I’m Not Dead!

I’m so sorry I haven’t written in here for almost 6 months! Sometimes life just gets in the way of things!

I’m almost done with the fall of my junior year, which is crazy. Time really has been flying for me. Every day has been a challenge, and, for better or worse, I’m taking each one head-on.

The past few months have been a roller coaster for me – too many ups and downs to count. I worked over the summer in addition to getting back into my volunteer work at the local nature preserve. I decided to switch my minor from neuroscience to biology and decided on a few different career paths I could take if the others don’t work out. I’m so busy this semester that I hardly have time to sit down and think about my feelings. However, I wish I could say everything has been smooth sailing heading into this semester. It wasn’t. I’ve had a lot of setbacks, and I know right now I’m not as happy or comfortable with my life as I’d like to be.

Just when I thought I had BPD beat, it came back kicking and fighting in September. The dreadful feelings of hopelessness have returned, and while they are not constant, they are debilitating when they hit. I feel neurotic and paranoid at times. It’s not fun living with constantly changing emotions and a tidal wave of anxiety every time the slightest thing doesn’t go the way I wanted. Something as simple as not getting a text back triggers an avalanche of worries related to my deep-seated fear of abandonment: “Do they not like me anymore? Am I annoying them? If I never text them again, would we just never speak again? Especially since they probably won’t text me first anyway. Why am I so paranoid? Maybe they didn’t see my first text. I’ll send another. Wait, does that make me look clingy? Fuck this. I’m putting my phone on silent and hiding it.”

It may seem silly to those who don’t have BPD. You may be thinking, “Why can’t this girl just relax and not over-analyze everything? Everything is fine.” I wish I had an answer besides the fact my brain is just wired this way and I got the short end of the mental health genetics stick. Of course, many past experiences have shaped the woman I am, too, and rejections have been a recurring theme throughout my childhood. Other than that, BPD just is what it is. Some people will go through hell and back and never develop a mental illness, while others may grow up in a loving environment and still develop one. Sadly, I’m still told to just “get over it” and to “stop worrying”, as if those words are the magic panacea to my nearly 21 years of a BPD-full existence.

Lately, I have been struggling, and I’m afraid it’s become visible in ways I want to hide but can’t. I know that I’m still on the road to recovery, and always will be. I can’t promise that I will always be okay, but I’m trying like hell. I don’t know how I’ll feel each day – it’s like a roll of the dice for whether I wake up dreading the day or looking forward to what I’ll be doing. I know that I’m fighting and always will be. I CAN promise you that I will never give into my illness and I will never give up. Though sometimes I can’t see the light at the tunnel, I know it’s there. I just have to keep pushing in order to find it.

Things That Give Me Hope: Milestones

I can’t believe I haven’t written in here in three months. I’ve just been focused on school, I guess.

But I finished another semester in school and made the Dean’s List. I’m now halfway done with earning my bachelor’s degree. My birthday is in a few days, and I’m entering a new decade of my life. I’m pretty excited about all of this. I’ve had my ups and downs in school, but I’ve started to learn about who I am and what I want to do with my life. I guess that’s what college is all about, right?

My biggest milestone for me right now is the fact that I am now one year free of self-harm. I can’t believe I made it! It’s been tempting at times, but I know it isn’t the answer and it doesn’t help me in the end. I have found healthier ways to cope with my emotions and stressful situations. It’s been hard and definitely a challenge, but the fact I overcame my addiction to self-harm gives me hope.

I have hope that I can and will beat my illness. I know I can. I’m already doing great being back at my college and I have made several solid friendships. I’m working hard to get where I want to be and I’ve seen a lot of progress so far. I’ve come a long way since this time last year. The future is starting to look a bit brighter, and I know something good awaits for me at the end of this tunnel!

We Deserve Compassion

I’ll try to keep this short and sweet, because I’m too angry to type much out right now.

I saw a comment on a forum about the topic of BPD. The person I am angry at called people with BPD “toxic” and that they deserve no compassion.

Are you serious right now?

People with cancer deserve compassion. People with Crohn’s Disease deserve compassion. People with asthma deserve compassion.

Why not people with mental disorders they never chose to have, the same way no one chooses to have any of the conditions I listed above? Why is BPD singled out as something you should disregard and are free to ostracize and stigmatize? Oh, because you think all of us are dangerous and should be locked away from society because we have a hard time with the battles going on in our brains?

