Being someone else’s survival guide

As anticipated, today was fairly busy.

It got even busier with having to do some photography work in my office, but it is what it is. I did manage to get a bit of downtime in, playing a half-hour of Spider Man on the Playstation and watching an episode of SWAT that had Lynn and I both going WTF by the end of it. It was a good episode, which set the hook for more to come.

Something else that happened today was, a friend reached out to me, telling me that they had been diagnosed with some traits of Borderline Personality Disorder, and they were feeling lost. We had a good chat via text while I worked on some housework, and I’m hoping that by the end they were feeling better. They said they were, anyways.

The chat with my friend really made me think of where I am in my life. My entire adult life has been challenging, thanks to my mental health diagnoses. From 2013 to 2017 my life was flat-out hell. I think it says a lot about how far I have come, when people are reaching out to me for counsel.

I have to admit, I am honoured that people reach out to me, though I do feel somewhat unqualified, because I feel like I’m stumbling my way through life myself. However, upon reflection, I know that I have been through hell, and survived. Despite the fact I still struggle, I am a lot more in control of things than I have been in years. It’s taken me awhile, but it’s finally sinking in on me that I do have value.

It’s rare that a week goes by where someone doesn’t tell me how I’ve impacted them, through my stories for the paper or through the openness and honesty in blog. Full disclosure, I appreciate the comments, even if they do make me feel somewhat uncomfortable.

I’m glad I was able to be there for my friend. Going through the illness alone is no fun, and having someone to talk to about it is definitely a big help. I’m glad that my story, and my experience can be shared, and hopefully allow others to avoid the same pitfalls I fell in.

I know that beginning to write was a game changer for me, but looking back, I can’t tell you when the shift in my mindset started to shift. I can’t tell you when I started putting the skills into practise. I remember sitting through groups, going through skills, and thinking that it was a waste of time. I thought that, until I caught myself using them without even thinking about them.

Dealing with mental illness is no fun, and it challenges me every day. That being said, I’m glad I’m at the point where I feel comfortable sharing my story, and having an impact on those around me. There is no other feeling like it.

Kevin

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