She’s my (Borderline) PERSONality Companion…

My best friend Christin and I have shared many things over the years. Fun and laughter, gum and icebreakers, and let’s not forget 12 minute run tests in gym class. You name it, we did it together. I just never expected that we would share the same mental illness.

Christin and I were both diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in our 20’s. It’s also getting well known as Emotional Intensity Disorder. There is a lot to this illness but overall it just means people with BPD experience emotions more intensely than others.

Although it’s been a long road for both of us, having each other to talk to has been a great support. She is the Cristina to my Meredith, “she is my person”. Or what I like to call my Borderline PERSON(ality) companion.

She totally understands what I go through, and I her, but even though we have the same illness, we function and cope very differently and have had different journeys.

Christin was born in Nova Scotia but grew up in British Columbia. When she was 12, her parents, along with her two younger brothers, moved back to the east coast to be closer to family. Growing up, her parents always kept photos of Nova Scotia in their home, but now that they have moved back to N.S, their whole house is filled with photos of B.C. I hope to visit her neck of the woods some day!

Christin and I became friends in the 8th grade. We were both so similar and clicked right away. We spent so much time together that we became those friends who could read each other’s minds! She always knows what I’m about to say. It’s totally weird.

We always would talk for hours whenever we had a sleepover. Gushing about our latest crushes and things that happened that week (but it mostly we talked about boys).

Christin had a wonderful upbringing with a very loving family but from a very young age she experienced horrible anxiety. It initially started with sleep anxiety but then she was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, all before she was a teenager.

She would often stress about her grades as she was a perfectionist, but she always got A’s! There was no reason for it, but yet there it was.

People with BPD often feel emotions more intensely than most people, because of this Christin and I were both often pegged as “sensitive.” Christin especially felt upset about that label because she thought her feelings didn’t count, and I could tell it made her feel uncomfortable in her own skin. This happens a lot to people with BPD because the key to our recovery is when we feel validated. It doesn’t mean we are always right when someone validates us, it just means our feelings count and are understood.

Christin struggled with up and down moods for many years. We both did, and because of our struggles we lost touch for some time. We both thought we were alone.

I ended up transferring to the same university as Christin when we were 20 years old. I had luckily taken 10 months off to recover, but Christin struggled in silence. She ended up withdrawing from university to take time to figure out what she wanted and needed.

She enrolled in an Occupational/Physio Therapy Assistant program and graduated in a year with flying colors. She even got a job in her field working in a senior care home, and her clients absolutely love her! She even got certified so she can administer medications.

She persevered through all odds and became a success, all on her own. She also had love and support but everything she has accomplished, that’s on her.

You would never know that Christin had mental illness as she is the bubbliest, funniest and most loving person I have ever met. She has a very contagious laugh and always has outrageous stories. She is definitely the entertainer of our group (she should have been on broadway).

Christin’s life has not been perfect, but whose life is?

We all face struggles whether it’s mental illness or not, but the only way to find happiness is to persevere and find what works for us and determine what we want from life.

Christin and I probably won’t have it all figured out, but at least we have each other and close friends and family to help us through.

Keep your friends close, you never know who may need you the most.

Thank you to Christin for letting me share her story.

Mental Health https://www.mental-health-in-mind.com/

How I Conquered Mental Illness to Succeed in University and How You Can Too

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I have been featured as guest author on Road To Recover.org. RtoR offers guidance, support and information on the best practices and providers in recovery-oriented mental health care.

I wrote about my journey with mental illness and how I persevered and completed my university degree.

You can read the article here: https://www.rtor.org/2018/10/11/how-i-conquered-mental-illness/

I have been battling mental illness for over 10 years now, but I have never let it stop me  from following my dreams and accomplishing my goals . Having Borderline Personality Disorder may sound scary to people, but the disorder doesn’t mean I have split personality or that I’m unstable or dangerous. It just means I feel emotions more intensely than the average person. Sometimes it’s hard if I go through a sad time but on the flip side I have very high compassion/empathy. There is always ups and downs with every physical or mental ailment. If you find yourself questioning someone because of their illness, take the time to research and learn more. That is the only way to fight stigma.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

Time’s up! Small Ways To Let Negativity Go And Embrace Positivity And Peace Of Mind

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We’ve all been there. We have a bad day or something inconvenient happens and we immediately vent and share this annoyance with anyone who will listen.

We call our best friend or our mom and say “I HAD THE WORST DAY!” It goes on and on, all day, and maybe even all week. We take something negative, something we didn’t want to happen to us in the first place and relive it over and over.

Doesn’t this sound strange? Why do we want to relive such situations?

A good family friend and I spoke about this kind of negative behavior and he said he will often ask people who vent to him “How many times have you told this story today?” He says everyone he asks that question to is always shocked.

I know when I have done this in the past I end up feeling exhausted and bitter however I keep channeling that emotion. I realized this and I decided to stop telling the story.

I think it is good to vent maybe to one person if you need to, and more so when it’s fresh. Holding onto that negativity and waiting to tell the next person is unnecessary and not good for inner peace.

I’m sure you’re thinking about times you’ve done this, and that’s OK! We are human, we are social beings and we like to express ourselves. But when do we draw the line?