Look, I know some people with BPD have done some awful things, perhaps because of their disorder and perhaps not. Yes, these things could be illegal and they should be penalized. However, these people also need psychiatric help, and do not deserve to be locked away and never given the time of day. We are not a lost cause. It is entirely possible to treat us. I had proper care from my doctors and because of them, I have better coping skills than I did before and can function just as well as people who do not have BPD. I didn’t choose this life. Should I not deserve compassion because of it?

We are called toxic. People say you should stay away from us. People think that we can never be treated and that it’s hopeless and futile to even try. It hurts. It really does. Compassion and the determination to help me by my doctors are what made me enjoy my life again and get my act together. Without those things, I would certainly still be in the dark place I was a year ago.

Give us compassion. Give us a chance. You are only furthering our struggles and frustration by treating us like a different species, one that should not even be allowed to live in any proper society.

What if I never spoke about my BPD? Would you have given me a chance and compassion? The second I said I had it, did you suddenly change your mind and decide to dehumanize me?

Think about it.

And So the Stigma Lives On

“You’re borderline, so you know that relationships with borderline people get really old fast. I don’t think there’s a big mystery to this.”

Someone said this to me today because I mentioned some difficulty with social situations and maintaining solid friendships. I know I can be difficult to handle but I also believe there are many positive qualities to me and I try to bring as much as I can to the table when it comes to my friends.

But, person, thanks for the constructive criticism. Really.

I don’t even know what to say right now. These are the kind of defeating stigmas that continue to perpetuate the alienation of the mentally ill from the rest of society.

I actually feel a little sick about the whole thing right now.

This isn’t a positive post, and I’m sorry. I’m just honestly really hurting over this right now, and I hope whoever is reading this knows that these kinds of sayings are extremely harmful and detrimental to people like me. I’m disgusted someone would write off all borderline people like this, and make me feel like I’m not worth being friends with.

Your words might be the trigger someday.

Think before you speak.

Giving It the Old College Try

Well, dear readers, I have been back at college for a week and a half now. Let me tell you, that week and a half has been a real test for me to see if I truly am fit to be back at school.

The answer is…yes. I’m recovering well. Yeah, things are hard and some days I just want to cry and give up. Sometimes I’m tempted to go back to my old ways. Yet I haven’t, nor do I plan to. Between the challenges of my psychology classes and the heavy workload for my German classes, I’m doing just fine. I’m happy to be back here and to challenge my brain again.

Socially, I’ve been doing just fine. I’ve already made a lot of new friends, and they have already proven to me that they can be counted on. They’re a great support system and I feel blessed to have such amazing friends, both new and old. For the longest time, I never believed I had a niche with any group and that I was just never going to find a core circle of friends. Well, I think I’ve found them, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Romantically…well, let’s not even get started on that. I’m not going to sit here and write personal details of it for the world to see. I will say, however, that a certain event has broken my heart, and I’ve been trying to cope with it in the best way possible. It’s still fresh and the pain is never far from my mind, but I’m dealing with it in a healthier way than I would have if this had happened last year. It’s hard and it’s a rough challenge to face on top of everything else, but somehow I’m managing to not let it, and him, break me down. I’m stronger now. I’m the one in control of my emotions, not him. I’ll get through this even though the pain is deep right now.

My battle with BPD is ongoing but this time around, I’m not going to let it win. I’m back at Gettysburg and this is where I plan to stay the next few years. Nothing is going to stop me from achieving what I want, and I’m not going to let my illness hold me back. I’m in this for real this time, and I truly am giving this the old college try.

Only time will tell where my newfangled adult life will lead, but so far, it’s going a lot better for me than it was a year ago. I’m still in that transitional period where I’m just trying to figure everything out, but this time I have a positive outlook and know that soon I’m going to reach my light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know how or when, but I do know I’m on the right track.

Ignorance Surrounding Eating Disorders

I recently stumbled upon a comment made by Meghan Trainor, the singer of “All About That Bass”. I already despise that song for various reasons, and her skinny-shaming earned her a negative reputation in my book. However, what she said about eating disorders really pissed me off:

“I wasn’t strong enough to have an eating disorder. I tried to go anorexic for a good three hours. I ate ice and celery, but that’s not even anorexic. And I quit. I was like, ‘Ma, can you make me a sandwich? Like, immediately.”

