyone wants and needs in a healthy relationship. In this type of relationship you just have to be more aware and patient.

This has been learned by me, because I want nothing more than to understand what my partner is going through. In learning about BPD, I also learned how much I needed to focus and strengthen my relationship skills and work to eliminate some past traits of codependency I had lingering. I wanted two things: to grow as an individual and educate myself and learn to be a better partner for the one I love the most.

Take care.
I have no doubt I am suffering from this, I thought I could fight it myself if I could shut out the emotions that make me feel the way I do but I am done hurting the people closest to me as a result of the way I am and that's the ultimate reason I am going to a doctor today to seek help.

I've been reading all of your posts Pat and you're an inspiration to me with everything you've said not only about yourself but also about the personality disorder.

Only one person around me knows about my mental sickness and the reason she knows is because of how badly I treated her and for the most part I had zero idea I was even doing it, that's the hardest thing to explain to someone. That I manipulated and hurt her and it was never ever my intention.

Keep up the good work mate.

Trust you’re on the right path and things are looking up for you. All the very best mate.

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