Paula Roberts

My name is Paula Roberts; I have Borderline Personality Disorder and am a runner.

With me having BPD for a very large part of my life, I have gone through USED (unspecified eating disorders), self-harm, severe depression and manic episodes and suicidal tendencies.There are no drugs that can cure my mental health, just manage.

I started running after a few months of the birth of my youngest daughter, now 2 ½. Because of my disability I had a very troubled time. I started running with the recommendation of my support worker (also a runner) and my dad (Paul Roberts), and the agreement of my doctors.

It took a few weeks for me to get myself to go to a club, leaving the house was a very big thing for me. I was going to a place I had never been to before to do a thing I had not done since at school with a big group of people I had never met before. This ticked all of my boxes for panic and anxiety attacks, and this is all before I had even thought, I have to run as well.

Well I couldn’t even run for 5 minutes. I was unfit, bigger then I am today and this didn't fit well with my body dysmorphic. Another thing that I had to overcome. Despite all the arguing to myself in my head, I stuck with it. I eventually ran my first parkrun in 42:33. I didn't even manage to run the first lap. Despite my head fighting against me all the time, saying horrible things to myself, I still carried on. You see running releases endorphins; these interact with your brain receptors that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in your body, similar to that of many drugs used to treat Mental Health disorders. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors.

Paula Roberts with father, Paul

So running was in fact helping with my mental health. But it wasn't just the actual running that was helping, the people involved where helping more so. The members of Darlington running community have help me so much, more than I could ever think and am very great full to every single of them. My favourite moment still to this day is cross country last year. Mark Tallon and Lesley Miller I have the greatest thanks for. The support and encouragement from them both is just something I can't describe.

There have been times when I have just wanted to stop running and go back to how it was before, but due to injury I have been out for 3 months and in that short time I have missed running so much and I think my brain has to as I have just been put back on my meds after been of them for a year.That’s the difference running has done to my life, I had come of my meds for the first time in years and am talking like maybe 7/8 yrs. Yes unfortunately I am back on my medication, as I said before, my disorder can't be cured, but as I get back to running am sure that I will be of the in no time, because running has saved me once before it can do it again.

Paula finishing the redcar Half Marathon

Although I haven’t been at the club long, I have been made welcome by all and it’s this that make running so much more fun and easier for me thus in time helping me with my mental health, so thank you Paul (Cook), Mark (Tallon), Lesley (Miller), Steph (Kingdom), Anneli (Mackenzie-Brown), Tai (Charlton), Darren (Stockdale), David (Aiken) and all the rest of the Harriers I havecome into contact with.

You have no idea what you have done for me!