There are so many things wrong with what she said. First of all, she made it seem like being anorexic is a choice. Like you just wake up one day and you’re like, “Hmm. I wanna lose weight. Let’s stop eating and develop an unhealthy body image, and convince myself I look awful no matter how much weight I lose!” Anorexia and other eating disorders are NOT a choice. They are mental illnesses. They are debilitating and I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy. I developed anorexia when I was in high school. I did not choose it. I hated my body and hated the way I looked, and so I slowly stopped eating because I wanted control over my weight. I just wanted to be skinny and to be pretty like all the women in magazines and on TV.

Second of all, saying “that’s not even anorexic.” What are you even TALKING about, Meghan? A certain diet does not make you anorexic. Having anorexia and starving yourself to death because you genuinely hate the way you look and thinking you are fat no matter what IS anorexia. Not just “oh I feel fat, let’s start an anorexic diet!”

Thirdly, there is no strength needed to have a mental disorder. I never felt strong when I suffered from anorexia. I felt weak and like my mind was being controlled by my destructive thoughts. Do you think having depression is strength? How about BPD? Or cancer? Diabetes? Anorexia is a HEALTH CONDITION, not a choice and someone you need to be “strong” to have. You aren’t weak for not having anorexia. It takes strength to overcome it, yes, but having a disorder that consumed me made me feel anything but strong.

I can’t believe there is still so much ignorance about eating disorders. I know Meghan Trainor is for body acceptance and all (except if you don’t have enough booty to hold at night because then guys won’t love you, apparently)…but she just doesn’t understand eating disorders at all. It’s annoying that she is seen as a spokesperson for body acceptance when she trivializes eating disorders.

I’ve Come a Long Way

Comparing myself to the person I was when I left school 10 months ago, I feel like a new person.

Of course, I still have the same basic personality, likes and dislikes, and ambitions. But I feel like I can handle tricky situations much better now. Do I still have irrational worries, mood swings, and fears of abandonment? Of course. Those may never go away. But do I let them control my life and my actions? Not as much as I used to. I still have more to learn, but I feel so much more prepared to deal with life’s challenges in a healthier way than before.

I haven’t hurt myself in 6 months. I haven’t tried to attempt suicide. I’ve become okay with not needing constant reassurance from others that they won’t abandon me. I still have worries about people leaving me, and about losing the one I love most. However, I know that I will be okay if things don’t work out. I know I shouldn’t be dependent on others and I need to make myself happy if I want to make someone else happy in a relationship. Do I still desire a relationship and a reconciliation with the one I’m in love with? Yes, of course. But I know being miserable and clingy will not fix things. Becoming happier with myself and more independent will. Not letting my mood swings or fears rule my life anymore is hard but as long as I take care of it, I know I will be fine.

It’s funny. I used to feel the need to text certain people and every day and would get mad when no one would talk to me first. I would shut off my phone in rage only to turn it back on 5 minutes later to see if anyone did actually try to contact me. I would turn my Facebook off during a bad mood swing and then log on an hour later to see if anyone even noticed. I used to take naps to see if anyone would have tried to talk to me while I was asleep. Now, I hardly notice. I don’t NEED people’s validations to feel happy and worthwhile. I know that someone can still be my friend or hold me in their heart if I don’t hear from them for a day. I’ll be fine, and each day is a new experience. Who knows what could happen? Just because I am out of someone’s sight does not mean I am out of their mind.

I am still not fully recovered. I still have bad tendencies, like blowing up someone’s phone when I am afraid they are mad at me or turning to unhealthy activities to stifle my boredom and emptiness. Some days I do just feel listless and easily antagonized. I do still worry about him and hoping he doesn’t abandon me. The difference is that this time last year I would be crying, cutting, and doing stupid things to rid myself of the pain and anxiety. I would scare people away with my unpredictable behavior. Now I smile and laugh and try my best to keep my feelings from bouncing around and coming undone. I feel like now I am becoming more desirable to be around as long as I keep stabilizing my emotions.

Recovery is tough, but I’m doing it. I’m winning. I’m beating this illness. It may always be with me, but never again will I let it control me. I will keep fighting and won’t stop until I reach where I want to be.

Is It the Worst Thing You Can Be Called?

A lot of times I will see someone reply to someone’s opinion or comment saying “you must be mentally ill”.

I’m sorry, but is calling someone “mentally ill” the most offensive thing to be called now? Is mental illness the pinnacle of the worst traits anyone could have? Is it supposed to be the be all, end all to insults?

