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Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The BPD Generation

We're all mental, it just depends on who's willing to acknowledge it.


The entire world is turning into a mental health pandemic. It's split into two types, the people who acknowledge it, and the people who don't.

Unfortunately for us BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) types, we're too complicated for 99% of the population to even want to consider acknowledging.



This morning I had a chat with a fellow BPD who was losing her shit over why the hell she stretched her ear lobe, whilst I was losing my shit over the fact I had a nightmare and it was so vivid it made me SO ANGRY when I woke up that I cried and cleaned the house aggressively.

Apparently 1 out of 100 of us suffer from BPD at one point or another.

GP's and other health professionals don't want to deal with it, apart from the fact GP's aren't qualified to diagnose it which is why we all get lumped with anxiety and depression for years, the others who are qualified can't handle us. We're too temperamental, too spontaneous, too full of regret, guilt and hatred for ourselves one minute, and then the next minute we think we can take over the world.

We've been brought up in this weird as fuck generation where everything around us has changed a million times faster than our parents generation. 

When I was born we didn't have a computer, then we got a BBC basic when I was about 5. Now we have stuff that doesn't even make logical sense to my tiny complicated brain.

So we've been given too much to think about. 

Our parents had a much simpler way of life, those who went to university were almost guaranteed a successful career with an excellent salary as soon as they graduated. Now 99% of us are crying into our pillows at night not knowing what to do with our lives because our parents assume it's just as easy for us.

They had affordable houses, now you're applauded if you manage to buy a one bed house by the age of 30 with a high interest mortgage. 

I was forced into independence from a young age; despite being labelled spoilt and selfish by the rest of my family I was often doing things for myself a lot. I did my own washing from the age of 12, I would hoover, clean and help my parents out around the house, I even cut, styled and dyed my own hair from the age of 14. I was fortunate enough that my parents let me discover who I was by giving me what I thought at the time was freedom, but I look back now and discover that in actual fact it wasn't so much freedom and I was being left alone to understand the world. 

This is HARD.

Now imagine a baby being left alone in a room for the first 5 years of its life and everyone expecting it to come out speaking fluent English? Well that's what it's like for us BPD'ers. 

You are still supposed to have your parents and family there teaching you things, your whole life. There is no point in life where you should be expected to do anything alone.

My Dad was diagnosed initially with bowel cancer when I was 17; and because I was classed as a "child" they didn't tell me much about it. I was left in the dark and as my brother and sister are 5 and 7 years older that me they were told much more than myself. This leaves you feeling isolated.

I discovered once that my mother had undiagnosed post natal depression for 20 years, this matched up with when she had me, but no one has ever confirmed it. I had a particularly "stiff upper lip" family who like to pretend that everything is fine and we're all mentally stable and we can't let anyone know. 

Things began to make more sense after I was told I had BPD and not 'just' anxiety and depression. I began to understand that this stems from a lack of care and nurture between the ages of 17 and 23 particularly for me. Dad was diagnosed when I was 17 and he died when I was 23. Through these years I felt very isolated; you go from having that figure there to look after you and be there for you. I was often made to feel guilty for being who I was or my reactions to things.

I was regularly labelled spoilt and selfish.

When your own family who you're supposed to trust tell you these things it's hard to believe that you're not this awful person they're convincing you of. 

It wasn't until I moved to Nottingham and started uni at Trent that I began to realise that not everyone has been as independent in life as myself, and some people's parents are still there for them. To start with I thought this made people a bit childish and lacking in progression in life but then this developed into jealousy. I was insanely jealous for a long time of people whose parents wanted to be around them, wanted to see them and fuss over them. I still find it hard now when I see people taking their parents massively for granted.

I started to develop feelings of intense anxiety and couldn't leave my room in halls, I didn't even tell my family about my anxiety diagnosis back in 2010, or that I had counselling, because I knew they'd laugh at me and tell me it was psychobabble despite all of them being on antidepressants.

Then when Dad was diagnosed for the second time when I was 21 my depression really set in. 

I struggled my way through uni, back and forth from home to my flat. Worcester to Nottingham, Worcester to Nottingham. Trying my hardest to do as much as I could for my family and general things around the home; but never felt acknowledged. No matter how hard I tried I felt like I could never get the validation from my mother that I needed. 

It's taken me a very long time to realise that the more you seek validation from someone that won't give it to you, the more you undervalue yourself and go into some kind of self destruct mode. 

The day my father died three of my friends were actually in the house. 
These friends no longer bother with me.

