“Recovery is a long winding road” – John’s story


After a suicide attempt, John was diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) and psychosis. Although his journey was difficult at times, John has found meaning and happiness through goal setting, learning new coping strategies and sharing his experiences with others.

In 2006, I was assessed by a mental health professional because I was in an extremely dark place where I tried to end my life. There were voices in my head that were very strong and overwhelming. I had a doctor’s appointment where I was told I had borderline schizophrenia.

A week later, I was arrested for threatening to kill my Mum. When I got arrested, the police asked me if I had any mental health issues, so I told them about my diagnosis of schizophrenia the week before. They then came back half an hour later and accused me of lying about my recent diagnosis. I told them to ring my Mum and partner, who would both tell them that I was in fact telling the truth. The policeman did exactly that and came back to inform me that this had happened.

  • I made a little safety booklet for when I’m next in a low place.

I was in and out of services until 2018, when I had a psychotic breakdown. After this, I was reassessed. They told me that my new diagnosis was emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) with psychotic episodes and compulsive components. After the assessment, I was put in touch with the Recovery College. At first, I wasn’t keen on the idea at all but I persevered and well… I actually learnt a lot!

I did a couple of courses at the Recovery College. After attending the ‘wellness planning’ course, I soon learnt that recovery isn’t going to happen overnight. Recovery is a long winding road, not a straight road like I had thought or wished.

I did another course called ‘safety planning’ which was quite a hard one because we were talking about times in crisis. I made a little safety booklet for when I’m next in a low place. In ‘goals setting’, I learnt that the best thing was to set small, more achievable goals.

  • It’s not going to beat me, I’m going to beat it!

This experience led me onto starting a blog, where I write and talk about mental health and my personal journey. I’ve found this to be very empowering and helpful with my own recovery. I’ve also come up with a little saying that I like to repeat to myself: ‘it’s not going to beat me, I’m going to beat it!’

I then found out about a therapy called Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). This type of therapy has proven to be very beneficial for people who have a personality disorder diagnosis. I’ve been chasing DBT down for 2 years now, and I can finally say that I’ve gained a spot with Norfolk and Waveney Mind to start it. So, it’s time for me to learn more tools and become an even better me. This is just the next chapter in my mental health journey.