Please do not read further if discussions of mental health are not something you wish to participate in or you find triggering.
Too often I focus on the negative. It’s actually something that is hard wired into us as humans. It kept us safe from the lions and other dangers.
For many years I have suffered with mental illness. I’ve had the diagnosis of anxiety and depression. In the last couple of years my symptoms have been worse and my doctor referred me to a psychiatrist, questioning Bi-polar disorder. My medication isn’t making much of a difference to my mood swings. I still can’t let go of incidents that happened long ago. My overthinking drives me insane. My mind reading too was getting worse. I was reading slights and thinking people no longer liked me into the slightest of remarks.
About a fortnight ago I had my psychiatrist appointment and after an extensive conversation, which totally exhausted me. I was told the most likely cause of my years of mental struggles was a condition called BPD, Borderline Personality Disorder.
Now my only knowledge of this disorder was Glen Close in the movie Fatal attraction. Was I really that! Is that how people see me? Am I that manipulative and psychotic?
So as any obsessive does, I had to Dr Google and Dr YouTube my condition. I had to drive Peter nuts asking him repeatedly. “Am I really manipulative?” Then in my normal coping technique, I hid under the doona for days on end. I withdrew from my friends as I was thinking i was over burdened them. That maybe I’m manipulating them? Am I just attention seeking? I spent lots of money I don’t really have, on things I don’t need.
I’ve cried. I’ve felt empty. I’ve questioned every friendship and confrontation I’ve had with anyone in the last fifty years!
I’ve focused on every negative experience. I’ve thought, I’m a bad person. I’m not deserving of my amazing husband and children. I’m just making all this up for attention.
Let’s just say the last couple of weeks have been crap.
But there’s a really good thing about hitting the bottom , it’s that there’s no where lower to go so you have to go back up.
My endless YouTubing led me to stumble across some Art Journalling posts. Which led me to lots of Art Therapy posts. Which led me to Picking up my pens, pencils and paints and thrashing out some of my pain. I’d write pages and then paint over them with paint. I’d cut out paper and stick images over the words. I’d draw faces filled with tears and pain and tear them up and use them in different ways.
Nothing is permanent.
I can look at BPD as a negative OR look for the positives that my diagnosis brings. And there are many.
Number one positive is BPD is very treatable with talk therapy and learning new skills. I have a good doctor and the psychiatrist was positive about getting treatment started.
It’s also a huge positive that as someone with BPD I have managed to have a loving stable relationship. Despite my attempts early on in our relationship to sabotage it.
So now I’m googling about the gifts of BPD and I rather like them!
I’m more empathetic than most.
I’m deeply perceptive.
I can channel my pain into creativity and art.
I have a deeper capacity to live.
I know what it means to have a hidden trauma. I can champion for others.
I can see more deeply the beauty in the world and in those I meet.
And even though I don’t feel it at times I’m resilient and strong.
I’m highly self aware.
I’m intensely passionate
I’m exciting and alive when engaged in something I love to do.
I have a huge desire for community and building community.
I can see my BPD as my superpower! I can add that to being able to bounce on a trampoline after having 7 kids, breastfeeding for 16 years and having run seven half marathons! What’s your superpower?
I do realistically know there will be times I forget all the positives again but I do finally feel like the only way to go now is up.
BPD is not something I should be ashamed of. And it’s those who will judge me as less that have something to be ashamed of.