I was diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses that are quite debilitating and impacting my life daily. Despite this, I try to go about my life as normally as I can. Sometimes though I will have an episode in public. BPD is the diagnosis that causes me the most trouble as it includes a bit of everything!
But most critically, it puts me in huge danger, for I tend to dissociate which leads to me being a huge risk to myself, if I am in a dissociated state I no longer have control over my own actions therefore, couldn’t think rationally about the consequences of my actions.
In the past I have had episodes in public its very distressing because no one really knows what’s going on, when the police have responded to keep me safe they couldn’t understand why I couldn’t tell them what was going on and they didn’t know how to help me, members of the public thought that I was just being non-compliant and breaking the law when in reality I hadn’t broken any laws and just didn’t know what was happening. When I get in these states, I cannot verbalise what is going on, I decided something needed to change.
After discussing my condition with my mental health care team, we made an action plan so off to Etsy I went! I came across multiple cards but most of them were very unhelpful; the cards didn’t explain what could be happening, weren’t specific enough, were very overpriced, etc. But then I came across CureUp’s page, and I knew that was the product to help me, so I purchased my Borderline Personality Disorder assistance card and it came very promptly.
I knew I needed it to be more obvious than having it in a purse or pocket. In England where I live we have the sunflower scheme, this scheme is to help make invisible disabilities visible so I ordered a sunflower lanyard and attached my card to it. I wear my lanyard when I go to school, when I go out on my own, or when I go out with friends or my family, etc.
My card has already been extremely helpful. I was at school at one point and I left my lesson as I felt a dissociative episode coming. A teacher walked past me and read my lanyard and straight away knew how to help. She sat me in her office and radioed a teacher who she knows I talk to about my mental health regularly and he came and helped me by talking with me and giving me my psychiatric medication, she also made me a cup of tea and offered me food, if I hadn’t had the card there was no way I could have told her what was happening I wouldn’t have been able to.
Another experience I had was I was in my local town centre on my own, and I started to have an episode. A police officer came across me and recognised my lanyard, so she read my card and she knew how to help instead of getting frustrated at me. She was able to understand what was happening and was able to help me. She later told me that if I hadn’t had my card she wouldn’t have known how to help or what was wrong. It was extremely helpful for her and for me and she will be recommending them to other people she responds to in crisis.
My therapist also is really happy with the card, she said to me that out of all the ones she’s seen that this is the most descriptive and the best one as it lists symptoms as well.
For me having the card makes me feel safe and a bit more confident to leave the house, because if something happens people will know why. It’s reassuring to have even if I don’t end up needing it on that particular day. I feel safe knowing it helps to keep me safe and help others to help me. It has definitely helped to keep stress, aggro, and tension down when I am in need of assistance, I would 100% recommend any of their cards, I hope reading my experience has been helpful.
Yours faithfully, Charlie.