February 14, 2011

Throwing stones? How about I throw some back!

I have to say that one thing that really “gets my goat” is the idea that there are “real” self-injurers and “fake” self-injurers. The “real” self-injurers are the ones that don't want people to notice, and keep it close to their hearts. They're secretive and panic at the thought of someone ever finding out about their secret coping mechanism. The “fake” self-injurers are the ones that don't cover their wounds or scars, talk openly about it and just generally “seek attention”.

Why, pray tell, does “attention seeking” have this negative connotation? Of course they're bloody seeking attention, they're cutting themselves for frick's sake. They need help, and are asking it in maybe the only way they know how. Of course they need help. If you're cutting yourself, no matter for what reason, you need help. It isn't healthy behaviour and can have long effects, we all know this. So why is one self-injurer more worthy of help than another?

We all know that the reasons for self-injury are variable and individual, and often are very personal. My reasons for self-injuring are probably very different to yours, for example, and I can't pretend to know why you self-injure any more than you can pretend to know why I self-injure. So with that in mind, how can I look at someone who others would term an “attention seeker” and even have a guess at the motivations behind their actions? I can't, and neither can you or anyone else.

I think it is prudent to remember this when we consider judging anyone for their actions or decisions.

February 13, 2011


If you're anything like me you've heard people scoff at the diagnostic criteria of any given mental illness and claim that those criteria could apply to anyone. Everyone gets a bit down, fears the end of their relationship or being abandoned by the ones they love. Everyone is scared something bad will happen to their loved ones, or is at times unable to see the shades of grey between the black and the white. We all know this is true, so what exactly is it that sets normal personality quirks apart from those of a disordered personality?

Quite simply, I'd say it comes down to severity. Sure, we all fear things in life but when that fear is so strong and starts to rule your life I think it becomes a problem, and then it gets labelled as an anxiety disorder. Everyone gets a bit blue from time to time, but when you're so down you forget to shower for three weeks and don't go to work because you can't get out of bed I'd say we're at the point of clinical depression.

As much as I hate to drop “Girl, Interrupted” quotes, I think the concept that someone with mental illness is “you or me, amplified” has a lot of truth to it.

When these personality quirks become so strong they impede our day-to-day living, at that point it becomes a mental health concern. Is that not the same as so many other physical illnesses? We may all get a bit of a tension headache from time to time, so we pop some Advil and get on with it. When it becomes a migraine so bad we're hiding in a cool closet away from all light and sound? Yep, that's a problem.

I really do think that mental illness is viewed so differently from these physical ailments, and I don't necessarily think we should view them any differently. A wrenched ankle is an ailment, and so too is clinical depression. Both deserve treatment, and neither one is more or less “valid” as an illness. To think this is to alienate a huge number of the population, and because mental illness is mostly such an invisible disease we really can't tell by looking at someone whether or not they have an illness.

An illness is an illness, regardless of whether it is physical or mental, and to be frankly honest all those members of society that scoff at mental illness haven't got a clue about mental illness and should be ignored. They're not professionals, they haven't done any form of education on the subject, and have no right to drop science on the subject. So you're well within you're rights to tell them to shove it up their ass.

February 11, 2011

The Unlovable Borderline

There is a lot of stigma about Borderline Personality Disorder and interpersonal relationships, particularly romantic relationships. If you've ever gone looking for it, there is a whole lot of information on the internet for those afflicted by the Borderline... um, sorry, I mean those in relationships with Borderlines. For the Borderline this can be horrifying and daunting, to go looking for information to help you with your disease and instead find entire websites devoted to helping your spouse divorce you without you killing yourself. Very uplifting stuff, right?

So I obviously went through a whole lot of tears thinking I wasn't capable of having a stable relationship. Not only was I not capable, but I didn't deserve one either because of this dirty, dirty disease. At the time my relationship was very tumultuous, so that did nothing to assuage my fears that I was doomed to a life with horribly volcanic and angry arguments and dramas in my love life. My relationship was on-again, off-again due to a variety of factors that truly weren't solely to do with me and my disease, and as they say it really does take two to tango.

Eventually though things started evening out. It was like my relationship was ironing its own kinks out, and on Sunday I will be celebrating the five year anniversary with my partner, M. We've been living together for a year now, and things are better than I had ever expected. Arguments are rare, and we do all those things I thought I would never do with anyone. We go to the nursery to buy plants for our little outdoor dining area, do laundry and make dinner on weeknights. All truly mundane things I thought that I, as a Borderline, would never be able to do with someone.

It truly is like my life is being spent looking for new and exciting ways to give my illness to finger, and in so many ways I am succeeding. So Borderline? Fuck you!