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Sarah Eley

Until my late teens, because I felt that I was ‘bad at art’, I decided that I hated it. However, when I started AS Level photography and began art therapy, I found I could use art for emotional expression.

As well as BPD, I have a diagnosis of anorexia. For me, anorexia is really an element of BPD - a coping mechanism (albeit a destructive one) to manage the intense, unbearable emotions and difficulties that come as a result of BPD. I find creativity vital to maintain reasonable health – whether as an outlet for emotions, a distraction technique, or for relaxation and fun. This is a much healthier coping mechanism!

I love all kinds of art/crafts and tend to go through phases of getting obsessed with one medium - printing, stamping, clay, paper modelling, decopatch, scrap-booking, felting, jewellery making…the list goes on! Jack of all trades, master of none! Having said that, the two mediums that have remained constantly throughout all my ‘phases’ are collage and photography.

I find that selecting words and images for collage and ordering them onto paper really helps me to work out how I am feeling – which helps me to then communicate to my therapist how I’m doing.

I love photography and I am also an avid Lego fan. I like to combine the two! So I regularly take photos of my Lego figures on little adventures – whether just as part of daily life, or on trips away. It’s a form of escapism and playfulness. Sometimes my photos have a deeper meaning, though often they are purely a bit of fun.

I’ve found that my artwork can also help people to gain insight into BPD. This helps them to better understand me, and also to understand others with the diagnosis. BPD is so misunderstood and stigmatised and I’m passionate about helping to change that, which is why I want to share my work.

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