I have to write this down, before I take a diazepam and try to sleep away the sadness before my brain resets (hopefully) in the morning. What I’m about to write might shock you, it might upset or even anger you, but it’s what I need to say. Please only read on if you’re well enough to handle potentially upsetting, triggering content.
The past few weeks have been incredibly difficult for me. I’ve found myself screaming out for understanding, only to be met with a wall. Of course, there have been those in my life who have done and who are still doing their best to love and support me, but there is only so much one person can take before they’re exhausted. Despite what some may think, I don’t go out of my way to be ill, or to make things difficult. The difficulty comes from a mentally ill 26-year-old woman trying her best to live like A Normal Person, only to be constantly reminded that her condition makes her unreliable, untrustworthy, even unlikable. Despite evidence to the contrary, others’ words speak louder than my actions, purely because I am ill and they are not.
I dreamt last night that I was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors told me that there was a lump in my brain that they could remove, and that was why I acted the way I did. There was no mental illness, no personality disorder, just an obtrusive little lump that they could cut out, blast with radiation and chemicals and – just like that – I wouldn’t be ill anymore. I dreamt that I had chemotherapy, that I was inundated with cards and presents from those wishing me well, that when I was out of hospital I got nothing but love and support. Finally, I could live a normal life and I would have people talking positively about my fight with the disease, instead of the discomfort that came before when talking about my mental illness.
And you know what? I woke up, sad that I didn’t have cancer. How fucked up is that? My mom died of cancer. I’ve lost family members to it. I have seen friends lose loved ones because of cancer, it is a fucking horrible disease. All that dream did was remind me of the imbalance in my head, that I could wish for such a thing. But deep down, I know it’s because of how alone and vulnerable I feel in life right now. I don’t feel like a person, I feel like a problem, an obstruction to be dealt with instead of someone to be communicated with.
Sometimes I wish I was never diagnosed with BPD. Because it feels like on that day I stopped being Claire, and instead became a disorder. A list of symptoms to be ticked off, a reason to be disbelieved and pushed aside, a patient and never a person. A troublemaker, an attention-seeker, a liar and a lunatic. Every word that comes out of my mouth should come with an arbitrary [REDACTED] stamp on it, for when people don’t want to listen because they can’t take what I have to say – or rather, they don’t want to. Would it be the same if I didn’t have this disorder? Would my behaviour be seen as ‘quirky’ rather than toxic?
I don’t want to die. And I don’t want to hurt myself. Right now, all I want is someone to wrap a big blanket around me to hide me from the world, and tell me that they’ll make the bad things go away while I rest. Tell me that it’s all going to be okay, and that I’m still Claire. That I’ll always be Claire, and have always been Claire.
…I don’t even know who Claire is, was, or will be.