Me, Myself and my MENTAL HEAD.

Strength.

Sometimes this is how I feel, really fucking strong. But you know what – other times I feel SO BROKEN. My anger gets the better of me a lot of the time.

So that strength gets channelled the wrong way; which is why I work so much. If I didn’t have my photography and my business to direct all this negativity and anger then I would have fully crashed and burned long ago.

So why am I the way I am? I discovered last Monday that I am showing traits of Borderline Personality Disorder.

What I found most fascinating about this diagnosis was other people’s reactions. Before, when I “simply” had anxiety and depression people would be a bit hesitant about things but they would have a vague understanding due to them being the most common mental health problems in the world. Or the most easily diagnosed.

Even telling some of my closest friends about this diagnosis they look a bit confused or make jokes about split personalities etc.

What I want to explain is the general definition of BPD.

Myth: You have many personalities that you can’t control.

Borderline Personality Disorder does NOT mean you are a Jekyll and Hyde and can switch into pretending your name is Jeffrey and you have 30 pigeons you like to ride around on whilst sprinkling glitter through people’s letter boxes.

Not even slightly. But you say those three words and people FREAK OUT.

Borderline is actually a very old fashioned term for it – it used to refer to patients who were on the “border” of neurosis and psychosis. This is no longer the case, the diagnosis/definition of BPD has actually changed but the phrase has remained.

What it actually is, is Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.

This includes things like extreme anger, uncontrollable spontaneity, horrific anxiety and being unable to see life on a spectrum. Everything I see, everyone I meet, I instantly regard it as good or bad. This perception can change but it’s very VERY rare that I place people or things into a grey area. Everything is very black and white.

I guess this helps with my work because I have to make snap decisions and I have to know what it right, I also have to take risks and I have to believe in what I’m doing. So work-wise it’s GREAT. Life-wise, I CANNOT HANDLE LIFE. It’s so frickin’ hard.

The second someone makes something too difficult, or plans change instantly without me having any vague control over it my head just goes NOPE, CANNOT DO. NOT DOING IT. CAN’T DO IT. BAD THINGS HAPPENING.

So back to strength. Why do we need strength? Because if we didn’t have it inside us somewhere we’d all give up. Life is HARD.

Part of the reason for my BPD traits is that I wasn’t given the nurture and support I needed between the ages of 17 and 23. It’s a complete fault to think we’re grown ups then, because we’re not. We never stop growing, we never stop learning – there is never a point in life where anyone can genuinely say they don’t need anyone or anything. We all need care and happiness around us, we need people to teach us and shape us into the beings we will become.

I could be angry about this situation, because if I had the nurture and care we all deserved at that age then I wouldn’t be in the position I am now. But at the same time I probably wouldn’t have had the same drive to succeed because I don’t know if I would have the same need to prove to myself that despite everything, I can make something out of life.

I am angry right now, but irrationally so. I don’t even know why I’m angry. And then I get more angry because I’m angry. And all I think about is WHY CAN’T I STOP BEING ANGRY. This vicious circle just keeps going. And eventually it’ll stop and I’ll be fine again.

Trying to get people to understand the way I am is SO HARD. Because we have all be shaped to conform to society at a young age, so to the “normal” people of the world, if you’re angry then you’re angry about something. If you’re sad then something or someone has upset you.

Fully not the case.

My head spontaneously decides whether it would like me to be irrational about someone chewing too loud, or whether I should go and spend far too much money on an unnecessary pair of shoes I will never wear instead of paying my bills, or maybe I’ll wake up one day and decide that I can’t leave the house. I’ll sit in bed, in the dark, watching episode after episode of a series whilst feeling crippling guilt about not doing any work and also not being able to EVER focus on a TV programme because my mind wanders away with me back to all the darkness.

So in short, anxiety, depression, BPD, all mental health issues are FUCKING HARD. Really really fucking hard.

If I was to let someone walk in my shoes just for a day, trying to battle with the irrational emotions – trying to gauge what emotion is justified and what is just plain ridiculous and also keeping on top of running my own business, as well as getting the stigma about mental health being “an excuse” or “not real”. And then there’s all the crap from societies conformists who reside in their miserable 9-5 job’s whilst simultaneously whining at me about how much they hate it and telling me to get a “real job”.

Telling freelancers/self employed people to get a “real job” is a cardinal sin and also another blog for another time…

Well that got some of my angry out of me, next time you encounter someone with mental health problems just remember that they are “normal” too, and we’re all just trying to live in this world.

Elspeth x

http://www.elspethvanderhole.com

 

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