On Knife’s Edge


SKU e-book Category

175 in stock


A Young Girl’s Journey Through Borderline Personality Disorder
By Michelle Karpus

ISBN: 978-1-84747-975-4
Published: 2009
Pages: 61
Key Themes: borderline personality disorder, psychiatry, society, self harm




When Julie becomes so mentally ill she can no longer cope in society, she is put in a psychiatric hospital with the support of her friends. Once inside the hospital, Julie faces some terrible challenges; her main issue is trusting those in authority. She had uncontrollable reactions, such as self harming and suicidal behaviours when something is out of control, but with the help of her friends and a doctor she gradually starts to get these under more control. But the world of a Borderline is never an easy ride, and Julie portrays the tribulations that this diagnosis may cause.

Julie’s journey portrays how difficult a patient’s role in the hospital is when the staff are met with a talented, yet troubled young individual. How can they cope with Julie’s issues without belittling her or making her feel worse?

This book will work to sympathise with those who have had similar experiences in hospital and were unable to vent out their problems. This book will also thrive is teaching mental health staff what is perhaps going through a patient’s mind. This book challenges staff to look at their approach and language in the way that they treat patients, particularly those with Borderline Personality Disorder.

About the Author

Michelle Karpus was born in Hertfordshire in 1983. She completed an English degree at Queen Mary, University of London in 2005. In 2007 she completed a Masters Degree in Professional Writing. However, despite the many years she spent studying, she was also battling with a life threatening condition; Borderline Personality Disorder. Borderline is a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behaviour. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual’s sense of self-identity.

When Michelle was put into a psychiatric hospital for the first time, she was in a critical state. Her self-harming was out of control and her suicidal tendencies made life for her very dangerous. She struggles continually on a day to day basis. In the book On Knife’s Edge Michelle portrays her struggle in third person through the eyes of Julie. Some references to people in the story are either fictional or exaggerated.

Michelles’ struggles did not end in hospital. Her intuitive intelligence made it very hard for the nurses to deal with her. Michelle was met by a complete lack of understanding and compassion. On Knife’s Edge challenges the behaviour of professionals into changing both their behaviour and tactics when met with someone with the hardest mental illness to treat; a Borderline.

Book Extract

Waking up to the sound of a large bird squawking outside my window, I picked up my cuddly toy Posey and trotted down the stairs. Usually on my way I would go and wake up my baby sister by nuzzling her on the head with teddy, but today she was not in her cot. The muffled smell of damp and dust surrounded me as I half walked and half crawled around searching for the baby. There was a soft muffled cry from downstairs, and a tiny wave of panic struck my tiny five year old body. I lay on my tummy and rolled down the stairs, bumping and bumping until I hit the bottom. As usual, my mother was sitting down on the sofa crying softly to herself, and any amount of begging for her to stop would not be welcomed. My baby sister was in her arms, fast asleep. I wanted to get to my sister to keep her safe; this was my new aim in life. I did not want the mother to hold her; I did not know what she would do.

Perhaps I could pretend this was a game. It was still early and my grandmother would not be there for a long time, at least ten minutes. I set up my dolls house and put little tea cups and dollies in a circle. They seemed to be laughing at me, mocking my pathetic rescue attempts, but I could not be stopped. Surely my mother would understand that I needed my sister to complete this circle. I took my sister gently from my mother’s arms, and sat her down. My sister opened her mouth and let out a tenacious yell that rung in my ears. My mother cried harder, and my sister screamed louder, and I felt like it was a competition and I was the referee. I had hidden all the knives in the doll’s house, so nothing bad could happen. My mother was searching for these knives, and when they were not to be found she grabbed a pair of scissors. She rolled up her sleeves and I knew what was coming. I snatched them out of her fingers with all the power and force of a twelve year old, and threw them across the room. My mother sat back down on the sofa and cried again, running her fingers through her unwashed hair. I took my sister into the kitchen; it was time to make breakfast.

Weetabix with milk was our favourite, so that is what we had. Milk was spilt and the Weetabix was swimming in a brown mushy mess, but it was all I could manage with my undeveloped fingers. My sister was laughing now, making a gurgling sound as I stuck my tongue out and hid behind my hands. With the monotone baby laugh I tried to block out the thought of my mother back in the other room, but each second bought a new sense of anticipation. My breath quickened as I prepared myself to protect my sister, and where was my grandmother? Wasn’t she normally here by now? I formed a plan in my head. I could push my sister in my dolly’s pushchair, and we could go up the hill and take the red and yellow bus to our Grandmother’s house.

The silence in the other room was torture for me; I would have preferred the blissful sound of sobbing instead of the fear of the unknown. I knew something bad was happening, something very bad. Then my mother burst in. Blood was dripping from her arm; she must have found the knives. She waved this bloody mess in my face whilst screaming, look what you made me do, you selfish little brat. I covered my ears and tried to sink in the ground, pushing my hands onto my ears as hard as they would go but I could still hear her. I screamed to myself, just to make sure I was still there. I carried on until my mother scooped me up in her arms and rocked me gently, making soothing noises. She was back, for a moment she was back again. I snuggled my face into her neck, and wrapped my arms around her. She was back again, and everything was going to be ok, everything was going to be ok, everything was going to be ok.


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