Riley Speaks

"all i have is a voice" ~ w.h. auden


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Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder: The basics…

“People with BPD are like third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement.” – Marsha M. Linehan

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder diagnosed in around 2% of adults – making up 20% of those using mental health services. BPD is diagnosed by noticable symptoms. Symptoms are, as listed by MayoClinic;

  • An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection
  • A pattern of unstable intense relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn’t care enough or is cruel
  • Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don’t exist at all
  • Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours
  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship
  • Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
  • Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights

 

Abandonment. Don’t we all fear that though? Yes. But not as drastically as those with BPD. People with BPD will go to extremes to ensure they are not abandoned or feeling abandoned, even if the threat is non-existent to others. This results in behaviours that are less than ideal. Suicide attempts are often a means of this fear and an attempt to keep the person around. Fighting can be a result of this fear too. A negative reaction is still a reaction and at times people with BPD will start fights to ensure they still are in the persons attention.

No sense of self image or identity. There is no real understanding of what they enjoy and what they dislike. People with BPD tend to not be able to list favourite things or list too many. Sometimes they look to those around them for an identity ie: “I like Italian food.” “Oh me too!” – even if they may not have ever had it. It may sound fine and harmless, but it can lead to a very destructive behaviours to fill the void. Things such as drug use, continuously quitting jobs, putting themselves in harms way. Many people with BPD are diagnosed with an eating disorder as they have taken the label to gain some form of identity. This is not to say an eating disorder is a compulsory symptom of BPD.

The biggest part of BPD, for me, is the emotional roller coaster it creates for you. You aren’t just upset, you are devastated. You aren’t just happy, you are elated. But isn’t that like normal human emotions? It may sound like it, but the reality is there is no words to explain just HOW intense the emotions are. The best way is to use images.

01

First we look at the “average” human emotion. While it can spread away from neutral, the span is very small. You can experience a jump in the emotions from neutral to sadness etc, but the span is, say, 2 metres.

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Then we look at borderline personality disorder. This is intense. The whole span is, say, 10 metres.  The whole span of the average human emotion fits within the BPD span, with plenty of  room to spare. It is severely intense.

So isn’t it just like Bipolar? No. Bipolar is from manic to depressed (in it’s most basic sense). Some say that those with BPD experience the same 07emotional length when at those stages, i.e; when someone with BPD is sad, they are at the same level of someone diagnosed 02with depression, and when someone with BPD is happy/excited, they can become manic at the level of someone with bipolar. But this is simply a way for people to understand the severity of the emotions of those with BPD and is not a clinical diagnosis.

There is no real knowledge about what causes BPD but it is thought to be environmental – childhood abuse/neglect, genetics, and/or brain abnormalities. There are beleived to be risk factors that can include hereditary predisposition, a stressful childhood – this doesn’t necessarily stem down to childhood abuse/neglect but any kind of stress including the loss of a parent(s), or hostility such as family fighting.

BPD is an annoying son of a bitch and it sucks. There are good things about it, like if you love someone you love them with everything you have (because you only know go big or go home), people with BPD are passionate. About loving, about art, about anything. Although frequently called manipulative and harmful, people with BPD are actually very sensitive. They know how hard it is to feel sad, because to them sadness is not just being sad, and they want to prevent other people from feeling that way or to give them answers to help.

If someone comes to you and tells you they have borderline personality disorder, do not run to google the ins and outs – because all you will find is negativity. Ask the person themselves; ask them what you can do to help – maybe sending them a text every so often to remind them you have forgotten about them, ask them what it feels like for them – every person with BPD experiences it differently. Lastly, do not treat them as the monster under your bed, they are human and they have feelings. They don’t mean to be manipulative or impulsive or irrational, it’s a fight or flight mechanism. Work with them to create a way to ensure you are going to be able to give them the best chance at your relationship.

