“You should be locked up and the key thrown away”

Trigger Warning

Two weeks ago, I was confronted by a fellow Aussie. He told me “That I am crazy and, should be locked up with the key thrown away”. Initially, when I read the comments it felt like my soul had just been trampled on. And I started to question myself.


Moments later I felt a deep sadness overcome me. I was saddened not by the comments but the past experiences this person’s comment evoked in. I began to think, this person must have experienced something horrible to hold such beliefs. Perhaps he too had grown up in an environment where mental illness was “selfish” and suicide was the most ungrateful thing you could do to your family. I was transported back to when I was 16 and told someone I was going to end my life, only to be told that “you are so selfish and never think of others”. 

The words still haunt me. Words that still prevent me from reaching for help. This lead to me splitting off believing that mental illness was “put on” for “attention” and death by suicide was wrong. It made me realise that maybe the people that held such stigmatising beliefs are perhaps hurt individuals that do not have a developed awareness into the trauma they have experienced. 

I certainly didn’t. I shut it out. Pushed it down… Until one day Pandora’s box exploded hell and all fury. 
I do understand that there are people in this world that are hateful. But I’d like to think that just like me, perspectives and people can change. Transformations can take place. I would have never pictured myself writing about living with borderline personality disorder. A condition I’m afraid to say I negatively held stigmatising views about.

So what are my take away from this post:


  • Regardless of your cultural background please examine your beliefs. Ask yourself, does someone have the right to choose to live with a disability, then why not end their life? 
  • If you can reflect on your own health and wellbeing and the power of occupation in your own life you will make an amazing clinician. Without this inspection, you will struggle to flourish. To see opportunities for growth and development. 
  • Why are we so easy to go to the doctors for a head cold, but not for our actual brain inside our head?
  • If your friend had a mental health condition would you be there for your friend? Would you encourage them to seek support? Therefore, if the roles were reversed would you seek help for yourself?
  • If you are about to receive your placement allocations. Or when you do… Why are you afraid to go to a mental health setting? I was. I was terrified. But Is this fear a misinformed belief or formed on factual evidence that people with mental health will hurt you? Remember 1 in 3 people will experience some form of mental health challenge in their life
  • Clinicians:
    • Despite our clinical knowledge and our academic performance, we cannot quickly change a diagnosis name, take control or set goals for our clients. You do not and should not hold the power to the treatment they receive.
      For example, recently someone told me that their friend is doing a lot to advocate for the BPD diagnosis name to be changed. This person is a clinician. I can’t say I like hearing this. We get so fixated on what we label others that maybe some of us have worked so hard to accept our mental health. Change of the BPD name is not going to change the stigma I experience when I present to ED with self-harm wounds.
      Just because you are the clinician in the room doesn’t make you the expert into the condition a person lives with 24/7. And it certainly doesn’t give you a right to complain about how hard it is to work with a particular population.

    For the community and parents

    • Your trauma, unless carefully unravelled by a trained psychologist can unravel and suffocate yourself and others. 
    • It is the things that we resist, put off and ignore that manifest and effect our lives or the lives of others without noticing.
    • We must love ourselves before we can love others. 
    • Mental health is just like physical health. We all have organs, and sometimes those organs just don’t function as they should.
    • We all have our battles. The sooner we identify these, and work together in supporting each other a true definition of community and connection will be formed.

    #thejail #yourlimits #judgement #projectiveidentification #hate #love#mentalhealth #community #stigma #endstigma #shame #noshame#howfarhavewecome #seek #support #suicide #selfharm


    Published by Beyond Personality Disorders

    Founder of My Potential Mental health Advocate; Occupational Therapy Teacher and Researcher Australia “As an occupational therapist diagnosed with BPD I will use this page to share about the various interventions and strategies that are helpful to those with BPD. I will also share about the positive and sometimes challenging approaches that health professionals have used in my treatment in emergency, inpatient, outpatient and community settings. I hope that by sharing my lived experience I can help improve the experience of those struggling to understand Borderline Personality Disorders (BPD) and also support those living with BPD and other mental health challenges Most importantly we will share how occupation can powerfully help change lives!" Laura

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