Friday, 22 September 2017
Calling it lunacy makes it easier to explain away the things we don't understand
I have had it happen in many forms before. Yesterday wasn't the first time I have been defined by my mental illness diagnosis, and I am sure it won't be the last. I remember I was at my old best friends house, vocalising self-harm behaviours when I was 23 years old. Instead of my friends at the time asking me what was going on, I was kicked out of the house in the rain. I was severely intoxicated as well, which didn't help the situation. Looking back, I was lucky that the situation didn't escalate. I put forward the questions, is it okay for people to discriminate? And does anything really justify it?
The answer, of course, is no. Everyone gets caught up in their own thoughts and feelings, in that split moment they don't understand words such as 'shes just having a bpd moment, I have never been close to someone who has BPD, she does it all the time she will be fine, I don't want her there, her behaviour always ruins everything, she will cause drama', all these small words have very big repercussions and consequences on someone who has a diagnosed mental illness. I believe most people who seek help for their illness tries very hard to not be boxed, especially when conflict and interactions occur that will make both parties feel uncomfortable.
You see, I grew up in a household where I felt I wasn't heard. I remember I was six years old sitting on the kitchen bench. My father became overly angry when I wouldn't eat my soup on the bench. Next thing I knew, it was being poured over my head. I know to some people it wouldn't seem like a lot. You have to keep in mind I was six years of age, and because I wasn't acting a certain way to please him, I suffered the consequences. From that day forward, that was only the bare minimum of the punishments I received if I didn't do what would please him. So in my adulthood and before DBT, I was everyone's people pleaser. If I didn't carry out a specific behaviour to suit the others comfort zone, I was ridiculed, mocked and outcasted. Much like my childhood. I was shut in rooms, hit, laughed at and not taken seriously when my needs weren't met.
A thing with child abuse is you spend a lifetime trying to get people to understand you. You seek out attachments, becoming attached to even the slightest glimpse of a kind behaviour. So that is where sometimes the vicious cycle can begin. I spent all my childhood trying to see the best in my abuser in order to survive and cope. So in adulthood, I dated people who would behave in ways similar to my abuser. It was all I was familiar with. I longed for acceptance, staying in relationships that were costly. Its only recently I have realised that I need to take a step back as soon as I see any sign that I could be in a familiar pattern again.
I guess the most frustrating and challenging thing for me is, I apply all my therapy skills to still not get the end result. I understand this is life, and this will continue to happen through my recovery journey. I will not tolerate being labelled when I try to stand my own ground. I am willing to accept and negotiate when needs aren't met. However, I don't believe it is effective for a person to assume you are reacting a certain way because of your diagnosis. That is a low-key form of discrimination. Validation is the key to understanding both points of views. Isolation, disregarding and avoiding are behaviours that can impact someone who wants to be able to express their pain in a healthy manner. I know when people don't hear me out, it can escalate into self-harming behaviours. I have a voice that has longed to be heard. I am able to remove people from my life now who don't consider how I feel when I am very mindful of where they might be as well.
I believe as a society, we need to stop invalidating people who have a mental illness purely based on their diagnosis. Not all situations can have a resolution, unfortunately. I feel how ever one can be reached if discrimination was not thrown into the mix. We are just as important as you. Our own moral rights are just as valid as yours. It doesn't mean you have to agree with us. It doesn't take much to validate someone else's feelings. Everyone is always thinking about their own happiness and journey. So in the moment, they forget that can lead to damaging and destructive end results with the person you have a conflict with.
Just because I have a BPD diagnosis, does not mean all my reactions are based on that diagnosis. Just because I get upset, does not mean the mental illness is driving it. It's human nature to react emotionally to things you hold close to your heart. Remember that.