 

BPD Quotes:

“She feels more than you, you have to understand that about her. She feels the edge end the details of things and when she gets close to someone, she feels their happiness and pain.” – Jim Storm

“She is strong but not in the way people think. She loves more than she will ever get back & she knows it… Yet she loves anyway”

“I feel everything, all the time. It’s exhausting. But it also makes me passionate, which is beautiful.” – Alicia Sarah Raimundo

“Sensitive people suffer more but they love more and dream more.” Augusto Cury

“I don’t know what living a balanced life feels like. When I am sad I don’t cry, I pour. When I am happy I don’t smile, I glow. When I am angry I don’t yell, I burn. The good thing about feeling in extremes is when I love I give them wings but perhaps that isn’t such a good thing, cause they always tend to leave and you should see me when my heart is broken I don’t grieve, I shatter.” – Rupi Kaur

“You are so good. So good, you’re always feeling so much. And sometimes it feels like you’re gonna bust wide open from all the feeling, doesn’t it? People like you are the best in the world, but you sure do suffer for it.” – Silas House

“My skin is so thin that the innocent words of others burn holes right through me.” – BPD Pieces of Me Community

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Pride – Coming out and coming to terms…

Same-Sex Attraction:

You always hear stories about how “I knew when I was young”, “I knew that I was different” and maybe that’s true. But for the longest time I didn’t really think it was any different. I thought everyone felt that way. None of my friends thought boys were cute – ew cooties! – and so I just assumed it was the same for them as it was for me. Looking back all the pieces of the puzzle fit, but at the time it felt like they were all from eight different puzzles and no pieces matched.

I would see boys and think nothing of them. Nothing happened. I could tell you if a boy was hot or if they were cute but that was it. I had no desire to want to be with them. It terrified me to think I would have to spend the rest of my life with a man. To have to live day in day out, until I died with someone I didn’t care for like that. But that was “the way that it goes” and so I thought I had to suck it up. Until I was 15, I didn’t really have much idea about same sex relationships. I think I knew that they existed, but I can’t actually confirm that. I don’t remember thinking “oh two girls can be a couple” or “two boys can be a couple” – I think that was some good ole institutionalised heterosexual madness going on. Boys were with girls, and girls were with boys. It wasn’t until high school that I realised it didn’t have to be that way. I was lucky enough to go to a very diverse school. People would tell you it’s a crap school, and while it doesn’t offer a lot of additional subjects, it was a lot better than other schools in my town. I remember seeing my first same sex couple. They were walking around like nothing mattered. I remember thinking that it didn’t have to be the way they say it goes. I didn’t have to marry a man, not if I didn’t want to.

My first girlfriend was a…lets call it lesson. I used her to prove I was attracted to girls, I used her for my own personal security, and she used me too. We were toxic and a horrible combination. For a while I thought that it was because I didn’t like girls, because I was a liar. Turns out I just didn’t like her. And that doesn’t make me straight. It took a lot to realise that. I thought if I didn’t like every single girl then I was straight. But hetero people don’t like every single member of the opposite sex so why should I be held to that standard?

Non-sexual Desires:

Sexuality and different means of attraction should be taught in schools. Unlike being gay, I did think I was different. I knew from the start. From when I learned what sex was and that people “had” to do it to love each other. I tried so hard to fit in that way. I wanted to enjoy sex. But every time I even thought about it, it made me vomit. It disgusted me. I could never do it sober. Always drunk/other. The feeling, the sound, all of it. I knew something was wrong. All my friends were in love with the idea of it. They wanted it more and more and more. When I had my first french kiss, all I could think about was how disgusting it was. I felt like such a prude. No one else felt like this. The first time I ever heard the term “asexual” I had no idea what it was. I looked it up and I could have cried. It was me. I wasn’t as alone as I believed. I was so mad that I had to learn about it from the internet. Someone should have told us about it in sex-ed. I spent so long thinking I was wrong. That I had been messed up in the womb that I didn’t like sex. I thought I would have to add it to my list of “ways I’m screwed up”. But I don’t. It doesn’t mean I’m screwed up, it doesn’t mean anything. It just means I don’t like sex. And that’s okay. At least I know the person I will end up with won’t like me just for the sex.

I think the difference between being gay and being asexual was that when I was little, I was naive. But when I was at high school – when everyone started having sex – I was more aware of others. I could see that they were not like me, that I was not like them. I knew I was different because I was more aware. I was not young and naive, I was old and wise (as much as a 15 year old is).

Gender identity:

This one I knew. From the moment my body started changing. Until then nothing much was different. I could have been a boy, I could have been a girl. I could have been neither. When I started growing boobs, and I was an early bloomer, I cried. It meant I was a woman. It meant that was it. I had to be a woman. I watched a documentary on transgender people, I thought “maybe that’s what this is, maybe I’m transgender”. I didn’t want to be a woman so maybe I was a man…but that wasn’t it either. I was 17 when I learned what the term agender meant. 17. I thought it was just people who were both man and woman. Non-binary. I thought that you had to be one or the other or both. I had no idea you could be neither. But I can. And I am. I call myself her and she, but I am not a woman. Don’t call me that. I’m me. I’m Riley.

