Me and My Borderline
Raising Awareness for Minds
Nowadays, terms like psycho and depressed are an everyday part of life, just words that get thrown out by people that don't really understand their meaning. They are flippant about words that in the mental health system are terrifying. I am 35 years old, I am a mother to five kids and have a chronic illness, I am married and I have borderline personality disorder (BPD).
I was diagnosed many years ago, 22 to be precise, with depression and anxiety and I spent years trying to understand why my brain didn't work like everyone else's. Probably too long if i'm honest, I was unable to be in a happy relationship and as a result I struggled with feelings of self worth, I mean let's face it they say no one is unlovable but I can say hand on heart I thought I was.
Everyday gives rise to a new challenge that your brain puts in place for you, self-doubt, anger, listlessness, fatigue, hatred, back to anger, then finishing with insomnia. I was capable of experiencing 60 different thoughts in a matter of seconds all telling me that I wasn't worth much in the world. No amount of self-help books or counsellors nodding in all the right places are capable of telling you otherwise, until you are able to believe it for yourself. There's a well known saying "You can never truly love someone until you love yourself." I'm sure we have all heard it at some point once or twice, if not more in our lifetimes to date. It is possibly the worst thing you can say to someone with BPD, you then go from questioning why you can't be loved to knowing you never will be and breaking that circle is hard.....hard, not impossible.
I take every day as I can; sometimes I am able to believe that my husband loves me no matter what, other days I want to isolate myself from him so I don't have to worry about his imminent rejection. It never comes. That is the way BPD gets you, it takes that niggling voice in the back of your mind and gives it a neon sign and a megaphone so you can't pretend it isn't there. Fighting every day can become really exhausting and there are times that you really wish you could dash your own brains out on a rock, but the highs you can experience when you conquer a trivial chore without breaking to pieces, outweigh any fear of taking the plunge in the first place. You just have to push yourself as much as you can to keep trying. I have spent long hours researching my mental health so that I can understand it from a clinical point of view and have found that this has really helped me to deal on a personal level, understandably though it isn't the way forward for everyone. I found my way through the dark by educating myself and finding people that have unswerving patience, mostly fellow sufferers, joining communities online and sharing every failure and every victory. I'm a long way from recovery but I am starting to understand the management it takes to live with the demons that haunt me.
Self-harming for me has been a symptom of my illness and something that I bite back everyday to do, the feelings of overwhelming anger or sadness had me reaching for a blade as quickly as a smoker will reach for a cig. These days though, I deal with it differently, as my picture shows. I have learnt to measure when the need to cut gets too much and reach for the phone..for my tattooist, I couldn't tell you how many I have on my upper body but I am just starting on my legs. There's something about the pleasure/pain with tattoos that is very calming, it can be the difference between making it through the next few weeks or failing them while you are hidden away from the world, mentally and emotionally berating yourself. I hate the stigma that all self-harmers want is attention, it doesn't boil down to attention it boils down to control, the lack of it and the feeling that the only way you will have any is by blood-letting. So, I choose to do it creatively and in the name of art, not in the traditional way but there you go. Not all people have the love and support that they need to cope with this even in progressive countries such as our own, you hear bandied about "it's all in your head," well of course it is! That's why it's called MENTAL health, just because it is in your head though, doesn't mean that it isn't happening, stigmas attached with mental health are still rife and although there are many noteworthy causes that try to raise awareness, there is still plenty more that should be done. I always feel that it would be easier to just try and exist alongside anonymity and hope no one notices that I am struggling, but this year I have decided I no longer care about the whispers in the playground at the schools or the biting, snide comments from my ex about nut-jobs. This year I am going to push and make sure that people like me know that there are people like me in the world rooting for them as much as I am, myself. In all honesty writing this is giving me a platform to start from and hopefully make a difference even if it is just for one person.
About the author
I'm 35 and on a mission in my life, not for me but for future generations,to try and stem the need of people for things and replace it with love for people again,to try and show compassion where it is needed and help others like myself