It is very easy to treat someone like me (with mental health problems) as fragile and in need of protecting. It is certainly true that my Borderline Personality Disorder means I display emotions very openly and I am prone to crying. A lot. Like all the time. At stupid things like adverts. However, that crying is merely a release. It passes quickly and it helps me cope. I spent so long bottling things up and it did so much damage. So now, I let things go, and I am not ashamed about the way I react to things. It shows I care.
That being said, I am one of the strongest people I know. The things I have been through, the things I have faced would break many people. Hell, it nearly broke me. But I got through. And that makes me the BEST person to lean on. Because I wont buckle.
I don’t need to be protected from bad news. I need to be told it as soon as is reasonable so that I can process it and then do something about it. The later it is left, the longer it will take me to process it and the harder it will be for everyone, including me. I might burst in to tears while my brain spends a couple of minutes sending the news to the right places but after that you wont find a stronger person to lean on.
I have seen some of the worst things life has to offer. It sometimes feels like I have stared at the devil right in the eyes. And I still won. If you want someone who can handle the bad stuff so YOU get a bit of support, talk to the person that has spent their life fighting. Fighting a little harder for a while wont be a problem.
I understand the desire to protect people from the bad bits. I expect some of my friends and family will worry that I am on a knife-edge and one wrong move could knock me down. But the truth is no news has ever broken me, it has only ever been self sabotage that has landed me in serious trouble. The only thing I need to cope with life is the one thing I have always had and always will have, and that is the love of my friends and family.
If you know someone with mental health problems, please understand that it is a constant battle. And a battle like that makes warriors of us all. You would be surprised what I can cope with. In fact, you would be surprised what I HAVE coped with.
What I need isn’t protection. What I need is for someone to tell me that I have done a good job fighting. That they are proud of me for what I have achieved. That I have come so far. It is much better than hearing the disappointment when I do mess up. Trust me I do a better job of beating myself up than anyone else could do. I need recognition for the good things. It seems there hasn’t been too much of that recently. I am not a constant screw up!
My life isn’t easy. It isn’t perfect. And it isn’t what I want for myself and my family. But what it is, and what it has always been, is progress. And the motivation to do better. Ten years ago I was bottling things up, I didn’t trust anyone, I was self harming all the time and self sabotaging even more. I hated myself. I was putting myself at risk. Last year, I had a huge wobble. And guess what? It only made me stronger. If you mix a tornado with a volcano I will still win.