When I envision my future, I have a wife, we have a kid, and we are happy. We live on a farm – that’s not too close to town, but close enough. She protects me from all that scares me, and I try to do the same for her. We love each other so much and we are so happy. She doesn’t force me to have sex, she doesn’t care for it so much either. She doesn’t call me a woman, because I’m just Riley. And we have family game night, and couples game night, and we go out to dinner, and we go out to places. I finally see my future relationship as happy. I realise it doesn’t have to be the way I was made to think it did. I don’t have to be unhappily married to a man who makes me have sex. It doesn’t have to be like that at all. I can be happy. I can have my happy ever after, after all.


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Environmental vs. Chemical Depression

I’ve had this theory for a while. That there are two cloud causes for depression. There is environmental depression – caused by the environment around you, and chemical – caused by your brain chemicals.

In 2013 (I know ages ago, but New Zealand statistics are impossible to find) the amount of children and teenagers diagnosed with a mental health condition had almost doubled over the previous five years. But it’s known that the rate of those diagnosed with depression and anxiety is on the rise and we’re seeing some of the highest numbers yet. I think this is down to environmental depression becoming more prevalent. We have put pressures on academics, friendships, extra curricular, university entrance, job options, etc that adolescent are understandably struggling under the pressure. The way to distinguish environmental depression is if you were to have no stresses would you still be depressed? If you were climbing a mountain and no essays were due, you had just won the lottery so money wasn’t an issue, and you had a steady job source – would you still be depressed? I believe environmental depression still sees a decrease in serotonin but as an after effect – as a direct result of the environment and the situation one is in. The simplest way to determine environmental depression from chemical depression is it typically starts around adolescence and puberty.

Most people won’t admit that the environment has caused their depression, some think it makes it less real, others just don’t want to have to change everything in their life to cater to their depression. But it’s not any less real, and it’s important for one’s health to be in a position where you are able to live as stress free as possible. Of course in this consumerist, money hungry society it’s hard – and that’s on us as a nation and a globe. We have to change the demands if we want to see environmental depression decrease.

Chemical depression is as it sounds. Just like ADHD, and other chemically changing disorders, chemical depression changes the serotonin levels in your brain. Not when you reach puberty or stressful times, but from birth. It would 9/10 times go unnoticed, because children aren’t good at explaining their emotions, but it can produce as shyness. A child may seem shy on certain days and not shy on others. Looking back on my childhood I wonder how no one noticed I was depressed. It’s this lingering sense of “what’s the point of it all?” I remember thinking – as a child, about 6 or 7 – about being killed and aside from it hurting and me being scared of the person should they be a stranger, I didn’t really think it would make a difference. It wouldn’t matter if I was alive or dead – it was all the same. That’s chemical depression. And it typically goes away with anti depressants and minimal counselling. I have never received adequate counselling because it never helped. It was just annoying to me. And I think this is why. Because it wasn’t anything that happened to have caused it – sure things had happened to me, but talking about them and learning to cope with them wouldn’t make it all go away. It was just the way my brain was and when I found the proper medication, I saw my mood rise. I still get sad about the things that happened and happen to me, but they aren’t the reasons I want to kill myself. They’re just “life” to me. But for those with environmental depression they are the root of their depression.

Why does all this matter now? I’m sure we’ve all heard about or seen the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. There are numerous reasons I am against this series, but this is a very crucial part. By killing herself, Hannah has stopped all living. She cannot grow to see the happy. From the portrayal of the story on her tapes, all her reasons were a direct result of her environment. If she was removed – flown to a remote island – she would most likely not want to kill herself. In 5 years from when the suicide happened, Hannah could have very well not even believed she was going to kill herself – had she made it out alive. But because she threw it all away at high school, she will never be able to see anything she could have accomplished. Her story ends there. She could have done so much to raise awareness on bullying and sexual assault, she could have become a spokesperson for mental health, but instead she killed herself.

