Every once in a while I throw the line out to fish for more bloggers. Not only because I’m sure our readers get bored of our voices but I like to make a concerted effort in ensuring that our community genuinely feels like they are part of the heart and soul of our mission.
Over the past two years, we have focused primarily on Bipolar Disorder in South Africa. However, to grow and evolve with the times and demands in our country, we have expanded our niche to include other mental illnesses. Excitement!
I found a few more ladies on Facebook, in various groups and it is my honour to introduce them to you over the next coming weeks.
If you’d like to contribute, please do not hesitate to contact us. We welcome all your stories with open (virtual) arms.
Please welcome, Without Grace <3
Here is her story…
BETWEEN THE (BORDER) LINES
It is a difficult diagnosis to have to face… I clearly remember the day three years ago when I finally asked my psychiatrist outright to tell me what it is that’s wrong with me. She didn’t want to say at first and I saw the look of pity cross her face just before she looked down and said Borderline Personality Disorder with PTSD and Acute Depressive Disorder. I hardly heard the last two as my mind did a flick flack around the first three words. What would I tell people? How do I hide it? Does that mean I’m a horrible person?
The truth is that psychiatry has forced many of us into labelled boxes and we become obsessed with the list of characteristics to the point that I believe in some cases we can start emulating the ones that aren’t even there. I won’t lie. I was very afraid that day. Whilst a lot of my life experiences and situations suddenly dropped into place, I had a lot of questions and a lot of reading to do.
The next part of the journey was a sad one. As I read the endless symptom lists on Google and watched TED talks on the BPD epidemic and it’s “Victims” my heart sank lower and lower. For days I wondered around in my own head unable to grasp how I’d gone misdiagnosed for years and been on every regime of psych meds available only to find out I’m the product of other people’s actions and I cannot be cured with medication, only mildly controlled. I was angry and I was even hurt… embarrassed. I was very very afraid. She may as well had told me I had Cancer or HIV. I felt like this was the end for me. As if I hadn’t already felt left out and weird all my life… unloved, angry and being moody… but now if anyone found out what I am I’ll never find love. And love is what I and so many like me desperately chase our whole lives.
But then something occurred to me out of nowhere. I don’t have to succumb to the label. I am not the sum of my past or the list of symptoms on Google of characteristics of BPD. And so I set myself tasks… missions if you will. And so my real journey began.
I had to go right back to the start. I had to see why this happened in order to understand the work it’s going to take to use a negative diagnosis for good in this life I have been given.
Typically people like us are victims of childhood trauma and I am no exception. Sexual abuse and Monarch type programming by a family member who was a child psychologist in training, coupled with an absent overworked father and a less than stable mother, I was always afraid and lonely as an only child. I stuck out in a crowd physically and I always felt like I didn’t belong. I have all the makings of a “monster” and I certainly have been one at times. Abusive relationships on both sides and a fast hard run-in with addiction were typical too. Been there done that. The moods are the worst. The tears and the crazy moments when I believe the most bizarre things are happening around me.
But each of them has lessons I’ve learned and experiences that arm me with the ability to help others fight their own demons. The intense hurt lets me empathise and want to make a difference. Addiction has taught resourcefulness. Abuse has taught me to forgive and to look at my part in every situation and how to guide others in the same situations without judgment. I’ve learned consequences albeit late in life, and although I may love like no other and some may call it codependency… at least I love too much rather than not enough. But my greatest strength in being a different person from one moment to the next is my resilience and ability to bounce back from rock-bottom (which has become a frequently visited destination I might add).
I’m a deep person with a big heart and wear it on my sleeve. I finally accept who and what I am but I don’t allow it to define me. For I was not made to fit into this world. Psychiatry can label me and people can judge me but I was made this way for a reason. I have a purpose that I may not understand. But I will keep going. I will keep loving, keep trying, keep changing and growing.
I will make the best of this damn thing right until the end. But then again, check in with me tomorrow as I may not agree with me I was today :) BPD is a life sentence… I choose to emphasise the life part. That’s all there is to it.
A word from Without Grace:
I am a woman in my 30s and a single mother. I am a business owner and I am a talented creative and social butterfly and I am living with mental illness.
My diagnosis is complicated. I have medical disorders that contribute to chemical imbalances which cause anxiety and depression. But my main issue is a Borderline Personality Disorder with addiction based psychosis.
As much as I am not ashamed of who I am or what I have been given to deal with in life, I value my anonymity in contributing my experiences because of society and their response to mental illness and because I’ve experienced, first hand, how this can affect business especially in the city I live in.
But I’m willing to share as much of my myself as you all are willing to read in my posts in the hope that you find comfort in knowing you are not alone.
Do you live with Borderline Personality Disorder? How do you cope?