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Saturday, 4 February 2017

Talking as risk taking...

It was Time To Talk Day 2017 yesterday. I want to write about how talking feels like a form of risk taking for me.

I often feel very nervous to tell people about aspects of my life. I'm more or less fine to mention the word depression and eating disorder, but when it comes to talking about BPD related experiences, suicide, self-harm, it feels like a whole new ball game for me. The risk of rejection feels multiplied by a thousand.

Page from my sketchbook. 

Once when I told a friend about BPD, she said 'oh I know about that. It's like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.' I cannot tell you how offensive I found that! It was too raw for me at the time, and having been recently diagnosed with BPD and I needed that be seen in the context of my whole personality.

Having my new diagnosis equated to a Victorian murderer really didn't help! It made me feel terrible for weeks and months!

I'm in a stronger place now to relate to my own experiences of diagnosis and if I receive a stigmatising reaction, I am much better equipped to deal with that.

Most of my risk taking has paid off. I have usually been met with acceptance and warmth. Many times people have felt more comfortable to talk about their own lives with me too, and it has opened up pathways to closer friendships.

Photo by me of some flowers I was given!

I like the Time To Talk Day campaign, but it needs to be nuanced somewhat. What if you talk and you are rejected? Or your social life as you know it breaks down? Or you can't deal with the embarrassment or shame that you feel as a result of being disbelieved or mocked? Or it leads to the loss of your job?

Discrimination is out there, it's real and it hurts. 

Humanity, understanding and acceptance is out there too- and it's the most wonderful thing. Talking remains today an act of risk taking. It shouldn't be...but I have to acknowledge that it is.

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