Today is, in the UK, time to talk, and they're asking for people to have a five minute conversation about mental illness. Five minutes doesn't seem long enough, at most maybe 1000 words. I don't think the time matters not really. I think we just need to start these conversations, even if it is difficult to start the conversation.
Sometimes finding the time to talk is difficult enough. But that doesn't matter here and now, because these words I type become timeless and reference a day that is in the past, they reference a day that might turn out to be completely different to all the other days.
I feel so much appreciation to anyone who has ever taken 5 minutes to listen to me, especially when I'm at my worse. Do Borderlines feel appreciation?
Yes, and I'm not a Borderline, I'm someone who has a personality disorder.
If you don't know or understand the difference, I suggest you think a little bit about identity. There is a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon between having an illness and being an illness. There are so many more facets to my personality than my DSM-5 diagnosis.
Those that allow me the room to explore the other parts of my personality, away from the turmoil that is BPD at it's hardest, grant me the space to grow and learn. Those that listen, even when I'm only saying bad things remind me that there is a light.
When I'm at my most unwell I often feel like a child. I feel as though an adult shouldn't be struggling with mental illness, which is farcical really. There is already too much stigma, especially around personality disorders, feeling as if I'm a failed adult for being mentally ill is an unhelpful factor.
I know I'm not alone.
For those of us [un]lucky enough to be labelled with a mental illness, it's the people around us that help to make the days seem brighter and warmer. The gentle nudging towards a socially acceptable 'normal', whatever that may actually entail.
The difficult thing to remember is that having a personality disorder doesn't ultimately make me a bad person. I can make decisions without indulging my wanton lust for the macabre, and actually, those decisions aren't always terrible.
I'm lucky enough to know some amazing people that don't allow their mental illness' to control their lives. We can take the time to talk about the challenges we're facing, but also the beautiful realisations we have at times. Especially when we realise that everything is going to be ok.
No it's not always ok, but it can't be bad forever.
Those of us that have mental illness, we're not some special untouchable little club. It's not like a fever that spreads round rooms consuming bodies. It's not something I'd urge people to experience either.
Mental Illness is just that, an illness in the brain. It's not scary, it's not inspiring, it just is. Those of us that struggle with hallucinations, poor impulse control or paranoia, we're not weak and we're not strong, we are who we are and mental illness is only a small part of that.