Yesterday I heard another story from someone who told me that her doctor told her that the trauma she endured when she was a child had changed her brain so significantly that she would never change, she would always suffer from intense mood swings, be self destructive, and be "Borderline."
My reaction was emotionally intense, contained urges of destruction, and no doubt the doctor would consider my thoughts to be "Borderline." I was thoroughly pissed off that these interactions are still occurring in the medical system. People are told they are hopeless and treatment will not help. What hurt my heart is that this girl believed it.
You see, I can have a fighting reaction, experience rage and urges to wail and rail against ignorance, stigma and injustice, but I now have a DBT trained mind that whispers, "is this effective?" I can acknowledge my feelings and thoughts without judgment, and then choose the response which will be helpful to me and perhaps to others.
And so I choose to fight with words.
I had planned on starting this blog to promote my book, and I had been mulling over why I want my book to sell. Of course it would be nice to have more money, but when I was asked by Dundurn press to really consider the consequences of publishing my dark story, I had to explore my motivations to write "Borderline Shine." And as the publication date looms only eight weeks away, I notice intermittent feelings of anxiety and thoughts of self doubt. Being clear about my primary motivation for the book and the blog helps me to reduce fear and increase commitment. I am writing to fight stigma, and I am writing to connect with people struggling and suffering with mental health pain. I am writing to fight fiercely for this girl I met yesterday, and others I know and don't know who are drowning in darkness and hopelessness. I am writing to shine a light of hope.
I think that the most effective way to achieve this goal is to "shine real." To allow my voice without filtering my truth because of my fear of judgment or desire for validation. Expect mistakes, inconsistencies, strange twists of reality, and if you can't handle profanity, don't bother visiting this page again.
I will present information I have learned from formal training as a mental health clinician, knowledge from reading and listening to influential leaders and experts, truth from friends and acquaintances, and my own experience and beliefs. I'll tell stories that I think are funny or inspiring and maybe helpful. I'll share opinions and new learnings from the work that I do. There will be dark and light, lovely dialectics and crazy (but true) stories. There will be passion and compassion. This blog won't be prescriptive, and tell people step by step what to do to feel better. There is no single truth or way to find what you are seeking. Even if you don't know (yet) what you're seeking, don't know who you are - what you are - or can't even imagine something different, the fact that you are still alive shows that you haven't given up. Your life is the small ember of hope that perhaps my words can fuel into a blaze, so that you can shine as you were born to.
Be fierce. And be effective. Remember, Dear Readers, that today you can choose to shine.