“Why do you blog?”
I’ve been asked this question quite a few times. Or “Why do you blog about the things you do?” Different times my wife has told me that the content of my blogs, or my Instagram posts scares people. It makes them uncomfortable. They don’t know how to respond. They’re scared to comment or say anything. They don’t want to make things worse. To these concerns… To those of you who share these sentiments, I’m sorry…but not sorry.
I’m sorry if I offend you. I try and keep my content clean and for the most part only limited in description, but I know at times emotions show more than other. Fear. Anger. Hate. So if I say things that offend you, I am sorry. But I am not sorry for making you uncomfortable. Discomfort and naivety go hand in hand. By no means do I consider myself an expert on mental health. I wouldn’t even consider myself an advocate, although that is something I am working at. All I know is that a year ago I knew next to nothing about mental health. I had no interest. I turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the subject altogether. It made me uncomfortable, so I avoided it. And it is for that that I am truely sorry. The fact that I was so caught up in the matters of my own life that I failed to recognize the volume of people that struggle and fight through mental illness of some sort every day. It’s embarrassing. And this past year has been eye-opening to say the least.
Like I said, a year ago mental health was not even on my radar. I had always struggled with anxiety and depression, but I never connected them to “mental illness”. I thought it was just something that everyone dealt with, and I just didn’t deal with it as well as others. I never thought something was “wrong” with me. I self-harmed, but I kept it very hidden. I’m quite sure that nobody was aware of my situation growing up, but mental health was pretty much a nonissue then as well. As I grew older I learned to cope in different ways. I developed insecurities, so I was very unwilling to open up. I learned how to say just enough, to open up just enough that no one would question anything, but never enough for anyone to get to know me. I got to be extremely untrusting, which is where I still am today. I was able to present myself as being social, without having to divulge anything personal, or make myself vulnerable. I picked areas I was willing to reveal and open up about myself, and I’d lay them out completely. This gave the impression I was an open book. I wasn’t hiding anything…so you can trust me, and I’ll trust you. I mastered this skill, and today I still am stuck in that game. Before last summer I would bet very few of you would have expected there to be anything “wrong” with me. And if it wasn’t for me being so public and in your face about things, you likely still wouldn’t know. And that, right there, is the incentive for this blog. My motive and my mission. So I guess that sort of makes me an advocate…sort of.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie A Perfect Storm, but that’s what last summer was in my head. It was like a whole handful of stresses peaked at the same time and it was like tnt in my mind. There was work stuff, there was personal stuff, there was financial stuff, and there was stuff that I didn’t even realize at the time was even stuff. Because I kept my life so private (I can literally count on one hand the people I’ve been willing to open up to) but because I kept so private, I had no one but my wife to talk to. There’s so much that I just bottled in. So much. I didn’t process. And as summer went on things were building up pressure, and I was struggling to just try and ride it out. I got put on antidepressants part way through the summer and this was the first I really acknowledged there was a problem that needed addressed. Then there was the Robin Williams death that really hit me hard…that is when I started realizing that this isn’t something that’s just going to go away. This is something that I’m still going to be dealing with in thirty years. And it was not too long after this when the top blew off of things. And when it blew, it blew.
I had been cutting myself a bit through the summer…whenever things got too chaotic in my mind I learned long ago that pain cleared the cobwebs. But the night it blew I ended up in ER at RUH with cuts to my arms, chest, face, and throat. I was admitted to the Dubè Centre and it was there that I was diagnosed BPD, and later officially diagnosed with Narcissistic Borderline Personality Disorder with severe anxiety and depression. I’m now in counselling up to ten days a month. I’m fairly heavily medicated, which I hate. Life now is so completely different in so many ways. I’ve had multiple hospital visits, and learning how to safely cope is an ongoing challenge. There’s very few areas of my life that are not heavily effected.
Living with an “invisible illness” is something I don’t know if I’ll ever completely come to terms with. It’s hard, because from the outside no one sees anything wrong. I’m smart, and I’m proud, so I hide everything as much as I possibly can. That’s where this blog is therapeutic for me. It forces me out of my comfort zone, and keeps me accountable to doing so. I know there’s people that think I’m “faking it” or ” milking it”. To those people, in my mind I say “eff-you”. Between meds and therapy and days off work my “faking it” costs my family over $2000/month. I can think of many, many things I’d rather do with that money than sit in therapy and live medicated. But that’s life, at least for now.
So this is where I’m at. If I offend you with my posts… If you block me or unfriend me I’ll completely understand. But I’m not sorry for making you uncomfortable. Mental health, like any other health problems, is an uncomfortable topic. Stats are staggering. I guarantee you know many people directly effected by fairly severe mental health issues, either themselves or people close to them. I encourage you to educate yourself rather than ignore the issue. Here, I challenge you to learn about mine. Borderline Personality Disorder. Google it. You’ll see you have nothing to be afraid of. No reason to be concerned. But the illness, unfortunately, is real.
Thanks for reading. I love and appreciate the support that I’ve received over the last months. Please, send me a message or comment if you’d like to know more. As always, please Feel free to share.