Trigger warning: Mentions of suicide, mental health, depression and borderline personality disorder.
While mental health continues to be a taboo for a large part of the Indian society, there is a growing percentage of the population which is slowly accepting the realities of the same. And while for the most of us debates and discussions might be acting like the way to educate ourselves on mental disorders and mental health, for an increasing number of youth in today’s time, serious clinical mental disorders are a reality they live and struggle with, every single hour of their life. And as it happens to be, I am one of the many living with a diagnosed clinical disorder.
Till a year back, if somebody had mentioned “Personality Disorder” to me, I would have probably mistaken it for Dissociative Identity Disorder (also known as Multiple Personality Disorder), maybe even something more on the lines of the film “Split” or the evergreen “Aparichit”, or maybe of Antisocial Personality Disorder, all thanks to “Silence of the Lambs”!
And then in the month of January when after years of arguing with myself on whether I should seek professional help or not, I decided to go to a mental health professional, and bam came my diagnosis of “Borderline Personality Disorder”. I felt like someone had dropped a bomb on me the very moment a thousand pounds of heavy blades were taken off my back. Everything suddenly started revolving around this brand new diagnosis I had, while at the same time everything also made so much more sense. It was a relief knowing I wasn’t the only one going through these bizarre symptoms, but at the same time, the voices in my head wouldn’t stop howling about how I now had a tag of “crazy” written on my forehead.
It’s been months now, and I have read volumes on my disorder. I have known many others who have the same illness as me. But not letting my entire being get defined by this one identity has been a struggle. My BPD feels like everything which is me on some days, and that’s when I am just one step away from doing something distasteful which would end my suffering forever. Other times when maybe the symptoms don’t show up for a couple of days at-a-stretch, I find myself suffocating with thoughts that scream, “You are faking it”.
Extreme emotional instability, suicidal tendencies, panic attacks, disassociation from any sense of reality (the thoughts of “I don’t feel real”) and crushing feelings of mental disability, are a few of the symptoms which define my BPD. Somedays sitting disassociated from any sense of time or reality through an entire 1.5 hours of metro journey and then realising I had traveled some 20 stations more than I had to, to days when I find myself crying and grunting for hours lying naked on the bathroom floor covered in my own pool of period blood, I’ve been through it all.
But in spite of all the self-doubting, questions on my ableism and not letting my entire identity getting defined as “borderline”, I am pretty much like you all, trying my best to live, and not just exist through the ridiculous hardships of life. I don’t really open up to many people regarding my illness. I understand mental health is still a big taboo for many of us, let alone understanding about a lesser-known disorder like BPD and then sympathising with it.
Although I am pretty much determined to overcome this illness and try as much as possible to reach the stage where I can call myself a BPD survivor. There are still dark days when everything feels wrong. But that’s when I remind myself that if I have come so far, maybe I’ll make it till the end when it’s all over, and it’s time for a fresh start. And that is what keeps me alive, that thing called “hope”.
As the quote goes, “Be kind, you never know what somebody is going through.”
The author generally considers herself a “jack of all trades and master of none” and has a keen interest in the arts, cultures and sciences, and also bad puns.