Most days, if you were to see me without really knowing me, then most likely you wouldn’t be able to tell that I’m struggling with a mental health issue. By looking at me you wouldn’t be able to tell that I’ve attempted suicide 3 times. You wouldn’t tell that on most days, I struggle to like myself. You wouldn’t tell that for me, I fight day in and day out with the horrible thoughts in my head, thoughts which tell me I’m not good enough, that I’m not worthy, that I’m not loved. You see, I am lied to constantly by my own thoughts, my own brain and on most days, I do okay with discerning the truth from the lies. However, I do have days in which the lies overwhelm me and take me by surprise, throwing me into a dark state of depression. In fact, I am having a day like that today. It’s days like today that I find it difficult to trust myself.
I recently found out that I struggle with symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, and Dissociative Identity. When my therapist and I discovered this, I was in complete shock. I could not believe that for the longest time I have been struggling with these issues. I began to have thoughts of doubt. Pair this with major depression and before long, I wasn’t really sure how I was feeling anymore. I knew I had a problem, I knew that I was struggling, I just didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t want to hear that I was struggling with a personality disorder because didn’t that mean that there was something wrong with me? My personality? I began to question my thoughts. My behaviors. Am I supposed to be feeling this way? Is this really me thinking this or is it my alter? Am I being too much? Is this impulsive behavior? What is considered normal? I began to question my every thought, my every motive, my behavior, and even my feelings. If I couldn’t trust myself, then who could I trust?
Having a mental health issue creates such destruction and chaos within the depths of my mind, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Often thoughts race in my mind, thoughts filled with self-doubt, hatred, self-loathing, harsh criticism, and things I would never say to a child, close friend, or anyone else for that matter. When I feel, I either feel everything too intensely or almost not at all. I struggle to find an in-between. I struggle to discern whether my thoughts are true. Can I believe what I am thinking? How about my feelings? Can I trust my feelings enough to act upon them? With my impulsivity, can I trust my judgment and intuition? I find myself questioning myself over and over and over again, creating a vicious cycle of anxiety, depression, and major mood swings. However, if I am going to recover and learn to manage my mental health issues, I have to be able to have a relationship with myself. I have to be able to trust myself, to know that I am able to trust my feelings, my thoughts, my emotions, and behaviors, and that I am capable of managing this. I had to realize that I am capable of trusting myself to discern between the truth and the lies.
Do I trust myself now? I’m still working on it. It’s a work in progress. Every day I try to do something outside of my comfort zone, and I choose to celebrate the small successes. I am learning that not every thought is a lie. I am learning how to question those thoughts and compare them to the truth of what Jesus Christ has promised. I am learning that I am just as capable of being an effective mental health champion after discovering these struggles as I was before these struggles were ever known. Nothing has changed other than the fact that I now am aware of what I am struggling with, and where I need to go from here. I am still the same, trustworthy person. A diagnosis has not changed that. I am going to make mistakes. I am going to stumble, fail, and sometimes take 2 steps forward and 7 steps back. What matters is that I’m not giving up, even when I so desperately want to. What matters is that God trusts me. He trusts me to trust in Him. He gave me the free will to be able to turn over to Him because He trusts me enough to do just that. He trusts me with the spiritual gift that He has given me. He trusts me to shine His light onto the world. The real reason that I know that I can trust myself is because I’m not walking this journey alone.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
April Brantley, CR Mental Health Team X-Factor