Helping others when you have BPD

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Anonymous #1
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Report Thread starter 2 weeks ago
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Hi,

I was recently diagnosed with borderline personality disorder but have been struggling with it for two years. I am going into my third year of studying psychology (at a Scottish uni which is 4 years long) and I am hoping to have a role in mental health in the future, as I am not interested in anything else and I believe my lived experience could be an advantage. I am considering doing a masters in social work, or trying to become a psychologist. I don’t have any experience working with people in a face to face role, so I will be looking to volunteer or undertake work alongside my studies to gain this experience. However, I have had long-term deficits in interacting with people because of my mental health. I have yet to start DBT therapy for my problems but this is scheduled for the end of the year. I am unsure whether to volunteer with people now, since I am struggling with my own mental health these days, or wait until after my degree. I don’t know if I can help others in the best way possible with this illness? I am worried I would find it too stressful or not do a good job. I personally think that helping others with mental health problems might help me, but last year I was a peer mentor at university with a younger student and I found that role was too stressful (however, this has nothing to do with mental health and I wasn’t diagnosed or getting any support then.) I am worried this disorder and my problems will hinder chances of a career. Advice would be appreciated.
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Personally I would wait until you have completed your DBT and uni before considering working face to face with what may vulnerable people
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bones-mccoy
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Keep in mind that an organisation may want to check that you yourself are mentally well enough to work with vulnerable people. They can't use a mental disorder to discriminate against you in any way but they may have reservations.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by bones-mccoy)
Keep in mind that an organisation may want to check that you yourself are mentally well enough to work with vulnerable people. They can't use a mental disorder to discriminate against you in any way but they may have reservations.
I’m not sure how a mental illness based on trauma would be a hindrance? I have never hurt anybody, or myself seriously before. The only thing keeping me going in life is the thought I can help others from my experiences. I was asking on the basis of I don’t know if it is good for my mental health to help others, rather than if it is possible. I am high functioning despite the illness, and I have a quiet form of the disorder (meaning no one would suspect there is something wrong.)
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Pathway
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I’m not sure how a mental illness based on trauma would be a hindrance? I have never hurt anybody, or myself seriously before. The only thing keeping me going in life is the thought I can help others from my experiences. I was asking on the basis of I don’t know if it is good for my mental health to help others, rather than if it is possible. I am high functioning despite the illness, and I have a quiet form of the disorder (meaning no one would suspect there is something wrong.)
They would want to know you were safe to be in a demanding role, not that they would worry necessarily that you'd cause harm to someone else. This goes for anyone in this role tbh. It doesn't really matter about your past in that respect it's how things are now and how you cope now in high stress that matters when dealing with vulnerable people.

I hope this makes sense.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Pathway)
They would want to know you were safe to be in a demanding role, not that they would worry necessarily that you'd cause harm to someone else. This goes for anyone in this role tbh. It doesn't really matter about your past in that respect it's how things are now and how you cope now in high stress that matters when dealing with vulnerable people.

I hope this makes sense.
I understand. From that point of view, I believe it might be too stressful right now. I can focus on my degree. I really hope that one day I can help others - before I got ill it was a goal of mine.. I hope this pain wasn’t all for nothing.
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Pathway
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I understand. From that point of view, I believe it might be too stressful right now. I can focus on my degree. I really hope that one day I can help others - before I got ill it was a goal of mine.. I hope this pain wasn’t all for nothing.
For what it's worth, I can understand. I have CPTSD and I want to use what I've learnt to help others too. But I have to focus on myself first. That's OK. Doesn't mean that it'll always be like this necessarily. Just right now, this is more important and my future plans can wait. I have to focus on the present. If you want to chat at all, you're welcome to drop me a message. I hope you are OK. You'll get to where you want to be eventually, keep at it and be kind to yourself. You're doing really well. :console:
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bones-mccoy
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I’m not sure how a mental illness based on trauma would be a hindrance? I have never hurt anybody, or myself seriously before. The only thing keeping me going in life is the thought I can help others from my experiences. I was asking on the basis of I don’t know if it is good for my mental health to help others, rather than if it is possible. I am high functioning despite the illness, and I have a quiet form of the disorder (meaning no one would suspect there is something wrong.)
The person who replied explained it well. It's not necessarily about hurting other people, it's your own health and wellbeing they have to look out for too. Having contact with people who themselves have experienced trauma may be upsetting and triggering for you and could affect your ability to stay objective in the role.
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