You want to know why it’s so flipping hard to tell people that you have a mental illness? Because of all the Stigma, misconceptions and prejudice. People who don’t understand or who are uneducated by it, automatically think you are this crazy, deluded psychopath who goes mental all the time. I mean personally, I’d prefer emotionally unstable but you know we can’t all have it butterflies and daisies can we?
Can you sense the sarcasm? But no, seriously, it’s such a complicated thing to talk about, that I don’t even know how to explain or express it verbally but when I write, my creative juice gets going, it just comes, well, natural to me I guess. I guess I’m lucky in that sense, that this illness, makes my writing pretty pucker when I get going. *fist pump*
Luckily, I’m quite comfortable writing about my experience(s) with my disorder for the simple reason that I want to break the stigma, I want people to know just how hard it is to live with, how every single day is a struggle and it’s a huge mountain to climb and guess what? I wasn’t equipped with any hiking boots..
This is me, stripped bare, to the core
I have an invisible illness. It’s called Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD for short. It’s funny isn’t it? How those three words, put together have no depth but can represent something so wild, chaotic and catastrophic.
It involves many things like; anxiety, depression, OCD, extreme uncontrollable emotions, unstable self-image, chronic emptiness, impulsive behaviour, uncontrollable and intense anger, fear of abandonment and sometimes paranoid, delusional ideation. It’s so unbelievably complicated, especially when half the time you are unaware of your symptoms and behaviour. When I am feeling ‘ok‘, I don’t even want to believe I have it, I’m in total denial; mostly because I know I have to take medication to make me feel remotely happy or ‘normal‘ whatever normal may be..
I was diagnosed a few months ago and it completely shook my world! All though you can not see it, it is there and by God, it hurts, not just emotionally but physically to. I fight with myself every single day. I act up but I can’t help it. I can’t express how I feel, when I try, I hurt people. I don’t mean to and I’m sorry. I know that this hurts everyone around me. Words fly through my head..
‘Psycho, crazy, messed up, useless, waste of space, heartless, unloved, failure, ungrateful, better off dead, worthless, nobody, nasty, foolish, manic, hated, disliked, weird, strange, unworthy, idiot, fat, ugly, disgusting.‘
This makes me feel incredibly agitated, inconsolable and worst of all.. Alone!
I could sit here and use some pretty, shitty words to explain it but I’d prefer to tell you what it feels like, first hand, write from this unhinged, little head of mine..
How it feels for me.. 100 forms of fear
It feels like happiness is just a vacation because the sadness is home. Happiness is just as strong an emotion as sad, only even more scary. Because I never quite know what to do with it and before you know it, snap, its gone, just like that.
It feels like I’m being trapped in a thick, glass box filled with black poisonous smoke. I’m screaming and banging the glass to try and get the attention of the rest of the outside world that are going about their lives without you.. The problem is, no one can hear you, no one even knows your trapped in there.. Slowly, the dark black smoke will choke you and paralyse your mind. In the end, you give up on trying to smash the glass to escape, you want to smash the glass in hope that it’ll cut you open and set the demon inside you free.
It feels like having an alien within your own self. A shell, nothingness. I am possessed by myself and myself being a demon, that rips me open from the inside out, piece by piece until I’m left with nothing but a open, rotting torso. Why? Because even the demon can’t stand that amount of pain and confusion.
It feels like sometimes pain is the only way to make you feel like you exist again. Of course I am not talking about mental pain, I’m talking about physical pain. To cut yourself and watch the blood drip down your arm is sometimes the only thing that shows you are still alive.
It feels like darkness. Like all the light in the world was just somehow sucked out by a ‘Dementor’. All the energy and all the hope you ever had, just gone, vanished, disappeared, sucked away to destinations unknown.
It feels like a tidal wave of fear shadows over your head, crushes down on you and drowns you in panic every time a loved one walks out of the front door, or hell, even just goes into another room. It’s like as soon as they leave, they don’t exist anymore. I mean, deep, deep in that rational mind of yours, you know they still exist but you just can’t feel them anymore. It’s like a switch that just gets shut off, every feeling you have, every feeling they give you, every memory you have ever shared just disappears as soon as they do. As if every essence of there very being is gone until you see them again. And when its that one person, the one that is the centre of your whole, God damn world at that moment, sometimes the pain of just missing someone is so unbelievable, its like the inner parts of your soul has just shattered and disintegrated into nothing.
It feels like confusion, like never knowing the answer to a question. Even one as simple as ‘What is your favourite colour?’ Oh, What is my favorite colour? Is it black, I’m wearing black today so it must be black, I think I like black. But shit, cream is nice to, I have a cream bedroom.. Why would I have chosen that colour otherwise? But wait maybe I like red… do I like red? Don’t I?
