I’ve got a confession to make. There are times, many times that I can positively say how much I hate myself. I feel like I don’t deserve to be alive. I feel like if I left today, no one would notice. I don’t really matter. I’m not worth it. I tell you this now, not because I want sympathy votes, but because it is the reality that most of us with this disorder face. The hate feels so real. But all of that isn’t true, as much as we feel that it is.
That is one of the hardest things about Borderline Personality Disorder: our emotions are so strong it can dictate our behavior, no matter how much you can intellectually understand your feelings as irrational. There is this overwhelming tension between my head and my heart, pushing and pulling me, as if I were wrestling an angel. I curse the heavens asking, “How could you let my heart deceive me?” My whole life crashes in on me.
Weary, heartbroken and raw, I keep on.
It’s a difficult thing to do, to go against your urges. It’s as if the whole world was conspiring against you, rooting for you to give in to them. But I keep on. I tell myself I matter and that my actions have the ability to create positive change; that my life communicates something no other life can. This is what I do day in and day out. I keep on. It is my reason why. It is my training ground. It gives me a goal.
It tells me that I can rise above all the chemicals in my brain that make me hate myself. No, mental illness won’t hold me down anymore. Somehow, somewhere, I realized that I have a choice: I can either say that this struggle is preventing me from living or I can believe that this struggle is the reason why I am alive.
And so this is my challenge. This is my manifesto: Mental illness isn’t an excuse to deny ourselves from being remarkable. Mental illness is the reason to be remarkable. There is something incredibly hopeful about that statement. It takes on something within our reach: We all have the ability to be remarkable. No matter that we can’t feel it to be true, we still have the capacity to be it.
Sure it’s not going to be easy. In fact it is probably one of the most difficult challenges I will have to face. How about you? How do you take on your own challenge? It might sound unfair. You might be resistant to the idea. But here we all are, still alive, still fighting, still living in the face of death. Day after day. And if we can do that, what else is within our grasp?
Whatever is ahead of us, know that we are here today, alive — no matter how else we might feel. For it is even through our struggle that we lead worthwhile lives. It is what frees us and allows transformation to happen.
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