This is my very dear friend Amy, diagnosed with what used to be referred to as borderline personality disorder and now relabelled as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD). I’m not keen on either of these terms due to the feeling that something is wrong with your personality, but that’s another blog sometime…)
Amy had help from mental health services but was often let down and had to fight, especially further down the line. I helped her fight for help and supported her as the dear friend she was as much as I was able.
It was clear that generic services just weren’t geared up for helping her long term. It was so frustrating and sad. She did have a wonderful psychologist at one time who she was very fond of but she needed continuing care. I’m not even going to address A&E in detail here but services also lack in A&E treatment onwards.
The lack of specialised services frustrate the hell out of me as does other people’s attitudes towards people with this diagnosis. Many a time I’ve heard “they are a PD”. Actually these are people. People that most often have experienced the most horrendous types of trauma such as childhood sexual/emotional/physical abuse, neglect. How much expertise and time do you think this will take to even begin to heal this unimaginable stuff??? But they’re just a “PD”. Manipulative and attention seeking with poor coping skills. Best give up helping then. Rightio.
NICE guidelines (here) for borderline personality disorder state specialised services should be available – but that’s a postcode lottery so there is too much needless suffering because of this.
Amy longed to get better and tried so so hard. She was dedicated to supporting others and spreading awareness through social media and media (such as cosmopolitan).
One of her social media platforms was a popular YouTube channel here.
There’s so much insight into her battles and educational stuff there too. Included is a very poignant message encapsulating her struggle. It is called ‘fight for life‘ published in 2010. If you are at all interested in the daily struggles of someone with this diagnosis, I urge you to watch it:
I’ll always remember the moment she asked me to watch that with her and asked for feedback. We sat on her sofa and both cried and hugged. It was raw. The background music ‘To build a home’ was her favourite song.
She also used twitter (taken down) and a popular blog.
I feel the following excerpts written by Amy which she published on her blog above poignant and relevant to my whole post:
Entry 29/09/2011: “I have said for a long time now that this is probably going to kill me, now I no it is, whether it is by accident or by suicide, I no I am going to die from this”.
Entry 11/10/2011: “Today I had a meeting with the head of the home treatment team, the aim was to work out how to keep me safe etc, I was very nervous and felt like running away or hiding under my bed, but thankfully I had my lovely Dad with me and so the appointment commenced. I feel like I cried my way through, snot, tears the lot, but my Dad says I did well. The thing that broke my heart was something my Dad said.
“one day soon we are going to be standing in a coroners court with people having to give explanations as to what happened”
Hearing them words coming out of my Dads mouth absolutely tore me apart and I no it tore him apart saying it, but it is true. I AM going to kill myself either by accident or on purpose if things carry on the way they are, so I hope that from this meeting comes what I need, intensive help, I have been patient, I have tried all other options open to me so far, but I want to be able to get the help I need not just for me, but for my Dad. I want to make him proud of me, to not be scared every time the phone rings that it is the hospital again”.
Entry: 25/10/2011: “I ended up in A&E again this evening, but this time I was 100% honest about how I feel, my thoughts, how scared I am. She has given me a PRN for tonight and said I need to see my GP first thing tomorrow. Trouble is I no what she will say, that she can’t do much without the instruction of the Mental Health Team, but they just seem to be dragging their heals and to be honest I have lost faith in them, a few weeks ago my Dad said to the head of the Home Treatment Team that soon he is going to be in a coroners court explaining what went wrong, yet still 3 weeks later I have no care plan, no support. I am exhausted of fighting the losing battle. It is obvious I am on my own with this and so I have to end the cycle the only way I can.
I want out of this never ending down ward spiral”
Amy died on 18th January 2014 aged 29.
The coroner recorded death by misadventure.
Thing is I know she wasn’t doing as well as services report – see discrepancies in news reports below.
She had abstained from alcohol for years so the fact she began drinking was a massive warning sign. There was lots of talk about discharge to her GP which worried her terribly (we visited GP together, he agreed) but I can’t recall now whether she was under MH or GP when she passed away. It’s a haze.
- Excerpt: The inquest heard Miss Ratnett suffered from emotionally unstable personality disorder but had made good progress in the months before her death, according to mental health experts. In December she appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine talking about her battle. Full report here.
- Excerpt: Trowbridge woman who said she had won her battle with self-poisoning, tragically died weeks later when she went out binge drinking in a bid “to act normal,” a coroner heard today. Full report here.
- Excerpt: “Amy drunk for a long time and then she stopped drinking because she knew mixing it with her medication wasn’t doing her any good. But the last eight months she started drinking again.” Full report here.
My final conclusion:
Amy was let down. She needed more support, continuity and trust in the system. In my opinion (and hers) she didn’t get it. FUNDING AND THE SYSTEM WAS A MASSIVE ISSUE.
Please let there be specialised teams and training to all that work with this ‘disorder’. Specialised teams could go out and educate wider teams and A&E staff.
People with this diagnosis are a very large population in services and deserve proper help and support.