I hated the work books my therapist would have me add to my Amazon cart. They always came equipped with an “also purchased” display of herbal sleeping pills. Because people like me were insomniacs. They ate anti depressants in their cereal and kept a journal of poetry about their suicidal tendencies. They were also my friends and my family; people I’d never know weren’t firing on all cylinders.
For a couple of years there I wanted everyone to walk around with a Hello My Name Is: Manic-Depressive sticker. Or Hello My Name was…is…used to be: Acute Stress Disorder, Body Dysmorphia Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Like the dumb little avatar Sims characters or everyone’s mom at their first PTA meeting. Something, anything to feel less alone.
In my head, we all suffer. And in my search engine, I wasn’t too far off. According to google there are over 200 classified mental illnesses ranging from more common to less wide spread. All of them being a label that none of us want to wear; none of which any of us can diagnose on our own.
“Mild to severe disturbances in everyday thought processes” sounds like an easy equivalent to any of my Mondays. But it’s the literal definition of a term that gets more bad publicity than our own fucking president. Mental illness is exactly what it sounds like; an illness of the mind and you wouldn’t walk away from a cancer patient, so where’s your empathy for a schizophrenic?
It takes a real champ to stand up to their own unwavering ego. The voice inside our head that speaks at a painful volume with little remorse. When I was considering treatment for the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (get this, it’s just a work book, some flash cards and a yoga membership) I toggled with the list trying to find one that sounded more concrete. Because BPD made me feel like I was labeling my ongoing incompetencies as a head cold and nobody would take me seriously; not even my own ego.
Below are some of the signs and symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder:
* Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
* A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
* Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
* Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating
* Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
* Chronic feelings of emptiness
* Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
* Having stress-related paranoid thoughts
* Having severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality
Maybe you check off one of these, maybe you feel deeply about them all. Or maybe you think I’m completely insane for being any of them. (Wait until we outline pedophilia for that kind of judgement). You don’t have to be sick to understand crazy. You just have to be open minded to the fact that it’s not a choice to be ill. It’s a choice to be critical and unapologetically unhelpful.
All I know in this life is that your mind is a terrible thing to waste. It’s either working for you or against you. Those of us who are at war with ourselves have a never ending internal battle that should be externally acknowledged and offered a hand. Nobody fights a war alone, that would be silly. So is mental illness being more taboo than weed in the year twenty seventeen.
You wouldn’t call the morbidly deteriorating leukemia victim “ugly”, so don’t call us crazy. Call us…more often. To break everyone of this stigma that mental health is a facade of a generation unable to express itself; an excuse to be absolutely out of control. Nobody chooses to wake up and be overwhelmed by their own existence. Your poorly chosen name calling and ignorance to mere science are triggers.
Work smarter, not harder at how you speak to everyone you meet, know, and may already love. You never know which of the 200 are plaugung their thoughts daily. Or maybe it’s just me, and the rest of the world is perfect. Who am I kidding, that’s just my bpd speaking…