Bell Let’s Talk day has always pissed me off. Don’t get me wrong, I love that we are starting to be more open, but let me take the gloves off for a second and tell y’all what bothers me so much about it.
First of all, we are very limited to what we are ‘allowed’ to be open about. We talk a lot about depression and anxiety, they’re kind of seen as the more normal, safer ones to admit to, but we don’t talk a lot about Personality Disorders, Schizophrenia, all the ones that have the most stigma, and while I can’t speak to any others but Borderline, I know that we aren’t talking about them enough.
I recently took a mental health first aid course, and personality disorders were not mentioned once. We talked about letting to of judgement and reducing stigma with every other illness but within the training someone used the word ‘Borderline’ in a derogatory sense. I was watching a TV show a while back, and after a woman had committed a huge but accidental crime the police officer or whatever said “Sounds like they’re Borderline.”. Even within the mental health industry, the people who are supposed to be there for support, with no judgment there is stigma. We are often seen as difficult, and physiatrists can be reluctant to help or diagnose someone. (We’ll come back to this in a minute)
Even in the dating world, when people hear I have BPD they occasionally dip out, because without knowing me, they think I’m too much work. One thing I hear commonly? That I’m very self aware, and yes, unfortunately I am all too self aware, and can be so fucking scared to let people in on the little secret that is me, because I am afraid they will judge me because of my past, diagnoses, and trauma. I hate to break it to you, but I am not my trauma, I am not my diagnoses, or my past. I may not be simple, and I may be all over the place, but don’t act like you’re letting me in on a secret if you start criticizing, because chances are, I already know. Okay, tangent over haha, but what I’m saying is, the stigma is all to real, and the awareness of what these illnesses actually are is so damn. Low. Most people will straight up say “IDK what that means”, and thank you for those people, but there are a few that assume they know because they had a friend three years ago that had it and that means it always looks like that. Got news bro, its not. Every single person with BPD is entirely different, its almost like they’re a different person, with a different past, and different experiences! Same goes for literally any other mental illness, or person in general. BPD is more common that Schizophrenia and Bipolar combined, yet we never talk about it. Hell, before I had it I had no idea what it was. What I’m trying to say, is that we shouldn’t just be open about some and not others, we should be open about it all. We should be compassionate, empathetic, and practice good listening and learn as much as we can about those we love who might be effected, or even strangers who may be effected.
Another thing, is that posting a photo with a meaningful quote with #bellletstalk is also a fad. Some people who post aren’t walking the walk, you know? They will post one of those facebook filtered pictures, but not actually do anything to reduce stigma, increase awareness, or help out. It shouldn’t be a fad to be open, its a practice. Let me tell you, its not an easy one, but is immensely healing, and talking about is the only way to heal. It also should be more than one day, one day is nothing in the grand scheme, we need to be open every single day. Open, honest (brutally so), compassionate, loving, vulnerable, and genuine.
Like I said, I don’t hate the bell lets talk ordeal, I just have some issues with it, I think we could expand on it, and do much better.
Alright, that may have been one of the sassiest rants I’ve had on here, so hopefully y’all enjoyed, and no one was offended.
Back to my story about diangnoses. Around two years ago I had moved back home after the best trip of my life where I’d been the happiest, most free I’d ever been. I moved back to a home that was emotionally abusive, and I fell into the biggest pit of depression I’d ever been in. I was suicidal, self-harming again, I felt like I was trying to hard to claw myself back to neutral, but the pit kept getting deeper. All of a sudden these problematic behaviours I could never admit to myself were there, got to a whole new level of problematic. I was out of control, lost, and finally admitted something was wrong. I went back to my doctor, but had my mind set on what it was. I had found this other illness, that was milder, less intense, easier to deal with, and a simpler fix. I got in there with the pychiatrist and was so dead set in my black and white thinking that I disassociated myself from half my problem. Then she listed off the symptoms of BPD and asked if I identified, and this voice in me was like “OH SHIT OH SHIT SHE SEES YOU” but externally I was like “yeah…I guess….yeah okay. You’re right.” She told me about BPD, but didn’t actually give me a diagnoses, and after an hour of an appointment that was half fucked because of my stupid brain, I never saw her again. I instead was seeing the social worker who talked to me like I was 5, and when I asked she was very reluctant to tell me. “What will it change? What will it achieve?” She asked me. I said “How am I expected to heal, to change, to move on if I have no idea what my problem is?” She judged me as she reluctantly told me what it was (I say that because the way she looked at me had changed, suddenly all the problems with the abuse I was telling her about, was all in my head). I had ‘traits of borderline personality disorder’. I asked what it meant that it said ‘traits of’ and she said that the doctor never gives a full diagnoses of BPD and left it at that. I decided that day that I had to embrace it, because it was the first time I’d ever made sense to myself, it was the first time I could see myself clearly, and think ‘well no wonder you’ve been having such a hard time, you poor thing, now what are we going to do to heal this?’. Fuck the first part, traits of, telling someone with black and white thinking that they’re in the grey zone (rude), because reading the symptoms it felt like someone had looked into all my secret parts all my memories and talked about me. I embraced the diagnoses, and head a lot of negative feedback. “Don’t get attached to your diagnoses”. A year later I started this blog, because nothing I read ever had a Borderline’s point of view, or rarely did it. A lot of what I read was warning people to stay away, or just was full on wrong about me. I started this blog almost a year ago to increase awareness, reduce stigma, and to help others. I hope that in this time I’ve helped at least one person. I hope one person has read this and felt a little less alone because of it, or had more compassion, more understanding for their friends with BPD, I just want to help. If you want to help me with this, please share this blog with your friends, or people who you think may need it. If you want to help out more, there’s a subscription option, you’ll get an email when I post, and there’s another button called ‘Buy me a Coffee’, where you can support with a 3$ donation, which will help me get a logo, build a nicer look, and keep giving this project my all. No pressure, as I know that life can be stressful, and money isn’t always easily accessible.
I want to say thank you for those who have been reading, and supporting. Thank you for everyone for being open, for existing and living whole heartedly, being vulnerable and doing the amazing work of healing. I love you all, I hope you are doing well. <3