We are what we make of ourselves. And our disease is what we present it to be.
If you behave badly and use your mental illness as an excuse, you are helping to propel the stigma of mental illness forward. If I only know one person with BPD and that person makes bad decision after bad decision, drinking, drugging, sleeping around, hurting themselves and all those near them, and then turns around and blames all this behavior on their BPD as if it’s an excuse, as if they can do as they please because they have this disease, then I’m going to assume this is what I can expect from all those who have BPD. I may well be your future boss, lover, friend. This makes it hard for all the others who have this disease but fight every.damn.day to not let it define them prove that BPD isn’t a life wrecker. And I don’t just mean the life of those diagnosed but the lives of those surrounding those diagnosed.
Maybe remission and recovery isn’t about being 100% symptom free. Maybe it’s about having the symptoms so well-managed and maintained that you can fool even yourself into thinking you are symptom free.
And where are those people standing up saying “Look at me! Yes I destroyed so many lives including my own for such a long time. But now? Now! Now I have skills and a sheer determination that I will no longer drown in my diagnosis. I am not my diagnosis, I have my diagnosis!”
Those fighting to destroy the stigma. Those working amazing jobs with respectable careers despite their diagnosis, terrified to let their diagnosis be known because those words could ruin it all, based on the rep of those people making poor decisions and instead of owning up to them, choosing to blame those words. These people need you to stop and look at your actions. I’m not saying that you can automatically stop the actions. But you can choose to own up to what you do, instead of blaming a diagnosis thinking that you can get away with whatever you want now. You can’t. Do you know right from wrong? Then except that you have done wrong. You, the person, said those words, did those things. Not the diagnosis.
I’m not saying I’ve never been guilty of this. We all have at some point. But now? Now I’m on the other side. And if there is one thing I can do from this side, if I get to choose that one thing, then I choose to show those where I’ve been how their actions, and not owning their actions, create the stigma that all those on both sides try to fight.
We are fighting what we, ourselves created.
How’s that working out for you? I have to say, it isn’t working out so well over here.