This means so many of those struggling with environmental depression will see this as a plausible and very real option. But they will fail to see that the situation will change. That school will end, and 90% of your friends will be people you haven’t even met yet. But because of this ill filmed and poorly devised show, people will think that it isn’t worth fighting for. That it’s better to just quit. It is not. It is worth staying alive for. There are so many great things out there that you can’t dream of because of school stress, and peer judgement. But it’s there and you can see it, but you have to stick around.


NOTE: Chemical depression is in no means a reason for suicide either. With the help of medications and a steady plan you can enjoy life. Please if you are feeling suicidal contact a 24/7 helpline

INTERNATIONAL:

LIST A (Wikipedia) LIST B (Suicide.org) LIST B.5 (Suicide.org, USA)

LIFELINE AUSTRALIA: 13 11 14

KIDSHELPLINE AUS: 1800 55 1800 (Ages 5-25)

NATIONAL (NZ):

LIFELINE AOTEAROA: 0800 543 354

SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 – or free text 4202

YOUTHLINE – 0800 376 633

KIDSLINE – 0800 543 754 (0800 KIDSLINE) *up to 18 years old


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Pro-Choice /= Pro-Abortion

It’s 2017, why is this even a blog post I am writing? This debate has been going on for decades and it’s the most ridiculous thing to exist. How I got to be so understanding and have the compassion that “pro-lifers” seem to lack is beyond me, but here we are.

I’m not pro-abortion. I believe you have the right to make decisions based on your own beliefs and ideals. By keeping abortion illegal and by making it a criminal offense, you are taking away other people’s right to make decisions based off their beliefs and ideals. You are taking away the same right you have – to choose not to have an abortion – from another person. My belief is that if you do not want the pregnancy, you can terminate it. Say you fall pregnant and maybe you don’t want it but you’re against abortion so you have it anyway – I could realistically come in and say well no, you have to have an abortion. My belief is that people should be able to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Does it sound completely unfair and definitely unjust? Welcome to compassion and understanding.

Religion. This is a huge part of why abortion is illegal. Church should not find itself in the Government. It is a separate entity and should be treated as such. How come other religions don’t get to be included in the Government? What makes Christians so special? I believe in God. And I also believe that other people deserve the right to choose. I choose to believe in God, I choose to do these things. Why shouldn’t others get that same opportunity? Why should I be any different and special so as to be the only one who gets to make a choice? My God does not care if you kill some cells. He has a soul up in heaven waiting for you and if He cannot bring it to you through your own body He will find a way. After all he is a miracle worker. If when my times comes, and I’m called before God and He tells me that He did in fact oppose abortion, I know I would still be welcomed into His kingdom because it was not my place to pass judgement. It was not my place to force another of His children into my beliefs.

Being pro-choice is not the same as being pro-abortion and I’m willing to bet there is no one pro-abortion. People have somehow confused the two and begun to see pro-choice as if it were pro-abortion. What I am asking for – and what every other sane human being is  asking and promoting – is the right for people to have the choice.

Scenario I – My friend and I walk into an ice cream shop. My friend picks chocolate flavour, but I don’t like that flavour. I tell her no. She has to have vanilla. Here I am telling my friend that she cannot have chocolate ice cream for no reason other than because I don’t like it. Am I going to be eating her ice cream? No. Am I going to even be affected by her chocolate ice cream? No. Is the person behind the counter going to be affected by her choice? No. Do you see what is happening here?

Scenario II – My friend and I walk into a pet store, she’s looking for a dog. I don’t like dogs (I do, but for the sake of the scenario I don’t) and so I tell her that I don’t like dogs. She tells me “okay, don’t buy a dog.” I don’t buy a dog. When she gets to the counter to pay I say nothing and I walk out with her. Was this wrong? Yes. Why? Because I forgot to remind her to get dog food. Other than the lack of nutrition, there is no reason why my friend cannot buy herself a dog if she wants one. It’s her choice. Regardless of my opinion on the matter, she can choose to buy a dog if she wants because she’s allowed to make her own decisions. Remember how they tell you that about 100 times in primary school? It doesn’t change…or it shouldn’t.

I am not promoting abortions, I am not pro-abortion. I am human and I realise that people who fall pregnant and don’t want to be/cannot be are going to find a way to terminate that foetus. I would rather they have the option of it being done safely by a professional. No one wants an abortion. Not like you want an ice cream truck or a bouncy castle. You want an abortion the way you want to get a filling done. You don’t (unless you have a filling procedure fetish?) want to do it but you have to before it gets worse.

One more time for the people in the back – pro-choice /= pro-abortion.


If you live in NZ – or are just a good human being and understand that everyone has the right to choose – please sign this petition to get abortions decriminalised in New Zealand. At present, although you can get an abortion, it is still classed as a crime to have an abortion. It’s got to change.

>SIGN THIS PETITION<


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My Emotions Are Too Big – Living with borderline personality disorder

It’s hell. In one word. But I am not on some twitter 140 character limit and so I can expand further than hell. Crap. Sh*t. Horrible. Adjectives (and even the words I write) cannot describe what it is like.

There is the inevitable “oh no I’ve made this up, I’m a fraud” when you see someone reblog/repost something that is specific to BPD. But there is also the toddler snatching back the toy because “it’s mine! You can’t have it!” If I see someone relate to a feeling I have, it’s a hard time not to completely hate them because they’re trying to take away what’s mine.

A massive criteria for BPD is the inability to create an identity of your own. You start to cling to the diagnosis because it’s all you have. It’s all you know for sure – and even then you don’t truly know. When you meet a new friend, you begin to become them. Although not the only time, when I was nine I watched Cheaper By the Dozen and I copied how Kim Baker (portrayed by Morgan York) talked, walked, sat, ate, and spoke. Of course my mother thought this imitation was adorable and creative, not the beginning of what I would soon find out to be a nonexistent-yet-ever-changing personality. Another instance I had hated the colour pink (thanks society) but I found out that Dakota and Elle Fanning’s favouite colour was pink. So suddenly I loved pink. I constantly try to find what is “my personality” but it always fails. No matter what I try, I am nothing. The very definition of the word. I don’t mean that in a negative way (not anymore anyway). By being nothing, I am also everything. I am a writer, a reader, a singer, I like colours, I hate those same colours, I talk like someone, I talk like someone else. I am nothing and I am everything.

If I were to explain BPD, I would say it’s big. Everything is big. Enlarged. Multiplied on a magnified scale. I don’t have any other way to explain it. It’s not, oh I’m really upset. It’s the worst you’ve ever felt. You have no emotional permanence, every emotion is the most you’ve ever felt. In today’s society we tend to have this nihilistic view that is exaggerated for humour and even as a stress relief. But for BPD it really IS that exsketch-1487512166904aggerated. Maybe not necessarily in the grand scheme of life and ‘there’s kids starving in Africa’ but to me in that moment, it is the most horrible I’ve ever felt. I imagine it like this: an average, neuro-typical persons emotions are a circle. A nice, neat, compact size circle. Someone with Bipolar takes two of the human emotions – mania and depression – and performs them on a much larger scale. (I am not clear on bipolar as it’s not something I struggle with so this is just my understanding.) Borderline personality is almost as if your brain has taken bipolar and gone, “you know what? let’s just do it with everything!” So all your emotions are drastic. All of them are at the tip of scale. They’re all too big and too much. I’ve lived through deaths and still I will swear that my cat getting up and leaving my room is the most lonely and sad and hurt I’ve ever felt. I feel everything on a  drastic scale. It’s being sensitive, but enlarged. I used to hate it – why was I made like a glass gone through one too many washes, almost about to shatter at all times? But now I like to think that it makes me a nicer person. I may feel my emotions on a big scale, but I also feel other people’s emotions on a big scale too. It helps me be empathetic and sympathetic. And I love that part of me. So I have learned to love the part that cries when my cat leaves or the part that wants to die when a friend is busy. I’m learning to love those parts because they’re a part of me.

There’s the attention side. It sounds about as horrible as it is. Please know that most – if not all – people with BPD don’t want attention in the sense it seems. Somewhere between birth and puberty, their mind confused attention for love and affection. So when they’re seeking and striving for attention, it’s really just love they’re looking for. A misguided, miscommunicated love. When I’ve overdosed, it was never because I wanted people to look at me and say that I’m not okay, or because I wanted them to know I was hurting. I wanted the hug that came with it. I wanted the love that they gave because suddenly they realise you could be gone. That love is the love I’ll spend my whole life trying to safely create. It’s – to me – the epitome of love. Acts of attention are not acts of school girl, my boyfriend isn’t looking at me, acts of attention. They are bids to receive love and affection and acknowledgement. Misguided because our brains don’t work the same way…almost like we have a mental disorder…

Then there’s the part where you have to function among others because god forbid you are different. Existing, simply waking up and going about your day, is 100x harder with BPD. Before breakfast you’ve already gone from wishing you were dead, to hoping you will live forever, being the most distraught human on the planet to being the happiest person alive. And then you get to the kitchen and there’s no milk in the fridge so you cry because it’s the worst thing to have happened to you ever. And non of this is a millennial exaggeration. It literally does feel like the worst thing ever. Whenever anyone finds their milk empty they’re upset a little. So magnify it. Not by a hundred but by thousands, billions, and that’s how it feels. It’s almost like your body can’t feel anything so when it feels a tiny emotion it just HAS to make it big. So imagine feeling that every second of the day. Each action leads to an exceptional (in the nicest way possible) over reaction. It’s exhausting. And we haven’t even left the house. Imagine just getting to work? Drive down the road and a car comes out of nowhere? Never been more scared in your life! Driver toots their horn at you? I WANT TO DIE! It never ends and it’s too big and too much and to exist is hard. Sometimes I wish I could just find the “infected” part of my brain and get it removed. I don’t care if I can’t write some things, or if I can’t see out of one eye. I don’t care if my left side never works again. It would all be worth it if this would stop. It would be easier to have my right side overwork to compensate for my dead left side than to live with this. But I can’t do that because it’s not possible and it feels like it’s spread through my whole body anyway. So I have to learn to live on a small scale so my big emotions are as little as they will ever be. I feel like I have to live half of my life and never get to experience much because I get too overwhelmed. I get to scared, too sad, too angry. You can only be too much of something for so long before you have to get away.

Part of me wants to evade all responsibility and hide away because functioning and acting like a reasonable human being is too exhausting. The other part knows that I have something to offer and that one day this will all be worth it. Maybe a kid will come to me and say they feel things too big too and I will be able to show them they can be just like their friends too. They can live and they can be okay. Maybe it will be someone feeling upset and I lend a helping hand because it’s heartbreaking – of course literally heartbreaking – to see someone so sad. I’m not sure. But I have to believe it’s going to matter. So what if I tell myself a little lie to get me by? I have to make my body get out of bed and exist. I have to force my body to feel too much and be too much because I want to live.


PLEASE: Do not read this if you are not diagnosed (excluding appropriate self dxers) and think “Oh I have BPD.” Chances are, you don’t. A lot of today’s society is viewed in an exaggerated state. It is very hard for people with BPD to hear neurotypical people say they have BPD. See the identity paragraph. It’s like a blow to the stomach. We are toddlers on the playground – this disorder is ours. Please don’t romanticise it.

Art by Jake


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Why I Refuse To Watch Split – And why you should too.

Why am I writing this when the film released a whole month ago in USA? Well a friend of mine was asking for someone to see it with and it reminded me of this exert I had written as a blog topic when I first heard about the movie’s release at the beginning of the year. So even though some – if not most of you – have probably seen it, I’m going to write this. Why? Because it’s important and people need to know.

From the Split movie trailer we see the main character – a man – depicted as a villain, a bad guy. We are already plastered with the image of a violent person. A criminal. The main character is said to suffer with multiple personality disorder, having 23 personalities (or alter’s).

Multiple personality disorder – now diagnosed as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – is a mental illness that affects both men and women. It is classically diagnosed when the patient is presenting with multiple personalities (alters) that will vary in age, race, and religion, and are different to the patients. Typically, but not always, DID is caused by childhood trauma. Child abuse (neglect, physical, emotional, or sexual) abuse can be too severe for the patients mind that the body creates alternate personalities to deal with the abuse. The alters are essentially protecting the patient from pain and allowing them to evade the trauma as the alternate personality is present.

So what does this all have to do with the film? The film is contributing to the stigmatism we see facing mental illnesses. We have come leaps and bounds on how we treat those diagnosed with depression and anxiety (still with a long road ahead), but we seem to have left other mental illnesses at the way side due to them being “too much” and not as “pretty” as depression and anxiety. We seem to have forgotten that there are more than two existing mental illnesses – a conversation for another day. DID is a very real, and very serious condition. It is not a plot line to a feature film and it is not a punch line for that conversation with your friends.

There is so much the public, and even the mental health community, do not know about living with DID. I am in that boat. I know next to nothing about living with DID and I’ve watched documentaries and followed people’s own personal journey’s. So if I’ve gone out of my way to learn about DID and still know barely anything, I can’t imagine the amount of nothing your average person knows. Can they know negative nothing?

Watching a film that adds to the stigma of DID being a violent and horrifying illness is teaching yourself the wrong idea of DID. I won’t lie, it can be messy, it can be scary. But that doesn’t mean you should actively make films teaching people to be afraid. It’s not about the person diagnosed being scary, but the person approaching them being aware. Work with them, not against them to figure out how to be together.

This film is a horrible idea and it didn’t have to be made like this. It could have been a whole family of people as the “identities”. It would remain the same. But now we have people believing that, because DID has been portrayed as a violent and scary disorder (and not for the first time in cinema), it is something to fear and avoid. People we should run from. Should they make a film on DID? A feature film documentary yes. Give society the truth, not a butchered version of what it’s like. We have had enough of your #alternativenews

Realistically, I can’t make you stay home instead of going out. But there are plenty of other films that have been released – I hear 13th (2016) is a good film. If you have already seen it and now wish you hadn’t, don’t worry. There’s nothing you can do about that now. But what you can do is not buy the DVD, let others who are thinking of watching it know. Make sure that we are helping our brothers and sisters in the mental health community and not hurting them. We already think you had us, don’t prove us right.


OTHER ARTICLES ABOUT SPLIT FILM:

Business Insider // Hollywood Reporter // The Guardian // Healthline // Kern Golden Empire // The Verge

SUPPORTING DID:

Wikihow // Sybil’s Friend // DID Legit // Healthy Place

ImageLior Shkedi


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Why Did I Say That? – Understanding unfiltered words among disorders.

*Please note this is not a professional account but a personal one. This is merely a way for people to see the perspective of someone struggling with a disorder. This can be helpful if professionals don’t provide a means of understanding or if a friend wants to help their friend. Remember that each person is different and I am only one of many.*

I’m so annoyed when people say “You can’t blame your disorder for saying rude and insensitive things!” But they are an impartial judge. They don’t know, they don’t understand.

I don’t “blame” my disorder. I have to own what I said and take responsibility for the consequences. However, many times I, and those I said it to, have no idea why I said it. Why was I so insensitive and rude when I’m usually not? Admitting that it was because of my disorder that I said it helps provide me, and those around me, with reasoning and answers. Do you know how confusing it is when you can’t figure out why. the. fuck. you just said that? Why it seemed to just slip out before you could even determine if it should be said? Multiple times each day. It’s hell. It’s exhausting. I’m not blaming my disorder but I am also not my disorder.

I would also like people to understand that I try so hard to filter things and I try really had to slowly process every word of what I’m going to say. And it’s hard – really hard. Many times things slip out and I cannot control them no matter how much I try and wish I could. They just zoom right by me and out my mouth before I even know I’ve thought it. I have to spend a long time ensuring my thoughts are appropriate, not just that they are kind but that they are suited to the situation. Most times my brain doesn’t give me time, others I might not even know the answer. It’s not like I just randomly had one really fast thought. All my thoughts are fast. Sometimes I can’t stop them from spilling out of my mouth. I wish I could. I offend people, I lose friends and relationships, I sometimes lose myself.

It’s like you’re playing chase with your thoughts and sometimes you’re in front winning the race, sometimes you’re right beside another and it’s a close call. Other times you’re behind because you’ve been running for days and you’re tired and so you aren’t fast enough. And it slips out. You couldn’t catch up.

I don’t just think “oh well, who cares if I say something offensive or inappropriate because I always have this back up option to excuse my behaviour.” It’s not a “back up” option. It’s every day and it’s every moment of my day. You only see a small portion of the disorder. There is a reason it’s called a mental illness…it’s happening inside my head. It’s hell and it’s not my fault and I’m tired of feeling like a bad person for saying that. Yes I said it and I have to take the consequences, but you know when your sibling does something naughty and you get blamed? That’s what it feels like. It feels like I have to deal with the aftermath because of my disorder. Because my disorder wouldn’t, couldn’t, didn’t let me filter my thoughts.

If someone says “hey I’m sorry for what I said, my disorder got the best of me and I’m sorry” do not tell them that they shouldn’t use “the disorder card”. As if it’s a full house in poker and I’m lucky to be holding it. It’s not a card. It’s my life and it impacts a lot of my day and my life. Please don’t make me feel sorry for apologising. I am trying to fix the mess that my disorder made and I already feel like hell. Please don’t make it worse.