At least once a day my brain asks: “am I enough, or am I too much?” This is one of many thoughts that I battle daily and I know that I am not alone in that. Stigma has affected my life in more ways than I can count. I have diagnosed major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and one of the most stigmatized illnesses; borderline personality disorder.
Borderline personality disorder or BPD is also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder. Because of this label, I have faced a tremendous amount of stigma — even from mental health professionals. “Next time, don’t say anything about your diagnosis and a therapist will be more likely to see you.”
This was said to me at a time when I believed there was something wrong with who I was as an individual because of my diagnosis. When I was diagnosed, I was told by the psychiatrist to: “not to even look it up”.
There is way too much misinformation about BPD in the mainstream media. People with BPD such as myself are not crazy, manipulative, dangerous, or violent. BPD also does not make me unlovable and I am more than capable of being in a long term relationship (which I am). Understanding and growing can come from your diagnosis. It took me a long time to accept and love myself — and to accept and appreciate my diagnosis and lived experiences.
I am a multiple suicide attempt survivor. For weeks at a time, I have had issues getting out of bed. For years, I didn’t understand my purpose or see my own worth. But there is always hope.
Through therapy, finding dialectical behavioral therapy coping mechanisms, hospital stays, art, being vulnerable, finding non-profits such as The Yellow Tulip Project and Active Minds, falling in love, and so much more, I have found my life worth living. Every part of my journey has helped shape me into the woman and mental health leader I am today.
If you’re currently battling thoughts following a new diagnosis or thoughts of worthlessness like I was, I want to tell you that it DOES get better. It takes a lot of work and recovery — and healing is not linear — but you are not alone. You will find your yellow.
This is how I see myself within my diagnosis:
- Full of a whole lot of love
- being really compassionate
- infectious excitement
- heightened creativity
- emotional intuition
- the resilience of a warrior
- superior emotional empathy
- being bold and courageous
- speaking my mind
- immense passion, loyalty, and determination
- great appreciation for life’s beauty
- and great curiosity.
Hope does happen even if you can’t see it now. Your disorder or mental illness DOES NOT define who you are. There are a million other little amazing things that define you.
By Kelsey Pacetti