There are a lot of subtleties involved in growing up with a psychiatric illness that don’t often get talked about. The news covers cases of severe psychosis when a violently ill person ends up in jail; the most apparent symptoms of depression (the “common cold” of mental illness) are gathering more and more attention on social media; even the most specific books on particular psychiatric disorders only scratch the surface of the complexities of actually living with those diseases. The common factor in all of these scenarios is that they only spread knowledge of the most basic or most intense aspects of having a mental illness. The subtleties get overlooked.
That’s why I started this blog. As a person who has suffered from borderline personality disorder from a very young age (if not birth), it’s my goal to report the most intricate complexities of living with a severe psychiatric condition in accessible language. Over the past decade, I have found that my illness permeates virtually everything I experience. Sometimes that’s devastating, but usually it’s just mildly irritating. The devastating effects of BPD (and mental illness in general) have generated the most attention and research. The mild inconveniences, however, often get looked over.
However, it’s desperately important to me that the general masses comprehend not just what mental illness is, but what it is to be mentally ill. What is it that people like me are thinking when we perform the disordered behaviors that so confound the psychologically healthy general public? What is it like for us to know something logically when our emotional minds are screaming at us to believe the polar opposite thing? What does psychosis actually feel like?
How do we get up in the morning knowing how much the day is going to hurt?
Since the foremost goal of my articles is to inform readers’ most detailed – and oftentimes, most taboo – curiosities about living with mental illness, I encourage anyone and everyone to send me their questions about my experience with BPD, depression, and anxiety. I especially welcome the type of question that can’t likely be answered by doing scientific research; rather, I prefer to tell you about the intimate, poetic details of living with a disordered mind.
So please, take up arms with me against the silence that still surrounds mental illness.
8 thoughts on “Miss Misery Mission Statement: Shatter the silence around mental illness.”
Thank you for sharing. My mom was mentally ill — over the years I learned to see things through her eyes, to hear with her ears. My 23 daughter has been between BPD and Bipolar I for an awful 5 years and a confusing seven years before that. She’s struggled for so long. Too much got blamed on adolescence, living with a brother with autism and then a family divorce… But it wasn’t that… it was inside her… I’m just learning how to see through her eyes. In large part because of your writing.
You are doing important work. Bless you. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing, and sorry for my late reply. It’s great to hear that your compassion for your daughter has translated into a better understanding of what she goes through. From my research and my own experience with BPD, I can say with reasonable confidence that the prognosis is hopeful for your daughter and others like her. She can name her disease, and therefore research it and integrate it into her sense of self; she has cleared the adolescent stage of growing up, so her biology is generally stabilizing; and she has you to support her and reassure her that she’s not struggling alone. All of those factors are critical for recovering from and managing a disease like BPD.
Thank you for reading. I haven’t written much recently, as my anxiety has been holding me back, but I hope to return to this blog soon.
Thank you for sharing that,you are a very good writer Zoe,easy to read.
Thank you! I appreciate your leaving a comment.
In my experience, nothing is left unaffected by my clinical depression. The start of a day, whether at dawn or midnight, is exhausting. Reasons must be found to exercise even the smallest of tasks, and it doesn’t help when “people” admonish with “Just get over it!” I’ve been reading this blog for years, now it’s time to leave comments. It helps to share. x
Thanks for being a longtime reader and for sharing some of your feelings. I totally agree that sometimes – too often – depression touches every last aspect of being alive. Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum; our decisions, emotions, and interactions are usually connected like a giant spider’s web. Pulling on one strand sends vibrations through all of the other ones. Depression knows how to manipulate that web so that every last fiber in a person’s life feels the effects of its presence. When that happens, it’s understandably hard to get out of bed. I agree that you can’t “just get over it”. Anyone who says that is tragically under-informed about the medical nature of mental disorders.
I hope you continue to benefit from reading this blog, and that you are able to find other places in your life to share about your emotions as well.
Just found this blog – as someone who is also mentally unwell, a lot of what you’ve written resonates with me.
Just a question – and I’m not sure if this is the right place to ask this – how open are you about your problems with your family?
Do you ever hold back in your writing here because of what your family might think, particularly things like sex, drugs abuse etc?
That’s a great question (and this is a fine place to ask it). The answer is yes, I hold back quite a bit because I know my family reads this blog. I can’t talk about anything too private or uncomfortable. Sex and drugs, as you mentioned, are just two examples of topics that are relevant to my writing, but I can’t mention them in a personal context.
I also have to be careful when I write about interactions that I observe among my family members. They often say things that spark ideas for essays, but there’s no way for me to write those essays without breaching their anonymity or calling them out in an unflattering light.
I’m happy to hear my writing resonates with you. Thanks for commenting.