May is mental health awareness month. Remember to be gentle with yourselves and with others because we never know what another is going through. There are few visual cues to tell you what a person has going on inside of them and even less understanding toward those who endure mental illnesses.
I am clinically diagnosed BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) as a result of multiple traumas beginning in childhood and perpetuating into my adult life–same shit getting repeated in my life, felt like a bad joke. In 2003, following my high school graduation, I enlisted into the U.S. Army in an effort to run from ‘that which bothered me here’ — only to encounter more use and abuse from those I was meant to trust there. I am obsessively concerned about others being ok because I know intimately what it feels like to not be AND what I am feeling as I progress through my own healing journey while I learn how to embrace who I genuinely am, develop more healthy boundaries and live my life by my standards and genuinely by my own personal ideals.
Mental illness gets negatively stigmatized as this stain on a person, looked down on and deemed ‘less than’ and I believe it’s a problem. So many will brand another as defective because of a label — typically handed out prematurely and often erroneously. I do not disagree that my mind functions differently than others, that my emotions are intense and that it can get tiresome trying to work with me, or expecting a thing from me. The BPD diagnosis is one of many I’ve received in my years seeing psych-professionals; trying my damn’est to find help. Instead, I found a lot of pharmaceuticals.
I was given one pill to treat something and another pill to treat the side effects of the first pill. Before long, I had 6 – 8 pills a day, not including the ‘as – needed’ pills. I am 35 years old when writing this article and I adamantly believe our western world needs to embrace the power of mental wellness, stop slapping pill-aids on symptoms and get to the root of the problem, help people HEAL. Perhaps you’d prefer zombies, I cannot consent to my discomfort anymore. I want to LIVE before I die and I will gladly take my chances along the way.
Since the 2018 New Year I made a determination (resolution) to make healthier choices for myself. I had attempted suicide the winter before in 2017 after I was kicked out of my relationship for I believe the 7th time, on my birthday no less. Even that did not stop a final attempted reunion the winter of 2018, but it was only two weeks and I returned home more determined than ever to heal my internal wounds. There have been many challenging moments, opportunities to apply lessons I learn. Healing is HARD work and it takes a lot of practice to achieve change and experience growth. When your life depends on changing, you will conquer the challenge or the challenge will conquer you. You can be victorious, but you must fight a good fight.
What has helped me in my own healing journey:
Being gentle with myself, not berating myself for every falter and fumble in the journey. I was my own worst critic, I’d parrot back all the negative bullshit from the world, convincing myself hat it was true. I had to change my internal dialogue from “get it together” to “it’s ok to make a mistake, just keep trying to be better.” I was not failing, I am always doing the best that I am capable in the moment and that is enough. Accepting those who offer love and dismissing those who hate are monumental beginner steps. Mantras and meditation have been game-changers for me, but we do all function differently: What works for one may not work for all. In my experience, you often just have to sit with shit in order to effectively resolve. Trust your inner voice, intuition, gut, whatever you want to call it. Trust it. We have innate self preservation and that ‘ping’ is trying to save your life.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article! I would appreciate your feedback in the comments below and invite you to join me on Thursday while I paint live on stream, I’ll be listening to a variety of musical talents who’ve shared their SoundCloud, YouTube or Spotify content with me to share with all of you while I create.
Remember: You Are Valuable. You Are Worthy. You Are Enough.
Sending love to y’all! — Until next time…