Taking mental health one hour at a time

In Guest Blog by Fiona

My name is Emily Holmes, I am 27 and from Sheffield. I have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

Here Emily shares the mechanisms she uses to cope with anxiety and depression.

“I work in Children’s Services and study Education, Culture and Childhood at the University of Sheffield. If you had told me back in school (which is when my mental health was initially at its worst) that I would end up doing a degree, I would have laughed you out of the door, it may have taken me a little longer to get here, but that’s ok. Everybody’s story is different.”

That said, the mix of both of the disorders can be extremely difficult at times, as the depression and anxiety seem to work against each other. I have found some coping mechanisms that help:


This enables me to clear my head whilst identifying tasks I am worried about. If I can get the energy together to do one or two off my list, I can cross them off and know I have a prepared list ready for next time.


This is a major one with people struggling with BPD. I have changed therapists before because I knew something wasn’t right, now I see someone who I completely trust with the difficult stuff. Sometimes it’s trusting your own instinct, because at the end of the day no one knows you better than you know yourself.

Distraction techniques

They don’t have to look the same for everyone. Where some people paint, I write or do maths puzzles, the most important thing is finding something you enjoy.


I love to run. It helps to slow my mind down and get out any frustration or anxiety. On the days I don’t have the energy to go, I don’t beat myself up about it, I allow myself that time to recharge.

Staying Alive

On the days I struggle in staying safe/alive I work on an hour by hour rule. I ask myself to wait. I go to a series on the TV I find extremely easy to have on; wrap myself in a quilt and ride it out. I might feel guilty for not being productive, but a therapist once said to me that me keeping myself alive is the most productive thing I could ever do, and I’m inclined to agree.

Connect with Emily on Twitter

“My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness”

“My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness”