Riley Speaks

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


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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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How Does Hatred Rise to Power?

We have seen this rise before. We have seen a man with an agenda, a false agenda, come into power and have the nations hanging onto the words like gospel. World War II, Hitlers “claim to fame”, was one of the most shocking instances where power and desperation proved fatal.

We are seeing the same signs arise with America’s new supposed leader. Will Donald ever reach the heights and genocide numbers that Hitler did? I don’t believe so. The technology of today is far advanced and gives the world a better look into what is happening. We as humans have evolved too. We are beginning to question everything we are told. While I do believe damage will be done, and lives will be lost, I don’t believe it will be on the scale of World War II.

How does someone so horrible and mean become crowned a hero to many? Do the imitations, slurs, and derogatory words mean nothing or are they blinded by the falsehood of promises? Probably both. I want to believe it’s solely the former but these past few months have shown me some people are still bred among hatred and believe that hate is the way through.

People want an answer for why their jobs are disappearing. Why are so many people getting laid off and losing jobs? Donald claims it’s the immigrants, but they are in the same boat. What is it really? It’s not a simple answer but he’s provided a simple answer and that’s what the people love. Even if it’s wrong.

People are out here asking “well who took our jobs? Where have our jobs gone?” Donald said the immigrants did. But they didn’t. They are not responsible for the decline in job openings and opportunities. You want to know who took the jobs? The technology we created. We’ve been fortunate enough to create computers small enough to fit in our pockets but with that means we have created technology that can outsmart and outperform us as humans. While it’s exciting and new and revolutionary, it also poses a problem for us as humans. It means we now have technology that does twice the work, for half the price of as a human.

And on top of this, people and companies have gotten greedy. They are raising prices so their pockets get bigger. People EXACTLY like Donald and his friends – his cabinet full of rich, white, men. They sit idly by as their pockets grow and yours shrink. It’s not a simple answer to who took our jobs and why we are struggling to survive. But we want a simple answer. We want someone to blame. Donald provided that – albeit false – and the people ate it up.

It’s exactly what we saw in World War II, people wanted to know who had caused the problems they were facing and there was no answer. There was not a simple answer but the people wanted one. Hitler provided one . It was a lie, it was false, but it was someone to blame – nothing else mattered. They couldn’t have cared less WHO created the problem, Hitler could have said anyone. But Hitler had an agenda, and the people wanted a person to hang.

Just like today. We want someone to blame but don’t want to admit it’s just what happens when we grow as a world. What happens when we progress with technology. And we definitely don’t want to admit we are being cheated by others. So we believe the lie. We believe it because it’s simple and it’s convenient.

People would sit in history class learning about the second world war, thinking ‘how the hell could they let this happen?’ ‘how did they let a man with such hatred come to power?’ Well look around you. We are in the same position. We have let a man of hatred come to power. He has an agenda other than helping the people. We are at the beginnings of World War II. You asked yourself how it could happen, how could they be so naive? Ask yourself now, how could we be so naive? How did we let a man of hatred come into power? How the hell did we let our worst moments of history become a repeat performance?

People wanted an answer to an unanswerable question. People wanted answers and someone with an agenda of hate provided them. We must learn from our past and our history. We cannot let hatred win.


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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.


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We Are All Immigrants.

On the 27th of January, american president Trump made a law that refused entry to the United States from seven countries if they were not 100% american residents. The law was created as part of his attempts to stop immigrants from coming into America. It resulted in many people that had been citizens of America being denied entry back into the states.

The law was a direct attack on the Muslim faith and those that are Muslim. All seven countries have Muslim as it’s predominant religion. The idea is that stopping immigrants, specifically Muslims, will decrease the amount of terrorist attacks within the United States. What it does not take into account is that no terrorist attacks have been made by Muslim people. All seven countries that are denied entry have never killed ANY american citizens.

The idea that he can only keep certain religions out is very dictatorial. And what makes Muslim’s the target for this ban? Who got to decide that? Why not Christians? Do you know how many Christians have killed american citizens? A lot. Dylan Roof – a mass murderer and perpetrator of the Charleston shooting – was a “devout christian”. Jim David Adkisson was a christian too, he shot at innocent children. Timothy McVeigh, the notorious Oklahoma City bomber, was a christian. And yet a Muslim has never killed any american citizens…

I am devastated by the idea that the president believes he can dictate what religion is good and what religion is bad when he is denying the fact that his own religion is “worse” in terms of killings. I am devastated by the fact that many people were held up in airports for hours on end and refused entry back to the place they call home. Where their children and husband live, where their life is. My heart breaks for those that were put into that position for no reason other than pure hatred and greed of power.

But the real message of this is not my pain and anger over a certain man. It is to remind us all that we are all immigrants. We have all come and sought refuge or home in another country that was not ours. I am an immigrant. I am a European living in a Maori country. My people (Europeans) migrated to New Zealand from Europe. That makes me an immigrant in my own homeland. Humble yourself. Realise that everyone has migrated from somewhere else. We are all immigrants. It’s what makes our countries so great. It’s what allows cultures to adapt, and people to be more diverse. It’s important. Immigrants are important.

Please, it’s so important that you show love and appreciation to these people that are targeted by the new president. It’s beyond important. They have seen enough hate and felt enough pain. Show them that the world is not all bad, that there is still some good left. Don’t let hate win. Be the light in the dark. Love one another and be kind to your neighbour. It really is that simple, but we forget. We forget how easy it is to say “hey look man, I am proud you practice your religion even when you have every reason to be discouraged.” We don’t say enough the kind thoughts we think. So do it. If you think something nice, say it. Even if you think it sounds silly, or cheesy, or boring – it matters. It may be the only good thing they hear that day. Be kind and spread love not hate.

 


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It’s Not Okay.

20th January…the third Friday of the year…the most horrific of them all (and we had a Friday 13th already).

It is the day supposed President elect Donalda Trumpet gets sworn in. We watch as Barack Obama has to leave the oval office for the last time. Our hope of pushing forward is leaving with him.

To those that are scared sh*tless, I understand. I’m scared and I live on the other side of the world. I’m terrified for you. I’m terrified for the immigrants that face the fear of being deported back to a land that is destroyed. I’m terrified for the blacks, Latinos, and other coloured groups that will face racism beyond anything we’ve seen.

When you elect a tyrant, a mean and racist man, you allow hate to prevail. People voted for him with the prayer that they would be able to hate on specific groups of people. That’s what’s horrible about this election. We have seen how many people hate minority groups. We have been shown that the citizens of U.S do not care for disabled people. What should have been the end of his campaign was nothing but a stepping stone. We have seen that the citizens of the U.S do not care for woman – wanting to destroy their rights, the people of colour – being called rapists and other horrid unjustifiable things, and the LQBTQ+ community. Hate won out this election and it’s not okay.

Many voted because he promised to send the immigrants back to other countries. He promised job opportunities that will not exist. Immigrants are not stealing your jobs. We are stealing them from ourselves. We have created an excess of technology that complete the job at a lower cost – forcing many people out of jobs. There was no ONE group to blame. People wanted an answer, even if it was wrong. And Trumpet provided one. Remind you of another time in history?

It is an eerily similar election to that of Hitler. There is nothing that will compare to the holocaust, but this election is headed there. Fortunately with technology and the worlds ability to be aware of the situation in America, I predict Trumpet will not get far in the likes of Hitler’s regime. Other countries will force America to rethink their elected presidential choices. But the fact that we are in this place yet again proves that we are facing hard times ahead.

Sexual assault victims/survivors must watch a man known to think woman are his entitlement and a man with multiple assault claims under his name, woman are forced to watch him for four years. It’s not okay. I weep for these woman (and men) that have been through this and now have to watch a man known for sexual assault change their rights. They have to live with the knowledge that those that voted for him don’t care about woman (and men) being attacked. And they shouldn’t have to. None of this election is okay.

To anyone in the U.S, these next four years are about surviving. About making it through. Do not fear if progress is not made – if it is then what an accomplishment! But progress most likely will not happen in these next four years. You may see rights we’ve fought for be taken away. I want to say it’s okay, but it’s not. It sucks. But you will make it through. You have to. There is a fight on the other side of these four years that we need you for. There is a revolution growing and you are going to be apart of it.

If you need to remove religious items for the safety of your own life, your God will understand. It does not mean you believe any less, it does not make you a sinner or a pariah among your faith. This world is far worse than any God would have ever imagined it to get and people have deterred further from humanity. It is about keeping you safe and alive so that in four years from now – or earlier! – you are here to fight.

To those woman, men, and children that are taking to the citities around them in protest, bless you. You are the strength that so many of us are pulling from. I know many people felt alone after the news, seeing the solidarity proves no one is alone. Thank you.

It is okay to be upset. For all those saying “it’s just an election, you don’t need to cry” well aren’t they lucky? They don’t have to face the fear of losing their family, they don’t have to face the fear of having their medical insurance destroyed, they don’t have to face the fear of walking down the street terrified for their life. They are lucky. But they are wrong. It is not just an election, it is not just a loss of a vote. It is a hateful man being put in a place of power that can (and will) destroy minorities out of pure hatred. Nothing more. And it’s not okay.


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Hardships /= privilege

Following a YouTube video I watched, I have lost a little more faith in humanity. Reading through the comments I was so happy to see so many people were aware that going through a hard time and struggling with trauma is not the same as privilege. And it’s not.

It’s one thing to struggle with hard things in life – the person in the video surely has had a hard life and it’s important to acknowledge that. But to deny that privilege exists is a little immature. People will always be handed things, or given them easier because of things like their skin colour, their abilities, their religion, their gender, their sexual orientation, etc. My fight as a woman is a lot harder than a man’s. As an able bodied person I have an upper hand in the world. I’m white, I have the privilege of walking down the street with my hands in my pocket and not be shot at because I’m a “threat” and was hiding a possible weapon…As a member of the LGBTQ+ community I struggle against society and the privilege of straight people. I have more obstacles to face than someone who is straight, and that’s a fact.

Be as positive as you want, be as much of a go getter as you can be, but at some point you will have to admit that privilege exists. You can’t be a go getter when you’re dead. And many people are beaten to death or down right executed because of their lack of privilege. It has nothing to do with what hardships they’ve been through. Do you think the person on the other end of that gun or those fists gives a damn if they had a hard upbringing or if they went through a hard time? No. They only care that they are black, that they are a woman, that they are gay, that they are disabled. They don’t care about your hardships. They care about your privilege – or lack thereof.

I myself have been through hard times, I will bounce back from those. But I will continue – until the day I die – face the disadvantage of certain areas of my privilege and non-privilege. It will always be a fight. No matter how many positive quotes I tell myself, no matter how many well I bounce back, my privilege will always be at either an advantage or disadvantage.

Denying privilege exists is part of the problem. As someone on the YouTube platform it’s important to educate yourself and not be ignorant about things. Going through a hard time is not the same as being discriminated against for differences. It just isn’t. Privilege exists and it’s okay to admit that. It’s okay to say “hey look I do get it easier than a gay person”, “I do get it easier than a black person,” – It’s okay to admit that, in fact it’s important. It has nothing to do with how you were raised, what trials you went through. Privilege exists within society and it will always be an advantage or disadvantage depending on what side you are on. It’s ignorant and immature to assume otherwise.