The human mind is a vast expanse, and a deep ocean. In it exists the thoughts and feelings of a human person. The mind is where the accomplishments of the human starts, and where the most heinous deeds are conceived. It is the greatest ally a person has, and can be the worst enemy a human must defend against.
When I was 12 going on 13, and during the last three years or so I have had to fight against myself. I’ll call it a war since that fight constituted many battles. It is a long war, and it had many casualties on both sides: friendships, trust, days, nights, and dreams. It makes me wish I had to fight a rare bacteria, or physically fight against someone with guns and knives. How do you fight against your own mind?
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?- Jeremiah 17:9, NLT
What weapons are there for me to fight against a mind that does not see a purpose behind getting up every morning? What truths are there that can defend against the deceits in my mind, the deceits in my heart? Why do they pass through me? Why do the good words of others come as whispers that I can barely hear and apply, while the condescending words are so clear and seem to shout?
How could I tell my thirteen year-old mind that I was worth living after encountering peer after peer who made it clear I was no good? When I was young teenager, I had no idea how to answer those questions. I know how to answer them now, I think, yet my mind still turns against me.
That is the reality of mental disorders and illnesses, treated or untreated. The mind is complex and needs to be cared for. With proper care and treatment, it can rally behind the life it was given. Minds that fall ill turn against the body they’re given, and the life they have. It can be one of the darkest places to be in, and it is hard to find one’s way out. Sometimes a properly cared for mind falls a part anyway, and the mind that was not comes out strong and ready to face whatever life can throw at it. There are no rules, and there is no way to predict what can happen. Yet in spite of all that has happened in terms of research into mental illness and disorders, the mind isn’t allowed to be sick.
When a mind is sick no one can see it directly save the person who is experiencing it: No one can see depression weighing down on me, nor the glasses Asperger’s makes me wear when I am in a social situation. All other people see are the symptoms masking themselves deliberate acts of rudeness, and sinful behaviour. People see the anger, impulsive spending, the negativity, and the manipulator instead of symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder. Mental illness cannot justify bad behaviour; for people in the outside world, mental illness isn’t allowed to explain it either.
If only I had a perpetual cold. Most people do not assume I am coughing, or sneezing, on purpose. They assume I have a cold, something is tickling my throat, or I have allergies if it is in the middle of the summer. I would gladly sneeze and cough 365 days a year than lose a friend because I abandoned they could before they could abandon me, or not understanding a joke that everyone else in the room laughed at. I would rather vomit for weeks unend, then spend a minute being screamed at because I spent an hour impulsively buying out a store with what little money I have.
There are so many things I would rather have, and so many ways I would rather interact with people than with mental illness. Someday I look in the mirror, and say I have autism and BPD and I’m okay. Other days I look away from the mirror because I cannot stand looking back at myself and the messes I’ve made. There are days where people tell me I am too hard on myself, and other days where there are people who say I haven’t been hard on myself enough. Who should my head listen to?
I wish I could say I lean towards the people who breath hope, but it’s not true. After years of being bullied, and growing up in a home where anger was the answer to even the smallest of mistakes it is “easier” to be with people who consider me hopeless. It’s easier to take in the anger, be with the person who wants to change me from the inside out, and be with the people who will always take from me instead of giving. Is it unhealthy for me to absorb? It is! It is unhealthy and one would think I would know better than to associate with such people. Yet, I do it.
To meet a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder under the DSM-V, you must show “a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity, beginning in early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following”:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
From the DSM V
I consider people whom most would consider “toxic” my friends. My friends are the ones who are good at ripping me a part. Even though all the writing on the wall says I should wander away from those friends, and not associate with them, I still stay. I often wonder why that is… Do I fear I won’t find new and better friends if I let said people go? Do I fear the reason they’re toxic people is because I’m reading the fear of abandonment into my relationships? What if the person is toxic because I was toxic first?
Well, I should give a clarification: I get those questions provided I actually get to the friendship stage. Often times I do not even get past the first impression. What are the non-verbal signals? What does the voice tone tell me? Are they teasing or insulting me? Am I supposed to take that literally, or was it sarcasm? Why are they looking at me that way- Did I move weird? Did I say something inappropriate?
Those who trust their own insight are foolish,
but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe (Proverbs 28:26, NLT)
Into those questions, into those unknowns have gone many potential friendships. Into such unknown steps online games like SWTOR, Rift, and PokeMMO. Those games remove most of the face-t0-face interactions that are the death of many potential friendships. Yet, I still run into problems with catching the jokes and the tone behind a text. Sometimes I give people the benefit of the doubt, and other times I do not.
Can I blame all my woes on mental illness and mental disorders? No and I do not want to. Unfortunately, I live in a world where it is worse to explain why I act the way I do with mental disorders than it is to say I deliberately planned out means to blow money or purposefully do not get jokes. Yet that is my explanation, and I’m going to keep giving it until the day neuro-typicals see that the mind can be disorderly, and it manifests itself in bad behaviour.
20 By his death,[a] Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. – Hebrews 10:20-22
I know what some of you are probably thinking: You’re a person of faith, aren’t you? Why not ask God to give you guidance and provide insight to socialising?
It’s true, I could ask God for those things. I should ask God for those things. However, I do not think God would simply drop the instruction manual. Sometimes God gives me the right tools and the right people in order to navigate this world. Sometimes God doesn’t give me those things. I do not know why, beyond He could be trying to send a message to “normal” people that says something along the lines of needing to re-write what they consider normative, and leave ableism to the side.
There one sentence that contains more answers than questions. Even then those answers do not give a complete picture. If anything, they ask more questions: Why does God not deal with able people directly? Why does he allow mental disorders with so few mental cures? Should the mind be cured, or should people be more understanding?
So many questions, and so little answers. Thus is the nature of the mind turning against itself. The only thing I can do is fight back with prayer, being with the right people, and taking advantage of living in a country like Canada. Will I be the winner, or will BPD claim my life?
“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:29-30, NLT
I don’t know. What I do know is that regardless of the outcome, there is no human in the world (past, present, or future) who can judge from their high horse. Well, other than Jesus who faced temptations and all other hardships of living the mortal life. And He chose not to judge me- He walks with me instead.
14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. – Hebrews 4:15-15, NLT