How lonely it is to have a mental illness

It’s been forever since I last posted on my blog, but today I had the urge to share a few things with the world — so here I am, again.

For those of you who don’t know me yet, I have an eating disorder and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), which is absolutely no fun. It’s hard for me and for everyone around me, and I completely understand that. It’s even harder for people who don’t suffer from a mental illness to understand certain things, and I also get that.

When I say it’s lonely to have a mental illness, is because most people don’t understand the disease; or they think they do and get anxious to see you get better as fast as possible — which is impossible. When you’re physically ill, you take the medication needed to get better, and you do. But when you’re mentally ill, things are not that easy — or that fast. It’s important to seek help and get the right treatment, but that needs to be done at our own pace. I believe that’s the biggest problem when dealing with someone who has a mental illness: wanting them to get better fast, and getting anxious when they don’t.

Unfortunately, that’s how mental illnesses are. It takes time, it takes a lot of therapy and a lot of mental work in order to change the cognitive distortions happening in our brains. Every little step forward is a victory. People getting treatment can see that very clearly, whereas people seeing things from the outside, don’t. I’m writing all this because recently I’ve heard from people who I truly love that I’m not trying hard enough, and it felt like a punch on my stomach. It instantly invalidated all my efforts, and it almost took away my will to continue the treatment.

Is it easy for them? Of course not, and I know that. I understand how frustrated everyone gets when I fail, or when I take a huge step back. I understand how exhausted they are, and I wish I could get better over night just so they wouldn’t have to feel this way — but I can’t. I’m actually trying really hard here, but I don’t think many people acknowledge that. That’s usually when most people choose to leave — and some of them have. It hurts like hell to be ignored by loved ones, especially when you suffer from BPD.

There’s a very good article that explains all the symptoms of BPD, and the first one is the fear of abandonment. I can’t even start to explain how empty I feel now that my fear of losing loved ones became true. All my head keeps telling me is that it’s all my fault, that I’ve pushed them away. Maybe it’s true, and maybe leaving me behind was the best decision for them. It doesn’t stop me from feeling worthless, though.

Other symptoms of BPD can easily be misunderstood, like for example impulsive, self-destructive behaviours. Drinking, binge eating, gambling etc, can easily be seen as anything else, but not as a symptom of BPD. I know that, because I’ve been told I’m something I’m really not, just because of one of these behaviours caused by my BPD. But how can I say otherwise? The more you say you don’t have a specific problem, the more people will believe you do.

This is all very exhausting. Not only for me, but for everyone who I still have in my life. So I encourage you to read the article I linked to this post, and please understand I’m not choosing to do certain things. Even though it’s hard for you to believe, I AM doing everything I can to get better.

If you’re going through the same thing, share this post with your family and friends. And please, feel free to leave a comment if you think it’s necessary.

I wish you all the best.

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