I’d like to start chattering about a little part of all of our lives which is becoming ever more prominent in everyone’s daily decisions. Recently, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with a borderline personality disorder diagnosis over my teenage years, alongside the old depression, anxiety & fine multi-layered array of “labels” that come to explain symptoms in my brain and body. In response to Mental Health Awareness Week, I’ve decided that I am so over the shame and guilt I have over keeping such a big part of my past life hidden or orchestrating a positive narrative to protect others and begin opening up about a whole can of worms, in hope of helping another human.
EUPD/BPD is a socio-biological mental disorder, often triggered by stress or trauma in childhood, which effects the way you see yourself, others, relationships, perception of reality, identity dysphoria, trust, intimacy, depressive episodes, mood swings, intense emotions and constant erratic thoughts on a day to day basis. Often linked with suicidal behaviours, impulsivity, addictions and instability, it’s such a varied and different disorder dependent on each patient’s patterns.
Borderline, to me, was living in a constant state of internal instability of self and overwhelming emotions & thoughts in which I either become defensive, severely depressed, paranoid, overwhelmed by imagined rejection, abandonment, stress & criticism, anxious, impulsive, dissociated or resistant to healthy coping mechanisms which keep me afloat and actually, that’s cool! Following two nervous breakdowns, I’m so lucky to now be in such a self-aware place that I can manage to live a highly functional life and have such a fab world around me! It’s not my identity, just an intense internal way of identifying and experiencing the world, and that's okay, it's human. Like a more sensitive emotional self, normal fears and anxieties are just exaggerated! Learning to accept, explain and maintain a routine is the best way to cope and find small little magic moments!
Severe mental health issues are so misunderstood as there’s such little unstigmatised education out there and is a world that's so all-consuming but isolating to be a part of. It's a long scary journey of recovery, fighting for acknowledgement and trying to smile, but someday it’ll be worth it. Living with a condition that can be (slightly) exhausting to manage, especially alongside chronic auto-immune illnesses, is SO DAMN SHODDY I can’t even explain, but the world is full of such good people and shining moments out there.
Part of me wants to turn everything we hear on our head and say that actually, it’s not okay not to be okay, it sucks and you deserve better! Struggling is such a normalised conversation or expected scenario in our busy, fragmented, modern society now and although conversation is good, change needs to happen and we can do it together. As every mental and emotional experience is so subjective it’s hard to explain and dictate, if we take a moment to listen to everyone we can learn, open up and understand how to support our own and one another’s inner workings. We all have mental health, with different levels, symptoms and triggers but there are some amazing resources out there, specifically through charities such as Mind and Samaritans that have come always come forward when underfunded services and structured support have failed. I continually question the medicalisation of mental health & ideas of “disorder” but by collectively helping each other through bad brain games, we can only try our best to enforce some kind of cool, collective change.
There is such a feeling of grief at this point in my recovery of what life I could've had without my physical and mental health, but I would never want to loose the empathy, strength, support and depth I have gained from my experiences (go friends!) There's no way I can be honest and say that I'm in a good place post-diagnosis, but every situation or illness is different, unique and constantly changing. I feel that it’s best to bellow honestly about experiences so we can all begin open conversations in hope of educating or become a beacon for at least one struggling human!
So here’s to advocating for everyone and their brain, trying to look after themselves or doing the best they can - you don’t know what trauma, experiences or illness comes before! Try each day and do your best you can alongside one another, take life sweet and slow or jump straight in & if you need a helping hand with anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, therapy or all sorts of daily support - IT’S OKAY! I’m here for anyone who needs tea, a nap or hug. It’s a long scary journey of recovery, fighting for acknowledgement and trying to smile, but someday it’ll be worth it!
Personally, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder / Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, disordered eating, M.E / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Hypothyroidism, hormone & B12 deficiencies are an undefining but big part of me, a fun little bundle of names that I just have to take care of. So, just try to be a nice human, and smile!
Useful little links :
Donate : https://www.mind.org.uk/donate/
BPD/EUPD : https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/borderline-personality-disorder-bpd/#.
Relevant Vice articles -