You must also be identifying specific people in your life who seem to do this constantly. Maybe they like the drama of it all, but deep down, I can tell you, they are not truly happy. This type of behavior is bullying behavior. We are bullying our psyche. And bullies are never happy people.

I challenge you to recognize when you do this and stop yourself. Embrace the positive, let go of those inconveniences and see the good in your day, week, month or year. Life is what you make it. We have all the power.

If you see someone else who is retelling the same negative story, ask them, like my friend does, “How many times have you told that story today”? Sometimes all it takes is self-awareness for overcoming negativity.  It all comes down to being mindful. Remember to take a step back and reflect and above all change your mindset. You’ll be happy you did.

The Key to Mental Illness Recovery

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Since creating my blog and website, I have had the opportunity to connect with people who also experience mental illness. Some of these people I have never met, and others are people I’ve lost touch with and since re-connected.

It’s amazing to hear from these individuals, who all have their own story to tell. Although they may experience similar mental health conditions, they all have had different journeys and perspectives and it’s incredible to hear how far they have come and how they have persevered.

Having a community like this is so important and key to recovery. I think the most difficult thing about mental illness is that people tend to feel so alone. But yet there are so many people out there who are going through the same thing. That’s why I am writing this blog, and sharing my website, because I really want people to know they are not alone.

If you are having a rough time, connect with others. Gain insight from them, and share yours as well. By doing this compassion will shine through and hopefully will help you to develop compassion for yourself as well.

Support is available. All you have to do is reach out to your community and take advantage of the resources available. Don’t be afraid! The community is here for you.

Introducing Christin, my bestie.

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Christin and I, age 15, at Toys R Us. Yes we went to Toys R Us (and had a blast).

Have you ever had a friend that you click with so well? The type of friend that knows what you’re thinking just by looking at you? A friend you have a secret language with? Or a friend that just gets you? That’s Christin for me. She and I have been buddies since grade 8, and she’s is the greatest gal ever! She’s silly, hilarious, and has a huge heart. You always know when Christin is nearby because she has the best laugh that makes us all laugh! Even though she is smiley and full of laughter, Christin experiences mental illness just like me and we have very similar conditions. I hope to feature her from time to time on my blog to have her share some of her stories, both the good and the bad. She has a great deal of insight to share and I hope you will enjoy her fun quirky stories and personality. Stay tuned!

How to embrace change when facing a mental illness

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Change can be a very scary and awkward thing, especially if you have a mental illness.  I find I have a harder time adjusting to change than most people because my emotions are so heightened. Even if the change is good it still takes time for me to transition and get my bearings.  The only way I get through it though, is by fully embracing it.

In the span of two weeks I have started a new job, enrolled in a writing class and started volunteering! Talk about a triple whammy! I’ll admit, each change has been terrifying, especially because they are major social changes and new social events cause me to have anxiety. Why did I do this all at once you ask? Because it was time for me to come out of hiding and renter the world. The past few years I have barely done any activities or tried something knew and it was causing me to regress.

I was resistant to starting a new job because I was scared of the unknown and unfamiliarity that comes with a new job. I felt the best thing was to stay put and endure my workplace the best I could. But by doing so I was very unhappy.

I was resistant to joining a class, activity or volunteer organization because I was shy and felt lazy. As a result, I gained 40 pounds and was very bored and lonely!

I was not my usual self at all. It was as if I’d given up.
One day I just snapped out of it and thought “what the heck was wrong with me?” I was not following my mono-mantra at all!

I was so disappointed in myself at first but then I decided to be kind as I am after all human, and ups and downs are a part of life. Even though I write this blog, I do NOT have my life and mental health all figured out. This blog is just as much for my readers as it is for me. I like to go back and read my posts when I’m feeling glum and remind myself that I have the power within me to fight and make a difference for myself and my life.

After my personal intervention, I took a chance and decided to make changes.

I was very overwhelmed initially. So what I did was write down what was stressing me about the changes. When I saw it written down on paper it made me feel better and allowed me to develop a plan to limit my stress as much as possible with these new upcoming changes.

Before I accepted my new position I made a pros and cons list to ease my mind and talked about them with my family. It was great clarity and having family input and support was validating.
When I started my new job I decided to be proactive and make it the best experience I could. So far, it’s been great and I am very happy I took the plunge. New jobs aren’t easy but they are worth it and can open up many opportunities.

In terms of activities, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do in my spare time that would help me grow. I decided to enroll in a writing class because writing is my passion and I wanted to develop more skills. So far my class has been amazing and I finally get to hang out with people who share the same passion.

My volunteer experience with my church has been wonderful and I get to work with my mom which is really nice! Supporting local community charities has been rewarding, and it makes me grateful for what I have.

So if you are stuck in a rut and unhappy with your life, think about and embrace change.

  1. Decide what you want/need to change in your life.
  2. Identify any barriers that will make you resistant to change
  3. Find solutions and coping mechanisms to help you embrace the change and allow you to distress.
  4. Discuss your thoughts and concerns with someone you trust.
  5. Decide what is best for you.
  6. Make the transition as easy as possible.
  7. Have an open mind and see the end goal.
  8. Eat right, exercise and do things you enjoy so you can relax.

Change is so difficult but it is part of our everyday lives. I know I won’t get far in life if I don’t try new things and explore new opportunities. Life is short, we have to make the most of it!