Haven for the living Princess and the Pea



A founder of hsphaven, Zoe hopes to create a space for HSP writers to come together and share their diverse passions and expertise through writing. This has been an important outlet for Zoe over the years; she fondly recalls writing stories as a child at recess and lunchtime and sharing them with her classmates. Some of Zoe’s areas of interest include mental health, healing and self-development. She has a background in psychology/social science. In her spare time Zoe enjoys being in Nature, op shopping, vegan food, music, and art and craft.

The cycle of life

Today I bought a rocking dragon for my best friend’s new baby (whom I am the godmother of). I found it second hand on Facebook Marketplace. I went to the lady’s house to pick it up. I met her two daughters who were about three or four now and too big for the rocking dragon. Their father was in the yard constructing a trampoline for them now. As I walked away with the rocking dragon one of the girls said “bye bye rocking dragon”. A great deal of sadness struck me like lighting. I know what it’s like to say goodbye to something you’ve loved, even when it’s no good for you anymore. Continue reading “The cycle of life”

Update and self-care

I’ve been meaning to write a post about healing the loss of your favourite person, but I am so sick right now. I’m trying to fix a completely upside down sleep pattern where I’m awake all night then sleep all day until 6pm. If it was winter time here, I would literally be living in the dark. I am also very sick physically. I’m not sure why. It’s not covid. I can only put it down to my emotional state and how dysregulated I’ve become. I managed to sleep last night but woke up this afternoon nauseous and with a bad headache. I went back to bed this evening and felt dreadful. It felt like hormones were running riot in my body. I couldn’t work out if it was anxiety or a physical illness. I then started thinking about Jordan, my case worker who I’ve been writing about endlessly. He will be back on Wednesday. I have an appointment with him and I’ve been dreading it. He has been away for a few weeks and it’s actually been good to get some space from him. The fight to keep me on their books has been on pause because of the holidays. As I thought about him and the impending loss I felt really distressed again. I lay there wishing I would die. I even cried a bit, which I don’t usually do. It’s all so horrible, he is like the best and the worst thing to happen to me! I dream about him and I wish we were friends or partners. But I may not even be able to see him as a professional soon. Continue reading “Update and self-care”


“You,” he said, “are a terribly real thing in a terribly false world, and that, I believe, is why you are in so much pain.” Emile Autumn

An unsent letter to my mental health worker…

I can’t just treat you and other mental health workers as items on a supermarket shelf, even though you get my money. Maybe that’s all I am to you. Maybe you are just a machine in our capitalist system and I’m just a cog, another client to churn through your service and then forget about. Maybe you can flick a switch and stop caring. Maybe your “care” was only manufactured in the first place. But I cannot just switch off my feelings. You will always be more than a service to me. You’re funny, intelligent, kind. You have seen me through so much. I love you. You are a snowflake, like all human beings are; I will never find someone exactly like you again. I can’t just find another mental health worker. I can’t just transfer my attachment. You may be a machine, but I am not.

My family and early years

I curl up in bed while my mum makes chai. Tears silently build up as I think about my case worker discharging me in the new year. My mum comes in and tells me the chai’s on the table. Often I wish she could sense what I need better and bring the chai to me. I am sick and sad and all I want to do is stay curled up in bed. I like being sick physically because then my mum will let me stay in bed. But when it comes to emotional stuff, I get little empathy or slack. She just complains that I shouldn’t be in bed at 4:30 in the afternoon. Continue reading “My family and early years”

Dear Medical Model

Dear medical model,

At first I felt understood by you. You gave me words for who I am. You told me I am not bad, I am sick. You told me you can fix me like you fix a broken arm.

Now, you abandon me. You tell me you won’t walk the journey with me. You tell me I am “well” and our time together ends here. You tell me you feel useless when you are not experimenting on people with pills. You can’t see how important relationships are, how talking with my case worker and knowing he is there for me through both the good and bad is actually what heals. You are smug and paternalistic. You tell me you know what’s best for me. I question whether you really knew me at all.

