Heres the 4th installment of ‘The Warrior Project’, a series of portraits from women and girls who suffer from mental or physical illness or disability. This is Martina. I’ve known Martina since she was 13 years old and have travelled with her and her family throughout her journey to a diagnosis and management of Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder. She is, without a doubt, one of the most loving, thoughtful and beautiful souls I have ever met and, although its been a long and desperately hard journey, I am so incredibly proud of the woman she has become.
But here is Martinas story, in her own words:
“Hi, my name is Martina Jane Moore. I am 26 years old & born in Burnley. I live with my dogs, Earl Grey and Myrtle Moore. My hobbies are - Bingo, car booting, playing Minecraft & walking Earl & Myrtle.
My journey began shortly before my 21st Birthday when I was living with my Grandma. I unfortunately damaged my back which led me to require crutches & wheelchair use for several months- which obviously meant my usual lifestyle, i.e. working & socialising, changed drastically. I began hiding medications as I could not come to terms with the change & everything became just too much, which eventually led to my very first overdose which, thankfully and against the odds, I survived.
A few days from overcoming my first overdose, I attempted again to commit suicide- this time around, I ended up in ICU due to the potion of medication I had in taken. This caused uncontrollable fitting. Once I was “medically fit” the mental health team came to talk to me about a place in a mental health ward, in Burnley.
I accepted and spent 8 days in here which resulted in celebrating my 21st Birthday in here.. they say you’ll never forget your 21st & they weren’t kidding!
Shortly after, I was discharged. When staff sent me home confused & upset at the fact I wasn’t sure how to deal or understand what was wrong with me, they insisted I handed over any excess medication before leaving. Of course, when I returned I asked them to wait down stairs whilst I retrieved the medication. I never got to hand it over as I decided to use it to, yet again, overdose whilst they waited downstairs.
The third overdose landed me a 6 week stretch on Burnley’s mental health ward. From this 6 weeks I were given my mental health care co-ordinator. After 6 weeks in here, I was discharged, homeless and sent to the local hostel until appropriate accommodation was found for me. 10 days here were enough for me before I took another overdose where my care staff found me on the floor & again, I was admitted - this time to the Blackburn unit for roughly 6 months due to my mental health deteriorating rapidly along with my health.
During this entire time, I had limited memory but can remember Donna along with my mum coming to keep me company on many occasions. During the end of my time at Blackburn, they decided they were unable to keep me safe which resulted in me being transferred to Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit numerous times, both in Chorley & Burnley.
I was eventually diagnosed with Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder (also known as Borderline Personality Disorder) or EUPD/BPD, which is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by unstable relationships with other people, unstable sense of self, and unstable emotions. It is a serious mental illness. It can not only cause a great deal of suffering, but it also carries a high risk of suicide. Anyone diagnosed with BPD needs specifically targeted treatment, I manage it with a combination of medication and therapy.
My mental health illness is an ongoing battle that I am challenging daily.
On a day to day basis I am battling demons which affect my moods, simples task & socialising.
On a good day I am the old bubbly, Martina, Who loves to be with friends & my sister, Brooklyn. I can complete tasks around the house & take care of my hygiene. Walking to Tescos is a breeze. On a bad day, I am VERY short tempered. My moods fluctuate within minutes where they can drop so low, I don’t want to be here anymore then in a split second, I am overly happy again. I know- super confusing.
My biggest struggle daily is merely getting out of bed. Getting up & showering is a toughie too. I feel physically and mentally tired all the time- this is both on a good day & a bad day.
When it comes “simple tasks” my anxiety rockets. Walking around Tescos, easy right? I think not. The sound of busy bodies, chattering & background noise can become over bearing and honestly, I wish I could just curl up on the spot & hide.
I keep my self going by taking it day by day as things can get overwhelming if I plan too much. I look after my two dogs Myrtle and Earl. I feed them, walk them and play with them. I also I play on my Xbox on Minecraft-that’s the thing I like to do the most. It keeps me occupied when I am struggling with thoughts of self-harm or just having a shitty day. The people I have met online are ace people from all around the world, it’s amazing learning and finding out about everybody. When playing Minecraft I can forget about the struggles I face for a little bit and be someone with a little more confidence. Sometimes I read and watch YouTube too. But when things get bad, I use the tools that have been given to me like calling my family & friends, or using my care cordinator if I need to talk about what I am feeling. At the beginning I thought everyone was against me and I pushed loads of people away because I thought they did not understand, but I have to let people in to help myself or I am not going to feel better.
If you are facing a diagnosis of EUPD/BPD, try not to worry. Having EUPD dose not define who you are as a person . All the intense emotions that you feel day to day will pass no matter how bad you feel . There can be a lot of stigma around the diagnosis that people will tell you that we are attention-seeking, manipulative, It’s not a proper mental health problem, You don’t need help, etc etc. You know what we don’t attention-seek, the emotions are so strong and hard for us to deal with we do impuslsive things to try and help with them. Don’t be afraid ask for help, regardless of what you might think other people might say. I will tell you we are strong people-stronger than most, even when we feel weak! There will be bad days but they will eventually be more good-treasure those good days. On the bad days ask for help! Don’t be afraid! Yes said "ask for help" a lot in here but remember; you can never ask too much.
The photoshoot with Donna made me feel happy-from that day on I felt like I could do anything. I love my portraits it’s given me loads of confidence. I did not think I look good or beautiful because of my size being a bigger lady. But these pics say different- I am a big, beautiful, confident strong person. Thats what I see in the pictures. I just love seeing Donna she makes me feel at home, she gave me confidence in myself during the shoot even when giving me instructions. I love how she works, she make you feel right as ease. I love Donna with all my heart thank you for letting me be a part of something special.
I would like to say thank you to all my friends and family for helping me through the tough times, whether you are here or the other side of the world I know you will all keep on helping me, thank you.
Thank you so much Martina for sharing your story <3