Hell, no. And it’s extremely offensive that people decided that insulting each other by calling each other “mentally ill” is appropriate and funny. It isn’t. It’s rude and demeaning to people like me. Yes, I have a mental illness. No, that does not make me less of a person, ignorant, stupid, ugly, or anything else. It simply means my brain is sick and needs some help. That’s it.

I mean, would you insult someone by saying “oh, you must have the flu” or “you must be diabetic”? No, of course not. They don’t even make since as insults. So why is okay and accepted to insult someone by calling them mentally ill or telling them there must be a disorder inside their head? Why is this considered one of the worst things you can tell someone?  No one blinks twice when someone says they have a physical illness, like a cold or a headache. Mental illness should be treated in the same way. It is nothing something anyone asks for, but it is treatable and we function just like everyone else with a bit of TLC. It’s seriously cruel to mock others by degrading those with mental illnesses. Using that as an insult just adds to the negative stigma surrounding mental disorders and their sufferers.

Please think next time before you make a mean comment to someone. I’m not saying you should go around insulting others, but come on. There are MUCH better comebacks than “you sound mentally ill”. There’s tons of fun words out there that you can use while disagreeing with someone without adding to the stigmas of us battling a mental affliction. Maybe trying looking up some in Urban Dictionary. Whatever you do, though, please don’t use us as an insult – it makes no sense and is very hurtful to an entire group of people who is already stigmatized enough as it is.

Self Harm and Relationships

Some things I have read about self harm in the context of relationships really bother me.

I read all the time about people finding out about their significant others’ self harm and wanting to leave them. Some people state they would never date someone who cuts. Some people go as far to say those people are psycho and can’t be in relationships.


Self injurers, like anyone else, have feelings. They just cannot express them in the healthiest way. I would know, I used to cut. That does NOT mean they are not worthy of love. What are people so afraid of? Yes, self injurers are usually depressed and need some therapy. That doesn’t mean that they can’t get better, are “crazy”, or unfit to be in a relationship.

You wouldn’t break up with someone for having a physical illness, would you? So why is a treatable mental illness different? Oh, because we’re all unstable and bound to have a “breakdown” at any minute, right? Because self injurers will eventually harm others, right? Because we’re broken and can’t be fixed, right? Because we’re just insane and can’t love someone, right?

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. All of those myths and assumptions are just plain wrong.

Self injurers can love. Self injurers can have stable relationships. Self injurers can get better. They are not broken. They are not unfit for social interaction. They are just normal human beings who just need a little help and encouragement.

We all have relationship deal breakers, and that’s fine. But jumping to conclusions because someone cuts is hurtful and harmful. You could be missing out on a wonderful person who just deals with anxiety and pain differently than others. And you know what? That’s fine. Sometimes a little love is all they need to realize they are wonderful and that they can heal, even if it takes time. Shunning them and ostracizing them for their depression or mental affliction is just wrong and causes even more harm. It pushes people further into the depths of their sadness. So don’t do it.

I’ve had guys and friends turn against me for self harming. I’ve had guys threaten to break up with me if they saw one more new cut. It made me want to change, for myself, but their words and judgments hurt me. And they made me feel broken, unaccepted, and shamed. Like I wasn’t deserving of love because I had an addiction that was hard to fight.

Don’t write someone off because they self harm. Think of all the qualities they have and everything else that makes them who they are. Should you cut them out just because they hurt themselves?

I think you shouldn’t.

I Am Not My Illness

Something that I feel we all need to stop is seeing the disorder before the person.

Society does this a lot. We call people “schizophrenics” or toss arounds adjectives such as “bipolar” and “depressed”. This is something that needs to be done away with. This is giving someone a stigmatized label just because of a disorder they happen to have. Somebody is not a schizophrenic; they just have schizophrenia. Someone is not “bipolar”; they have symptoms of bipolar disorder. I could go on and on about this, but I think I made my point pretty clearly and briefly.

I don’t want someone to see me and judge me on my illness before I can even open my mouth. That isn’t fair. We do not deserve to be boxed into labels based on an illness we never asked for. Doing that erases all of our wonderful qualities. If you judge someone to be a “schizophrenic” you may miss out on that person’s great sense of humor, or kindness, or knowledge. If you judge me as someone you don’t want to get to know because of my BPD, you are missing out on someone who would be a good friend and who cares a lot for other people. That isn’t fair. People do not fall into one category because of their mental illnesses. We are all different, and some of us just happen to have a mental disorder. Nothing more, nothing less.

Don’t define us by what battles we have on the inside. Define us by the qualities we show and the thoughts we share.