Sometimes I find comfort in taking my medication, for it is something you taught me. It is a connection to you and your people who saw me through so much, like the way the sun’s warmth still lingers on the land after it has gone down. It is a way of keeping you inside of me. Other times, I lower the dose of the medication you insist I need and I take amphetamines because I know you don’t want me taking those. You thought they made me manic and psychotic. Well fuck you. I will do what I like now.

I keep your appointment cards. One day when you are gone I will come across them and want to cry as they remind me of you. I will hang onto them like a child and her blanket. Or maybe I will burn them, and try to forget we ever met. There is something seriously perverted when the people who are meant to look after you end up damaging you the most.

Losing a “favourite person”

“Favourite person” is a term which is used in the BPD community to describe an intense bond we can form with a person. They make or break our day. They are the centre of our universe. We are addicted to them. Losing a “favourite person” is one of the worst things I have ever been through. As Polly Scattergood sings in “Remove All Traces”, it is like a candlestick. At first it burns so brightly, then it melts away so quick. In the darkness no one holds your hand no more, and suddenly you’re more alone than you were beforehand. Continue reading “Losing a “favourite person””


I thought I’d be safe when I first met you. You were a guy, unlike all the other mental health workers I’d had. How wrong was I. You held a knife behind your back, and now the same person who built me up is tearing me down, stabbing me and just watching me bleed. I didn’t think it’s possible to break somebody who’s already broken. But you stamp your foot over the shards of glass that lie before you. Shards of me, maybe even shards of your office window I imagine breaking. You rub them into the floor, break them into more and more pieces… crumbs, like the love you strung me along with. You and your clinic were a death sentence. I wish I’d never stepped foot in the door now.

I don’t know when I got attached exactly. Sometimes it hits you straight away like a train. Other times it’s insidious like a cancer growing slowly inside of us, and by the time we discover it, it’s too late. You were a constant in my life for years. I saw you every fortnight and you sat with me in every appointment with the doctors. You became a part of me, like my shadow. You were the highlight of my fortnight. The centre of my universe. The reason I got dressed. A safe haven. Now this safe haven’s walls are collapsing, and I am left alone in the warzone my life is, smoke and destruction all around me. I cry like a child, reach for you, look for you everywhere, but you have vanished in the dust. You leave me here to die. I wonder if you ever really existed or you were an imaginary friend I conjured up in my head to feel less alone.

BPD stigma

lived experience

There is so much stigma around BPD, especially from professionals. Earlier in the year I presented to the emergency department suicidal. I waited all night to be seen and then was seen for ten minutes, told hospital doesn’t help “people like me” and sent home. Another time while in the emergency department I was next to a man with self-injury. He was told by a nurse he was taking up the bed of someone who was “actually sick”, unlike him. He protested and then was chemically restrained. I thought my case worker had a better grasp of BPD, but lately his attitude towards me hasn’t been at all compassionate or understanding. It began with the day he and my doctor started talking about discharge. I was so distressed afterwards that a member of the public found me catatonic on the nature strip outside the clinic. I lay there unable to get up or speak. The man called an ambulance. I should have been taken to hospital, but my case worker came out of the clinic and intervened in the process. He told them I had “Borderline Personality Disorder” and “ASD” and he was not concerned about my mental health. As a result I was sent home to suffer alone. Continue reading “BPD stigma”

Christmas blues

“Oh you told me I was stronger, but I can’t remember how to be strong without you.” Margot Todd, “I’m Not Ready To Say Goodbye”

The world keeps spinning on. Another Christmas. Another year. But I am standing sill. All the meaningless greetings wash over me like the tide. “Merry Christmas”, “Happy new year”, “Have a safe new year”. They are all empty words which people need to stop saying because this is not a happy season for many people. I’m sure I’m not the only grinch out there. I don’t want to have a “safe” new year. I want to be dead. Continue reading “Christmas blues”

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