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My Experience Of Growing Up With Borderline Personality Disorder

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Trigger Warning: Depression, Self-Harm, Death

The only person I can trust more than myself is my therapist. I feel paralysed. Humans are so cruel. I want to live in a world, where we can take care of each other. However, I am living in a world where even after asking for help, people are rejected, and the seeker is left in disbelief. I know why Sushant killed himself. Who knows how much he might have tried to express his pain? Indeed, he was a brilliant, compassionate, and kind soul. When he was alive, not even one person in his life was able to take away his pain. I am glad that you are gone. You were too good for this selfish and cruel world, Sushant.

While in the recent session today, I wasn’t even able to communicate with my therapist. Sometimes, words aren’t sufficient to describe your feelings. A couple of days ago, this world proved to me somehow that I do not belong here. This is the beginning of my end.

I have so many dreams and plans for the future, not for myself, but for this world. I have suffered so much in the past, not because of my mental illness, but the stigma around it in society. My colleagues at the IT company where I work (even the senior management & HR) and their families made it worse for me and made sure that I was left alone, whenever I tried to mingle, even after I recovered from my mental illness.

a woman counselling a person with her notebook in hand

I knew exactly who did that to me intentionally, but I did not carry any grudge against anyone. I saw their act as ‘lacking empathy’. I would be happy if it were for a personal vendetta, but their lack of empathy worried me because this showed me a bigger picture. I have always dreamt about opening my own organisation that will solely be based on mental health. In this world, where humans are so selfish, running after money, power and fame, how can I cultivate empathy? But I never gave up.

A couple of days ago, I could feel my nerves at the back of my head, as if they were slicing the inside of my brain. I have been living with this pain for the past five years and it has become a part of me now because it never leaves me alone. But when this wave of panic attack hits me, my head spins and all the sounds near me suddenly becomes noises.

I don’t feel safe anymore. I want to scream in pain, but all I can do is allow my eyes to burst out in tears. I need to hold hands. I need a tight hug and a soft voice to tell me that I will get through this. All I get is a déjà vu of the time I spent in Baltimore. I used to call my friends in India, but now there is a difference. My parents are right here with me. My friends in India now know in detail what I have been through.

I have a lovely friend here in Tampa and she lives nearby.  I am volunteering with two NGOs. I write my own blog and also I write on YKA. I am a proud mental illness survivor. I have been helping people heal, break stigma around mental illness, and seek help. Despite all that, I am scared to connect to any of them because I am scared that no one will understand me. Not because they wouldn’t believe me, but because I do not believe myself anymore.

So, it was one of those days. Tears started rolling down my cheeks. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to sink in that moment. I wanted to speak to someone, but who? I saw a Facebook friend online — I had met him online recently — who works for a non-profit organisation. He is a humble guy. I pinged him and told him that I do not know why I pinged him and I need help. To this day, he has not responded. I cried for help by texting a person on Instagram who also owns a huge digital platform. I can give him a benefit of doubt because he must be getting thousands of messages.

I also pinged on my mental illness NGO group where I am volunteering. Many read the messages, yet they chose to remain silent on my agony. I know I should not be judging people for not responding to me. I know that I do not know what might be going on at the other end. But what about me? I reached out to not one, two, three people, but more than 10, not completely unknown people. Most of them work in the area of mental health, and yet no one showed up. Ironic, isn’t it?

This event broke me completely that day. I am not holding anyone responsible for this feeling. But this is how I feel now. I waited. I waited for an hour for a text message, a phone call. I stared at my screen. But guess what? It was blank, unlike my mind that was struggling to settle down even for a moment. I feel like a toy these days who has to juggle between two different roles. The one I am writing in is the intense, crazy one. The constant shuffling is way too stressful.

Then I introspected myself. What could be the possible reason? Either I am overthinking, or they did it intentionally. If I am overthinking, then I have crossed that line of mental condition that needs a lot of work. At the beginning of this year, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder traits by my psychiatrist over a phone call. I sat with my therapist, discussed and we realised that since we had to do a lot of other trauma healing over the past few years, it may have been there already, and we never found out because of the ongoing trauma.

My parents have been here with me for the past four months and I have been in a lot of fights with them. It affects me a lot. I feel my younger brother and I grew up in a totally different house and saw different childhood, especially the early years. For them, the priority is my physical health, weight loss and marriage. Working on mental health is not only out of question, but also an alien concept for them that comes in with a lot of whys and hows — in short, completely unnecessary because it is in my control. My brother thinks he understands mental health and me, but when I try to make him understand, he still believes that it is up to us to control our mind. Even the thought of discussing with them is petrifying me.

Then I calculate the aftermath. I am dead. My parents are tormented. My brother is extremely angry with me for doing this to him and our parents. And to be honest, dying isn’t easy. I have attempted multiple times in the past. If I do not want them to suffer, what if I take all them with me? That makes me a killer, right? Last night, we all went to a beach with a couple of friends. I love the water. When I was in the water, seeing the sunset, I wanted to walk towards the Sun until I disappeared. I even told my friend to send my parents to India safely. Perhaps, she might have thought I was being poetic.

When I was in the shower after coming back home, I started thinking about all of it. I imagined the pain and shame they would feel when they would have to face the world that their daughter killed herself or is labelled a psycho because that is what they call a patient with mental illness. I recall the faces of my toddler nephew and niece whose aunt would be labelled as someone who killed herself or was a killer. I was scared. This isn’t me. I immediately messaged my psychiatrist about how I was feeling. Not about suicide and killing, of course, but about the juggling thoughts in my mind and not being able to understand them. I also scheduled a session with my therapist.

I was anxious at night but somehow managed to sleep. I did not wake up in a very good mood the next morning. All these thoughts were recurring in my mind when I saw myself in the mirror. The moment I entered the living room, I saw my parents looking at me and the thought that crossed my mind was, “Kaise sehen kar paayenge yeh log, inhe to maarna hi padega (How are they going to handle it? They have to die, too),” and in the next moment, I was having dinner with them.

I was drying Maa’s hair so that she doesn’t catch a cold. How can I live so normally with them while having thoughts of murdering them? Even though, those thoughts haven’t manifested yet. I consciously know that I have these kinds of thoughts and they just come and go. But can I be trusted? Are they even safe with me?  Like I said, this might be the beginning of my end.

Note: The article was originally published here

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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