I bite my tongue until it bleeds, my stomach turns to knots, my whole body tenses up, I overthink every step I take, the clothes I wear, my make-up free face, every person I walk by, parking and driving away. Am I going to use the self-checkout or talk to the clerk? What if the self-checkout freezes and I have to ask someone for help?
I take deep breaths, trying to rationalize, but my body RESPONDS before my brain can talk it down. Everything I feel is so amplified, my emotions are so much more intense than most people’s. All it takes is one wrong look from somebody and I’m incapacitated. My heart thuds faster, my throat contracts and burns, my eyes start to burn. Waves of emotional pain physically rush through my body and build inside me pushing at my skin looking for escape, I look down expecting my skin tearing but nothing is seen. The pain is invisible.
There are signs everywhere, at every corner, flashing the words “you aren’t good enough”, which reminds me of the stereotyped views which were put forth by the society — pretty queer and distressing because I never really saw myself through the lens of somebody else.
It makes me feel like I have been pushed off a cliff by someone I thought would hold me tight and never let go. It makes me feel like the earth beneath me is cracking up and I am caving in to a darkness, I am unable to comprehend or measure the depths of.
Possessing BPD — borderline personality disorder — I’d get absolutely tongue tied when I had to talk about mental health problems due to the stigma surrounding personality disorders; I was too embarrassed to tell anyone. I was scared that I would be judged and abandoned by people.
I resorted to exercising and doing yoga for a while, which helped me fight the illness within myself but apparently not what ‘society sees me through’.
Eventually, that’s when I joined a BPD support group which felt like therapy. It felt like a home-coming of sorts. I found myself in a space where other neurodivergent people were sharing the same label, who were wired similarly to me, were being themselves unabashedly without receiving flak for it. It was a space where my quirks were not only “accepted” but also embraced and understood. Living with a mental health condition is far from rosy and there are days where you do not want to be advised on what you need to be doing. You want to be heard and you want to know that someone else relates to you.
Therapy helped me a lot in changing myself into a better person.
Speaking wholly about the drastic changes with the day-to-day conversations within myself were:
- Never stop standing up for your values and for being yourself.
- Surround yourself (only) with people who believe in you.
- Celebrate every little achievement.
- Being the black sheep is a sign of strength.
I still remember how my ex best friend’s mother said to me, “you’re always the black sheep who brings negativity into my daughter’s life”. The black sheep is the person who always stands up for her values, who tells the ugly truth and the person who is always questioning authority.
But why pursue a superficial image that is ultimately unattainable? Why conform to society’s distorted standards? Why choose to give in and believe that you are not good enough? My world view is skewed by how society looks at me with such a gleam in their eyes making it obvious that, “oh! Here’s the girl suffering from BPD”.
When I realised my victimhood and negative thinking were self-sabotaging me, I started to put my pieces together. I started to see my flaws as qualities and my rebellious nature as one of the most helpful weapons I have.
I began to meet, and challenge, my own ideas and assumptions about myself, one by one. After I started to understand my own self and my issues more closely, I started consciously trying to change the way I thought about myself and what I could do.
“You know you’re borderline when you fluctuate between fearing abandonment to encouraging it.” – Jaen Wirefly
Image credit: Aravind kumar
Inchara Kakaraparthi is a budding author who writes books, which, considering where you’re reading this makes perfect sense. She’s best known for writing autobiographies. She hails from Karnataka, a south Indian state known for it’s heritage sites and wide range of delicacies. She’s pursuing engineering and is 19 years old. And here’s a piece of what she’s written, “we’re all unique and yet, still the same.”