Tonight our guest is Kelly the Owner, Writer, and Triumpher of SheTriumphs.com. She was born and raised in MA, but she is currently navigating life in the Midwest. Her blog deals with ending the stigma of mental illness. She was diagnosed a little over a year ago with Borderline Personality Disorder, Severe Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She wants to let others with mental illness know they're not alone, and that their diagnoses do not define us. We have conducted an interview with Kelly.
When did you start your blog about ending stigma of mental illness?
I began blogging in 2009 after I decided law school wasn’t for me, and I needed something to do with my time and writing has always been a passion. However, once I got divorced it was too difficult to put my business out there. I took a break for a while, and then a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with Severe Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder traits, and Borderline Personality Disorder. It was terrifying because I had no clue what it was. After realizing there were probably other people out there struggling to cope or families unable to understand what it is, that’s when I decided to start showing BPD from a human perspective and not a clinical perspective.
I create my blog in January 2016 and I wrote my first post on July 6, 2016.
How do you feel after being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Severe Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Initially I was terrified. I started defining myself by those categories and lost sight of who I was before I knew. Now? I’m starting to accept it because I’m implementing skills I learned through different counseling programs to live my best life. However, if it weren’t for the tremendous mistakes I made and occasionally continue to make then I wouldn’t be sharing my true authentic self.
Why is it important for that people with these diagnoses to know that they're not alone?
It is so easy to fall into a trap when you think you’re alone. In an earlier blog post I wrote of a staggering statistic about suicide and BPD, which is that people with BPD has a suicide site rate of 400 times the national average. The stigma of mental illness, this invisible illness, is still very real but a lot of people are scared to admit there is something wrong because they’re guarded and vulnerable. However, once we find others who are also going through the emotions we can’t explain to people without the disorder then you feel like you are part of this community.
Why is it easy to fall into the trap of mistaking our diagnoses in defining oneself? How do we remind ourselves that the diagnoses do not define us?
When a diagnosis is something that consumes every part of your life it becomes hard to separate it because it is a part of you. It’s very difficult to understand why our brains work differently, but they do. However, BPD doesn’t have to be crippling or lifelong. It is important to maintain a neutral mindset because it is effortless to fall into being happy, depressed or angry. However, just because I am reactive at times does not mean that I am always reactive. I would rather be invited out and have the option to say no then be forgotten about. BPD gives these feelings of loneliness, fear, and abandonment issues that are real and they are strong. Try to be patient with your partner because although you’re the one going through this pain, you can’t lose sight of who you are and who you are with him/jer and your children (if you have any). I can’t urge this enough by allowing yourself to define who you are with your diagnosis then you’re going to spiral down a very dark hole. You don’t want that. Trust me, I’ve been there.
What other positive mental health and lifestyle issues do you want to highlight via your blog?
I want to highlight the struggles and abundances that God has given me. I want to help people who just need someone to talk to, and most of all I want to showcase that there is more to me than BPD. I am strong, compassionate and loving. I triumph, do you you?
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