My name is Grace. I have borderline personality disorder. It sucks. I have struggled for so many years, had multiple suicide attempts, used drugs, alcohol and cutting as a way of coping when I couldn’t handle how I felt anymore. I recently completed a year of DBT and it changed my life. Now I’m studying psychology and I want to try to change how society is with mental health, how people treat those who have mental illness, and I want to help others who are going through the daily struggle of living with one know they are not alone. And that there is a way out of the dark cloud you are lost in. Someone is always listening.
Depression: I struggle some days, I cry, I don’t always know why, just that there is a deep hollow ache in my heart and stomach. I feel sick. Stupid and useless, less than worthless. I go over and over in my head all the reasons why I’m not good. And then I feel stupid for thinking it, and I try to tell myself it’s not true, and I try to remind myself I have friends, and I’m an OK person. But the words feel hollow, because I know in my gut that I’m not good. I must have just fooled my friends somehow. I lie there, crushed under a sadness that overwhelms my rational brain, leaving it a blubbering mess unable to fight anymore. Depression is like a dark cloud that suffocates you; if feels like there is no escape. Your own mind betrays you.
Anxiety: Anxiety is the worst. Worrying about what’s happened, what could happen, what people think of you. Are they judging you? Laughing at you? Do they all actually hate you? Is anything even real, or not? Questioning yourself, doubting yourself, until you want to pull out all your hair and scream, “Stop.” You end up sitting, clutching yourself, trying to breathe as your chest contracts, your stomach rolls and you shake uncontrollably. It eats away at you, making you doubt your friends and your family, cause how could anyone ever actually care about someone like you? You doubt yourself. How can I do this? What if I fail? Of course I’ll fail, I’m a failure. Sometimes it talks you out of even trying, your own thoughts and mind are your worst enemy.
Alone: When you feel lost and alone, and even though you have friends, you don’t know how to tell them what’s going on. You feel like a burden, like a problem that they would be better off without. Your heart breaks because you’re so scared of being judged for something that is out of your control that you’d rather try to fight it alone and fail than ask anyone and be told you’re attention-seeking, you’re weak, or get over it, suck it up. And even people who sad they’ll always be there aren’t. People leave, they always leave and eventually you’re alone again.
Anger: I get angry. With myself, with other people, with myself for being angry at others. I get angry because I think things should go a certain way and don’t, or when people let me down. I get especially angry when I let other people down or don’t achieve something like I’m supposed to. I have unreal expectations of myself and get so angry because I know I’ll never achieve everything I want or expect to. Sometimes I just get angry about life, at life, living with mental health problems and chronic pain is horrible. It’s not fair.
Self-harming: This is the hardest thing in the world. It’s crying and shaking, holding a blade, trying to resist the urge, caving and cutting, then feeling disappointed in yourself for doing it, angry about it yet relieved that you punished yourself. Feeling justified, like you’ve made it a little better. It’s wanting to ask for help because you know it’s not OK, but not being able to because you’ll be judged, called attention-seeker, crazy, stupid, pathetic… It’s wearing long tops and long socks in summer, not going swimming because people will see them. It’s hiding, feeling guilty and confused and lonely and sad. You don’t know who you can trust, because even when people say they’ll be there without judgment, when it comes to dealing with self-harm, they always judge.
Insecurities: My insecurities are my biggest daily struggle. They are overwhelming and even on a good day when I feel happy and confident they lurk in my mind like sharks circling, waiting for the right moment to attack. Stupid, worthless, fat, lazy, useless, weak, slut, fake, imposter, never going to amount to anything, no matter how hard you try. Just stop pretending, you’ll never be more than a piece of shit, never be more than your past… These thoughts don’t go away, they are tied to my core beliefs so no matter how much I succeed or do right, no matter how far I come, they are still there waiting for a bad day, for someone to say something, that gives them the moment to strike.
Scars: My body is covered in scars. They tell a story of anger, pain, sadness, confusion, heartache, punishment and fear. But what they also tell is a story of strength and overcoming my demons. They are a reminder of every hell I have overcome. Every bad person I have survived and every moment of darkness I have come through. They remind me that although life is a struggle and it sometimes may seem like too much to bear, if you put your mind to it you can overcome anything. You can survive.