MENTAL HEALTH: 'How I live with a personality disorder'
GETTING the right mental health diagnosis was a turning point for Heidi Boundy, but managing multiple conditions is a constant learning process.
Earlier this year, Ms Boundy was formally diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder and chronic suicidal ideation.
She said understanding her conditions was providing "a lot of answers" to things she had battled with throughout her life.
According to the Australia Borderline Personality Disorder Foundation, some symptoms of emotionally unstable personality disorder include a "tendency to act impulsively" and an "unpredictable and capricious mood".
For Ms Boundy, the illness is managed through medication and keeping a regular routine in her daily life.
"I still have a long way to go in understanding everything since my diagnosis and it is something that is different for everyone so there is no one answer with what works," she said.
"I think being a mum has really actually helped because my routine fits around my kids' routine; that gives me the structure I need."
For most of her life, Ms Boundyself-managed her mental health conditions without professional help, and on the outside everything seemed normal.
But earlier this year it all came crashing down, and her health deteriorated to the point where it was difficult to function.
She spent time in hospital in acute mental health care.
"What I went through at the start of the year, there was no functioning. My capabilities didn't exist any more," she said.
"As a mum I know how much I mean to my kids, but to be a mum to them I have to live and cope with all these degrees with pain. It's inhuman, but you do it."
At 40, Ms Boundy said getting an accurate diagnosis had been "freeing".
"Before that I always thought it was just me," she said.
"There was no label for it, I didn't know what it was."
She said labels could be troublesome, but were often necessary for accessing services.
"When applying for things like NDIS and professionals, a diagnosis is needed and without a label they can't help," she said.
"You have to be able to go and say this is what is wrong with me I need this help."
Warwick psychologist Mark Cary said identifying an illness was a crucial step in treatment, but in complex cases this could require an extended assessment from a doctor or psychologist.
"It means you know what you're dealing with and you can give the appropriate care for that condition," Mr Cary said.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by this story, you can get immediate help 24/7 - phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.