Another lesson I learnt in depth is that people only stick around whilst the drama is happening, when you REALLY need them is afterwards. Two years down the line I'm still grieving heavily, my doctor told me that you don't even start a proper grieving period until 2 years after the death of someone.

I wasn't allowed to grieve for a long time. 

The night my father died, my sister sat me down and told me she'd always hated me because I was "Daddy's little girl". I had never been aware of this. I just knew he was the only one I connected with and that wasn't my fault. This is another thing I've had to learn.

NOT ALL THINGS ARE MY FAULT.

As a BPD sufferer you are regularly told you're spoilt, selfish, angry, spontaneous, over emotional, too sensitive etc. This is because people take feelings at face value. Not all feelings are true; but because we believe them due to the disorder, then others believe them to be true. We need to learn to question the behaviour and feelings of others, not just assume truth in the facade.

I was told for a very very very long time by my mother that I was "too emotional". 

Instead of anyone trying to help me, I had to discover all my mental health problems on my own. I thought I was just a bad person for a very very long time.

BPD also stems from a fear of rejection.

Not only did I lose a number of friends around the time of Dad's death, I also lost my entire immediate family because I had stopped being their emotional crutch and my independent self, and my counselling taught me to start saying no to people and start asking to be looked after and have some ME time.

Another lesson - I learnt that people don't change with you when you have counselling, you are the only one who changes, and some people can't get to grips with it.

This is ok.

If they don't want to get to know you again then that is their loss.

So I have found the last 2 years to be particularly painful, yes because of the immediately obvious things that have happened but also on reflection the sadness of how little mental health has been acknowledged. If it had been made "normal" then I may still have my family around me now; instead of having to remove myself from them due to the detrimental manner in which they treated me.

I was told by my sister that I wasn't allowed to do a reading at my father's funeral because "the adults should do it". I was 23 when he died.

The conflicting information I got from all of this is that one minute I'm being labelled a child in circumstances they didn't want me to be involved in, and then the next minute I'm being told to fend for myself because I'm not a child anymore.

People need to be educated in borderline personality disorder. Desperately.

It hurts me every single day to think about how I had to acknowledge everything on my own.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT IS KEY WITH MENTAL HEALTH.

We do not want you to fix us. Yes we might want a little TLC sometimes but fuck ME if you try and "understand me" or fix me. I will lose my shit and probably demand to be sectioned.

Just because I can shove a smile on my face sometimes, doesn't mean I'm not hurting so painfully inside I regularly feel like I want to die.

In the last two years I have changed my medication several times, I have cried a LOT, and I have been so numb I can't feel. I tried to take two overdoses and spent a lot of time trying to get my GP to grasp that I wasn't attention seeking, I genuinely couldn't handle being trapped in my own head 24/7.

If you are lucky enough to have a "normal" mind then you will have absolutely no concept of the fact we BPD's have to question every single reaction and thought, every second of every day. I don't know whether I am justified or overreacting unless I can get someone else to confirm it. 

Before I started to understand about BPD I thought I was just an asshole.

I used to do things, like my boyfriend once drove too close to a lorry, so I got REALLY ANGRY, got out at some traffic lights and just walked. Walked and walked and walked. For SEVEN MILES. He eventually found me, and by that time I was so exhausted I couldn't use my brain anymore, which is pretty much what I unintentionally wanted.

So what I wanted to get out of this post is to show people that it's ok to lose your shit, you will find answers and you can start to pull it back together.

No you haven't done anything wrong.

You don't need to live in that bubble of horrific guilt just to punish yourself for being this "spoilt and selfish" child you have been labelled as.

The reason I wrote this is because someone came to me recently and asked me how I suffer from anxiety, BPD and depression but still have "all my shit together."

I didn't realise how much social media can be used as tool to create this bizarre vision of you in other people's minds. People see your positive posts or successful movements in life and they assume you've never been through hard times.

THIS IS A LIE.

I have been broken, repeatedly, and I'm still broken now. Very much so.

What I need to do next is work out a way of getting some kind of awareness of BPD, because no one know what it is, everyone just assumes it's Bipolar.

THESE ARE VERY DIFFERENT THINGS.

So in short, a lot of this is off the cuff ramblings and I have a LOT more I could have poured out of my brain and it probably doesn't even make any sense, but if I can make even one person who reads this feel almost normal about their BPD or other mental health problems then that'll make me happy.

I want you all to realise how normal you are, regardless of your past. In this one moment right now, just smile, smile and realise that even if you can smile for one second you did it. 

Sod the negative people and the people who don't acknowledge your issues, we're not asking for understanding or fixing. Just a little acknowledgement can make us feel normal and that goes further for us than you could ever imagine...



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