My name is Stephanie Allen and I am the creator of Let It Out. I am a 27 year old queer woman and a lecturer in cybersecurity at Belfast Met in Northern Ireland. I created Let It Out in the hope of helping raise awareness of mental illness and provide a location where people can come to find information on how to help themselves or find out how to get help for mental health problems.
I have suffered from a mental health disorder called borderline personality disorder since I was a child but did not tell anyone or seek any help until I was in my 20s. My illness is also called emotional sensitivity disorder and the symptoms can vary from person to person. For me, my emotions can be incredibly intense and cause extreme emotional distress which has resulted in symptoms such as suicidal thoughts and self harm. There is no cure for my illness but with therapy you can gain the skills to help you cope with it.
When I was 20 I told my family that I was suffering and began the long journey to recovery. After a 2 year wait I have now finished a year in dialectic behavioural therapy with the NHS. This borderline personality disorder therapy teaches you how to deal with intense emotions and to accept the things that we cannot change but cause us distress. It is a mindfulness based therapy and has helped me to cope with my symptoms and have a life worth living!
My mental illness stopped me from doing so many things and DBT has given me the tools to take back control of my life. Whenever my emotions are very heightened I use several techniques to calm myself down such as:
I go through periods were I feel very low and suicidal. I have now learned how to cope with these periods by accepting my thoughts and being kind to myself.
For many years I have wanted to start exercising but social anxiety and low self esteem stopped me from going. The skills I gained at DBT have given me the confidence to get involved in the circus community and start doing aerial silks. This has become one of my favourite coping techniques as exercise is known to have a positive effect on mental health.