June 11, 2015

Content warning: This blog talks about suicidal feelings.

Sometimes, living with Borderline Personality Disorder has made me not want to live at all. For over a decade I've dragged around the weight of an unstable personality, bouts of severe depression, erratic mood swings, excessive anger and a passionate self-hatred. It is like I was destined to an eternal struggle. I've been cursed with this difficult character that I struggle to contain within my wounded core. A little while ago, consumed by a colourless chaos, I felt as though I was fighting a losing battle. I was exhausted. I just wanted to escape it. I wanted an end to it.

One evening that I tried to take my own life, and I ended up in hospital. I raised my oxygen mask and started doing Darth Vader impressions with my dry-throated voice to bring a smile to my family's teary composure. On the outside, I still had the ability to bring humour to the situation, but inside I was distraught. I didn’t want to be here – I didn’t want to live. Nobody could understand why.

I feel as though I have an irrational mind inside a rational brain

Nobody ever understood why my tantrums could be so extreme, and my outbursts so violent or self-abusive. My ever-changing mood can turn so dramatically uncontrollable in an instant. All of a sudden, I can be engulfed by a ravenous rage, and a deep-set desire to self-destruct. It can be incredibly frightening. I feel as though I have an irrational mind inside a rational brain. I see and hear the things that I do and say and I know that they could easily be perceived as quite frankly ridiculous, but it's as though I have no influence over it. It's as though that part of my personality doesn't belong to me. Try as I might to capture and tame it, a piece of me remains wild.

People have told me that I just need to get a grip

Over the years I've seen people looking upon my scars with judgement in their eyes. I've faced criticism. Name-calling. My education suffered. People have told me that I just need to get a grip. That I'm overreacting. That I'm vile. That I need a slap in the face. I have a mental illness, and like physical illness, no slap in the face is going to offer a cure.  I have a good heart, just a mind in need of mending. I have longed for someone to come along and unravel the tangles in my twisted mind and wind them neatly back in. I've just wanted someone to understand me, but over time I've realised that I can't expect that since I don't truly even understand myself. I don't need my illness to be understood, I just want it to be accepted.

I need just a little quiet compassion

Very few people in my life have offered a real warmth and acceptance that I believe to be genuine. I don't need to be understood, I just need a hand to hold.

One of the very few people to really ever help me is a man who became a father figure to me. He's handled some of my episodes with a calmness and compassion that I've rarely come across. Never has he pretended to understand what I'm going through, or really ever even attempted to. From seeing me through trips to an accident and emergency departments and psychiatric ward admissions, to finding me in a state after I have self-harmed, he has remained quiet. Quiet, but there, waiting to hold me as soon as I am ready.  His presence speaks louder than any of the cliché phrases or patronising glares others offer in these situations.

I think and behave irrationally at times; I overreact, I scream, I'm short-fused and I'm self-destructive, but do you know what I need? Just a little quiet compassion and for me, and my illness, to be embraced, not understood.

What do you think about Jem's blog and experiences?

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