Me = Writer. Journo. Campaigner. Cake lover. Queer. DJ. Radio presenter. Partner. Friend. Auntie. Cat lady. Ouch House co-star. Vinyl addict.
Me = Borderline Personality Disorder. Depressed. Confused. Anxious. Paranoid. Lonely. Raw. Sleep deprived. Frightened. Difficult.
Me = taking time to talk. To talk about life with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). To have the conversations about the mental health issues I, that so many live with. 2015 is the year I intend to keep on having mine. Living with BPD is, well, as the name suggests, confusing. It’s like being born without armour. Where the powers or generics or traumas that be, have decided to carve an open tunnel to my vulnerable and buggered brain. It can feel like you have no protective cover, as if you are without skin, raw and exposed as you try to deal with emotions you have no hope of mastering. Life becomes very black and white. Life can’t be about change or the unannounced. Life can’t have heartache or drama or confrontation or palavers. The train can’t be late. Another’s harmless comment can become a weapon to beat myself up with. The seemingly unimportant becomes the thing to fixate on. The unplanned becomes unbearable.
Psychiatrists describe it as “emotional instability, as disturbed patterns of thinking or perception” interrupting your thoughts to keep them raw, ensuring the world is a frightening place, where you can only feel “rage, sorrow, shame, panic, terror and long-term feelings of emptiness and loneliness”. On a bad day. Only on the bad days mind.
And so when there are no bumps in the road, its easy to forget you live with BPD. To try and remember your coping strategies and do what the doctors told ya. And then its easy to talk. But on the bad days it isn’t as you struggle with your unpredictable reactions to your distorted emotions, the TV set that is your head unable to tune into a sound signal. You can’t talk. You don’t see the point. And you feel like no one want to listen. Friends, family, health practitioners. You can’t connect, you won’t let them help and so the cycle continues.
I’m lucky. As the rather scary name implies (cheers for that) BPD has its ups and its downs and on the up days or hours all is good. Today, when the world is listening to hundreds of thousands of 5 minute conversations about mental health, is good, I don’t feel alone with this. I can cope because there’s hope. Because if your voice joins my voice and we make enough noise – demanding health equality between physical and mental health, questioning the cuts in funding for acute mental health services, asking why so many young people are left to deal with their issues alone, why access to medication is easier than talking therapies, why waiting lists for treatment are so bloody long, why charities are carrying the burden of the failing NHS mental health services and why sharing your issues can still cause stigma at work, home, socially (I hope I still have mine after this conversation) – we can get there. Honest.
Small conversations equal small changes. Small changes means hope. Let’s make it happen. Lets make time to talk. And lets insist, in this an election year, that mental health is taken seriously and all those living with it are treated fairly. One conversation. One big change. Its Time To talk.
For further information go to time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday