Caught by Surprise

I had a date.

This was a straight up met-online-and-decided-to-get-drinks, which also led to food, stereotypical first date with a guy I’d had minimal {and yet good} conversation with online.

The date went surprisingly and spectacularly well. He looked just like his picture and had a voice that matched his face.We had a few drinks, talked one another’s ears off, and when we’d been there for a few hours and realized the time, we quickly walked through the cold sprinkle of rain to the sushi place next door to appease our hunger.

It was late, we were laughing, and he held my hands while waiting for the food to arrive. His voice is soft, and he doesn’t come on too strong, but has a confidence about him nonetheless.

The date was going so well it took me by surprise. I never expect much to come out of my dates, since I’ve been on one too many bad ones.

He timidly asked if he could at the very least walk me home. Middle of the cold rainy night, he put his arm around me and we walked 10 minutes to my house while he listened to me ramble on about what I can only remember was probably another silly story of mine. He spoke lots as well, but had so much patience for listening to my details, and always probed for a bit more. On the other hand, I was opening up so much but loved every second that he recounted memories or rhymed off facts about himself. Hanging on every detail to his sweet voice and watching his little smile spread over his face when I smirked at him.

I’ve continued to have a difficult time telling people about my BPD. I always found it so easy to talk about my depression and anxiety when I thought they were acute. They were unproblematic because I’d had years to come to terms with them, and they’ve been advocated for so strongly with a lot of acceptance coming from the public. BPD makes me feel like I’m weird, needing to be fixed, and that perhaps I may scare people away because of my misunderstood label. Depression and anxiety had become a part of who I am. BPD makes me feel like now I’m someone else. Someone people may not like.

BPD scares me. So I assume it will equally scare those who find out about my diagnosis away from me.

When we got to my place he came in, and as we were talking half asleep, kissing intermittently, his gentle hands caressing my hair, I felt safe and warm and cozy. Something about him didn’t make me feel like I had to be anyone else, and as though he really was a good guy I could trust.

Then, he said something that sent me spiralling into a lot of self-doubt and anxiety. He mentioned his family history of mental illness, and how he’d avoided that “crazy”.

I was repulsed by the choice of word, scared he would judge me, and no longer felt safe. I was scared to out myself, but didn’t want this guy in my house if he had such degrading¬†opinions of people with mental illness’. But then, the story changed. He followed up his comment with a sympathetic narrative about helping out those who have struggled, and wanting to be there for them. His word choice was not meant to be mean, but perhaps an ignorance towards how that may make a person feel. The details of his sweet story had me decide I needed to open up. Otherwise, how would I know how he actually felt?

I told him about my diagnosis, and his response was to pull me tighter, kiss my forehead, and tell me that no matter the label he loves my personality. That he didn’t see anything wrong with me, and that it’s ok. My body immediately relaxed, and I couldn’t have ever imagined a better response {may I remind you this is the first date?!}.

We have since had date two – we stuck to tea this time around, and he was just as sweet as the first time around.

I don’t know where this will lead, and don’t have any expectations, but I must say – when I do meet the right person, this is exactly the reaction I would love to have replicated every damn time. Everyone deserves a person accepting of who they are and without negative judgement. Even those with BPD.

Graduation and the completion of my degree

I’ve struggled with university since my second year.

In first year everything was wonderful. A new city, schedule, and exciting friends. I didn’t have many worries, because every experience was full of joy and wonder. I was living on campus, surrounded by people who loved me and whom I grew to love as well. I thoroughly enjoyed my new classes, and everything I read kept me busy. The schedule was set, and I was all good to go.

As of second year, everything changed. My friends were all dispersed, my schedule changed from day to day, which left me unsettled in my classes and up in the air in my free time. I couldn’t plan the way I once had. It only got worse from there.

While there were moments of joy, for the most part my memories reflect a difficulty connecting with people, staying focused on school work, shitty summer jobs, and zero motivation to finish my classes. I was still getting good grades, but the anxiety was the only thing propelling me forward. The potential of failure pushing back at me, scaring me into place.

I knew there was something wrong, and I worried about being able to finish my degree.

Now, at the end of my fourth and final year, I’m struggling to finish everything. My grades have suffered, and I’ve had to fight for accommodations with my school work. I missed the majority of my classes this term, and I’m behind on 5 papers.

Unfortunately, my diagnosis came too late to be able to preemptively get me what I needed to finish with a bang.

I’m still hoping to graduate next month, and that my professors will aid me in getting the grades I need. For right now, I can only take it one step at a time, and believe that I still have that drive to succeed within me which pushed me through the last 4 years of this gruelling degree.

Home for the Holidays

It’s been difficult.

I opened up straight away to three friends after being diagnosed. That same day, I had to get it off my chest, so I went to those who have been spending the most time with me lately, who are reliable, good people.

“Their support for me felt like a weight lifted off my chest, but also like an anvil balancing on the edge of a cliff, waiting to crush me at any moment if they broke my trust.”

While their support was and has been incredible, with one person in particular doing so much research on the disorder that his knowledge has allowed him to become an anchor in my everyday, I’m still struggling a lot to understand this new definition attached to my person.¬†

I only opened up to my parents about the disorder this weekend.

We’ve always been close, and I’ve always been open with them about the ongoings of my life. Since finding out about my BPD, I’ve been keeping more from them. I’m unsure about how to cope with the newness of this disorder myself, little alone deal with being treated differently if they think they have to change their every movement around me.

Since opening up sparsely they’ve been supportive, but I don’t know how to manage their expectations or offer them the information they need to be able to help me out.

It’s been strange, but I assume that with time, figuring out a proper treatment regime, and learning more about myself, I’ll start to feel more comfortable – as will they.

“You want some feedback, I suppose”

The words sang from her lips as she adjusted her glasses in her hands.

“You have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder stemming from your perfectionism and issues of abandonment”

These words hit me harder than any song ever had. Her words flitted in the air like some kind of insect species that had never been so beautiful and cruel all at once. There was a lifting of heavy weights out of my body, a freeing of sorts that occurred when I realized that I was not crazy. I was not hopeless. I am able. I was just misdiagnosed for seven years of therapy. In the same moment, I had so many questions. How did this woman know so much about me with such little information? Did I fit the mold so well?

My psychiatry appointment ran for two hours, and the assessment completely changed my life. On March 30th, 2017, I found out that my depression and anxiety, which I had so openly discussed and used as a platform for my public mental health education, were symptoms of other underlying issues that went hidden for so long, but explained so much. The majority of my personality was being described to me by a woman I did not know. She had gathered her information and made these conclusions that blew my mind within minutes. I hoped and prayed for a cure, and when she finished without any one true solution, I responded with a determined:

“So, what should I do? I mean, where do I get the help I need to get better? I just, well, I just want to be able to get myself better”

To which she saw irony, and chuckled softly and kindly about the perfectionist in me who wanted to best be able to accomplish the task of fixing herself.

This blog is not a manual, a how to, or even a personal diary. It’s more of an “I’m confused, lost, and want to keep track of my progress, because every step counts”. So here it goes. This is the beginning.