A few months ago, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder after struggling with depression, unexplainable mood changes, rages, suicidal thoughts, and a general feeling of emptiness.
In a way, I felt relieved.
For a long time, I had been questioning the meaning of my life, the source of my mood swings, obsessive thoughts, self-harm, and massive fear of abandonment. Even though I always had the most loving people in my life, I often felt alone and broken.
After going through over 10 therapists, I still couldn’t open up to a single one of them. I couldn’t believe that anyone, even a person with a special degree in mental health, would be able to understand the spectrum of feelings that go through my head in a day.
After being diagnosed, I was referred to a Dialectical Behavior Therapist (DBT) who answered all of my questions and told me about the structure of the therapy, the way my disorder worked, and how it could be tamed.
For the first time in my life, I had some answers.
The same day after my first therapy session, I stumbled across an article: “Surviving Breakups When You Have BPD.” The more I read it, the more it felt like I was going through my own diary that was describing all those feelings I’ve been trying to recognize my whole life.
I knew I wasn’t alone, and there are things to be done to make myself feel better and have a healthy relationship with the people around me. And it was enough to make me feel less desperate about life and the things it holds for me.
Your Story Matters
I never shared the details about my mental health with anyone but my then-boyfriend, and none of my friends or even family knew what was really going on with me for the past few years.
I didn’t want to seem weak or crazy. I knew that people would pity me or see me differently, or at least, they wouldn’t understand how I feel. But something changed as I’ve started exploring all the people sharing their stories and encouragement they give to others on their social media.
I didn’t want to hide anymore and pretend that my life is so much better than it is in reality. I reached out to my audience to tell them the truth — something no one knew before.
I didn’t do it to receive pity or extra likes. I did it to prove to myself that I’m done being in the shadows. I’m done pretending and living two different lives with myself and others. I am not a crazy person. This is the way I am, and I’m learning to accept it and deal with it.
Somehow, it felt extremely liberating.
I couldn’t believe the support I received from the people after I shared my struggles on social media.
After feeling completely alone and struggling with fears of abandonment and emptiness after my recent breakup, I didn’t see the point of getting better anymore. I shut down and refused any help but somehow, even feeling lonely and useless, I began to feel more supported and loved than ever.
I knew I wasn’t alone, and the people around me, whether it was my family and friends, or fellow writers and strangers from our community, reminded me of that.
Fight the Stigma
Most of us, at least once, have dealt with depression, anxiety, or panic attacks. Some of us had suicidal thoughts or have even attempted suicide.
In a world where disorders have been under stigmatization for hundreds of years, it is hard to recognize and admit when something is going on with you or your loved ones. Unrecognized disorders or mental issues can not only ruin a relationship with someone you care about, but also jeopardize your relationship with yourself.
People are often afraid to be diagnosed, afraid to be perceived as crazy and therefore be excluded from society. Mental health issues are still perceived as shameful, and for many, it is easier to suppress their symptoms and feelings rather than admit they need help and reach out to a professional.
It is time to finally admit that having mental issues or disorders is nothing we should feel ashamed or embarrassed about. Whether or not you have a disorder, panic attacks, or are just insecure about life or yourself, there’s nothing shameful about accepting that and finding the right person to work with to be a better and healthier version of yourself.
Encouragement and Support is Crucial
When it comes to mental health, support is as crucial as air and water.
Life has ups and downs, and without the support of the people around us, there’s no way to find enough strength to encourage yourself to keep going and fight when everything seems to be dark and pointless.
Not everyone has access to professional help or close people they can discuss their problems with. Like many of us, they end up feeling broken or damaged or think they don’t belong in this world because everyone around them seems to be happier and carefree.
The best thing we can do is to make our own impact on mental health destigmatization.
Share your story. Be open and never judge the people you love to make sure they won’t hide how they really feel. Educate yourself about your physical and mental health and things you can do to nourish it. Set a good example for those who are still in the shadows, struggling to face what’s happening to them.
Your example can influence someone to recognize their mental patterns, reach out for help without feeling ashamed, and even get better.
And most importantly, your example can help someone to feel included in our world and not feel so alone and damaged anymore.