So I blog and tweet about borderline personality disorder and major depressive disorder. I’ve made a few YouTube videos and been on that radio show I’ve posted about. I’m not speaking to a large audience, but I am speaking.
Some days I feel kind of like a tool about it. Why should anyone listen to what I have to say? My experience is not important. My suffering is insignificant on a large scale and not any more meaningful than anyone else’s. My situation isn’t especially interesting and I’m not full of wisdom. It feels self-involved to write and talk about myself this way.
Mostly, though, I think that’s negative self-talk. I think that comes from some of my core beliefs about myself–that I have nothing important to say, that talking about myself makes me bad and selfish, that people don’t want to and shouldn’t listen to me. And probably a little of it comes from society.
I don’t write/tweet/make videos about my experiences with mental health issues because I want people to feel sorry for me. I don’t expect people to change the way they behave because I have BPD (of course consideration and support is appreciated and my expectations differ slightly for those closest to me).
I’m talking about it for a few different reasons. For one thing, I like consuming content by people with borderline personality disorder and figured other people with BPD probably do too. For another thing, I sincerely want to help people. If I can be a source of comfort for someone who feels completely alone or someone who is experiencing that resounding borderline emptiness, I want to be. I know what that feels like and I hate to think of other people, even strangers, feeling that way. So if something I write helps someone else, I’m thrilled.
I also share in order to educate people. I’m not out to change the minds of people who think mental illness is a choice; that idea is way too overwhelming to me. I don’t expect people to learn every symptom of BPD and have a deep understanding of it. People don’t have room in their heads or their hearts to know and care deeply about every condition, disorder, illness, disease, etc. But it would be nice to let people know that BPD is a thing and that it doesn’t equal crazy/manipulative/having no conscience/etc. There’s a lot about BPD and mental illness in general that people just don’t know. There are things about the mental health care system that people don’t know that I think they should be aware of. I do think that there are people out there who are interested in knowing what it’s like and learning more about it. And even if people aren’t–the more we talk about mental illness like it’s a real and valid part of the human experience, the less stigmatized it will be. The more people hear about it and are exposed to it, the more they will accept it.
So is what I’m saying important? Not in a grand sense, but in a way, it is meaningful. It’s not special that I am the one saying it, but it does need to be said.