It feels like loneliness… because once you are alone, you are alone. You can’t feel those who love you, you can’t feel their love towards you. After they are gone, its like they don’t love you anymore. After all, if they are gone, how can their love remain. You are the only person left in this world yet your existence is so fragile that the loneliness becomes your existence.
It feels like every step you take, the anger boils up inside of you until you just can’t keep it in anymore and the rage oozes out of your pores and burns any person in the way of that path.
It feels like the only way to escape is to inflict physical pain.
It feels like black and white, and nothing in between.. Everything, everyone, every place is good or bad. Every moment the black and white changes. Good self, bad self, good person, bad person. You can love someone you hate, and hate someone you love but never at the same time. You either love them, or hate them. But that can change in an instant.
It feels like I’m going insane. Why? Because I fall so fucking hard, I get this little switch in my head that turns me obsessive, wanting all the love that they can possible give me and when I’ve drained them of all the love, I’ll keep squeezing to get every last drop of it, like the end of a toothpaste tube. I put them on this imaginary pedistal of love that is so ridiculously unrealistic, unreachable and inhumane that no human being could possible ever achieve it. It’s mad, no person could possibly give the love I’m trying to get, It’s impractical. I’m starry-eyed by the idea of love. I have this intense desire to be loved!
It feels like hell. I understand I have Borderline but I don’t know how to make all of this stop. I have no button that just makes this all stop, all go away. I have no off button but God, I don’t have an on button either! Is there a button that turns black and white to grey? I can’t find it.
It feels like I have a ball and chain chained to my ankles and i’m hanging off the edge of a pier. If I let go, the dark, deep depth of the ocean would swallow me up, which would be a lot easier but I’m holding on as tight as I can to the edge of that pier because some how, somewhere, at the back of my mind, something inside me wants me to fight it.
Before I even knew what the monkey on my back even was, I knew something was wrong, I just knew. But every time someone would ask me what was wrong, I’d tell the biggest lie ever told; “Nothing, I’m fine, I’m doing good!” I think in reality, people knew there was something wrong and could see through my lies but I was such hard work that they didn’t even want to get into it with me. Sad really. I could be in a room packed full of people and I would feel more alone than ever. I learned to live with it my own way..
“Party girls don’t get hurt, can’t feel anything, when will I learn? I push it down, push it down.” – Chandelier, Sia.
Chandelier by Sia, pretty much summed up my teenage years. When things got too hard, I’d cut my wrists to numb things out, wrap them up, get dressed up and go out and drink myself into oblivion, all to block out the pain. I got into dangerous, controlling relationships, where time and time again, I’d get hurt but I wouldn’t leave because that was my only stability, where I’d feel ‘wanted’, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. I wouldn’t listen to anyone’s advice, not even my own mothers, I didn’t need help, I knew what I was doing, well at least I thought I did.
I did seek professional help, but every single God damn time, I’d give up. I’d skip appointments and I’d stop taking any medications given to me. I didn’t want that, I didn’t need it.
The present and future..
Of course, some times, I am still struggling to come to terms with the diagnosis, in fact, I’m not sure it will ever sink in 100% but I am now on medication to help my severe mood swings and the other issues I have. I also have talking therapy that I go to frequently, and she is trying her very best to help me. I am aware that I am always going be a person who lives with BPD. I’m always going to have to deal with the high and low tides of my emotions. It’s just the way I’m built. But that doesn’t mean I have to continue on the destructive path I am trying not to keep walking on. It just means I have to know who I want to be and keep on working my ass off to be the best version of that person I can. I may not know who I am right now but I will keep fighting myself until I find out. I will keep putting myself into uncomfortable situations until this ‘demon‘ inside me learns to persevere. There is always help, you just have to push yourself to ask for it. But let me tell you something truthful.. I would not be me without BPD. It makes me creative, aware and when I do feel love, I feel it with every inch of my body. It’s so pure, so true, I feel every touch, every word. It’s magical.
Thanks for taking the time to read and if you enjoyed this post of mine, please check out my blog; dionnetyler.wordpress.com.
Image credit: Ryan.Berry
Dionne Tyler started her blog as sort of self-therapy. It lets her release the things that tend to make her mind go crazy. She loves sharing her experiences and she loves giving advice, she also love getting it to. She likes talking about Mental Health. She likes to raise awareness mostly. It’s a serious and touchy subject that a lot of people either ignore, joke about or just do not take seriously.