Identity: the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
Identity has a simple definition. But what is it really? How do we figure out what one’s true identity really is?
Are you the dreamer? Are you the dancer? Or are you the sick one? Or are you the centre of attention?
One of the criteria in Borderline Personality Disorder is unstable sense of self. The helpguide.org description of this symptom states:When you have BPD, your sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you hate yourself, or even view yourself as evil. You probably don’t have a clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, and even sexual identity.
The entire descriptor can be summed up in one word. Hell. Living with BPD can feel like one is living in hell on earth. I know that for myself, I’ve been a chameleon for my entire life. Trying to fit it. Trying to find my place in the world. I’ve been a chameleon for so long, that I don’t know where I start or where I stop. I don’t know who this “Kevin” person is.
I am starting to find him though. After tons of therapy, tons of time in hospital, and a bunch of questionable career decisions, I am starting to find myself. It has been taking work though. The progress has been painfully slow. But, slow as it may be, it is still progress.
And that is the trick with mental illnesses of any sort. There is no cure. However, with work, with patience, and with support of your family and friends, it is possible to come back from the brink of darkness. It’s not about being fixed. It IS about taking advantage of the ups, and dealing with the downs. It is about finding yourself. Finding the real you.
For me, I am beginning to find the real me in my writing. I find it cathartic. It allows me to get my jumble of feelings in my mind out. It allows me to connect to others in a way I never felt possible.
On a bad day, I still wonder about my identity. I wonder what my purpose is. And that is alright, because on the good days I know who I am. I am a healer. I am a friend. I am a husband. I am all of these things and more, even when my mental health doesn’t allow me to see it.
I hope this helps whoever reads this, be you an experienced veteran of this mental health fight for your life, or someone who has just been recently diagnosed. Do the work. Take the medications. Find an outlet. Find your identity. You never know what is just over the next horizon.
Thanks for reading,