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 to push anxious thoughts out and comforting thoughts in

Anyone who has anxiety knows how difficult it is to stop worrying. We have thoughts that hit us with full force no matter how happy we were minutes before!

This is something I struggled with for many years and I never realized how debilitating it really was until I received treatment for my anxiety. Apparently a side effect of my medication was anxiety! Meds cannot always be the be all end all when it comes to mental health but they definitely help and are an effective treatment plan. But even if we do take medication for anxiety, it doesn’t mean the anxious thoughts and obsessive worrying goes away completely.

Here are some ways to combat anxious thoughts.

  1. Validate your anxiety/anxious thought.

Validate yourself. Tell yourself that your feelings count and own what you feel. If you struggle with this, talk to someone you trust who can validate what you’re feeling. I find it helpful when I write it down.

2. Determine why you are feeling what you’re feeling.

It’s good to break your anxiety down and determine the root cause.

3. Identify solutions that will help ease your anxiety.

There is always a solution. Try to find one that will work for you.

4. Try to step out of your comfort zone (if you can).

Compromising is good. I find it’s good to push yourself a little bit so you can try and overcome what is causing you anxiety, but know your limits.

5. Be patient and kind to yourself.

Don’t beat yourself up, we all experience anxiety and worries. You can’t expect to have everything figured out. Time will make it all easier, just be patient.

  6. Tell yourself “I will get through this!”

You can do this. Believe in yourself and know other people have been where you are.

7. See a therapist.

If you are really struggling counselling goes a long way. Therapists can give you coping skills so you can recognize and combat anxious thoughts.

I hope these seven tips will bring you good vibes and luck when you face your anxiety.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have support and professional help through these difficult times. We all have been there, so don’t be hard on yourself or get frustrated with your anxiety. You will figure it out. It took me awhile to get through my anxiety and find what works for me, but I finally found the right coping skills for me.

Let’s embrace our worries so we can push them out. We can’t get better if we ignore the problem. Mental health cannot be ignored. We need to bring awareness and mindfulness to ourselves when we experience anxiety, it’s the only way we can learn to let go.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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.