So, let’s talk about it.
I have major depression. I have generalized anxiety. I have borderline personality disorder.
I wish I could say that the hesitance to write that publicly is gone after so many years of reckoning with my mental health. But there is still a sense of shame, as well as a fear that if I tell people my brain doesn’t function the way it’s “supposed” to, they won’t like me anymore. Or even worse, that my illness will be misunderstood and, by association, I will be misunderstood. I especially feel this way about BPD.
I think I’ve had…maybe three?…real conversations about having BPD with people. Conversations where I said the words, “I have borderline personality disorder,” and then proceeded to explain what that meant, the ways in which it’s fucked up my life, and how I deal with it now.
Imagine only having three conversations about something that you deal with every single day, because you’re afraid. Because every time you acknowledge it (and I have to in order to manage it), you’re reminded of the boyfriends who called you crazy before you knew what this brand of “crazy” was, the friends who deemed you toxic because your brain couldn’t make healthy connections (and the pain you felt when you realized you had been toxic then, even if you weren’t anymore), and the think-pieces you’d read where some neurotypical person declared all people with BPD to be manipulative assholes purposely out to wreck people’s lives (classic).
Mental health stigma still exists. I know because the effects of it on my heart and mind are very, very real. I know because I see the way it tells my friends they’re the only ones going through shit. I know because people still don’t treat mental illness like physical illness – something that needs healing and can take you out of the game for days.
I still have to put in the effort not to stigmatize myself, especially with a “less popular” (ugh) mental illness like BPD. Part of the effort means speaking about it, being open, and being honest.
So. I’m mentally ill.
We should talk about it.