Friday, 17 February 2017

'Low Key Mental'

It might sound strange, or even offensive to some, but a term I've used to describe myself many times is 'low key mental'. Honestly, all I mean is I'm classed as a 'high functioning borderline', I'm not a serial hospital stayer, for the most part I can keep my self harm urges under control, I sleep well, I can maintain friendships (mostly). Of course, I'm not working, and am currently relying on ESA (Employment Support Allowance) and am terrible at relationships so in that respect I guess you could say I'm not all that high functioning, but for the most part I am.

In the time since being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder 2 and a half years ago I have been allocated three different psychiatrists, much to my dismay. "Is it me that drives them away from their job?" "Am I really that awful?" Obviously I know that’s not the reasons I've been passed from pillar to post, but irrational me likes to pipe up and say "Hey, you're an awful person!" once or twice a day and its hard not to believe that when it's all you hear some days.
A post from my personal Instagram a few days
after the appointment
I'm bringing this up because I want to talk about something my new psychiatrist said to me on our first meeting a couple of weeks ago. Her words were "you're high functioning so I don’t want to assign you a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) or a Care Coordinator." When she first said this to me I agreed, of course I don't need these things, I've managed on my own until now and there's no reason why I still can't. But on reflection, I felt more and more upset and a little angry by this, not because I feel like I'm entitled to this help, but why is it that just because I'm high functioning does that mean that I don't need support? This means that I am completely alone with no support offered (apart from a crisis line that is in my experience and opinion beyond useless) between appointments, which with my psychiatrist can be anything from between 3 and 6 months apart. I don't start my new group therapy course for a number of months due to long waiting lists, but hey, I can occasionally get dressed and leave the house so obviously I'll be just fine!
She also suggested getting a job. This is a controversial one, because I know getting myself a job and getting back out there will be beneficial to me in the long run, but right now I can't guarantee that I'll mentally be able to get up and go to work everyday, which will cause me a lot of stress as I can't stand to let people down. Honestly, at that point I felt a bit attacked, like I was being looked down upon for not working, or not being able to work. I'll tell you now, I HATE being on benefits, I feel like a cheat and a fake. I would love to be able to hold down a full time job and start my career like every other person my age is doing, but unfortunately its just not that simple.

I have often felt discriminated against by professionals and mentally ill people alike for not being 'ill enough' which sounds crazy, but it happens and its not okay. People will say "how can you perform when you suffer from anxiety? Surely you're not that bad" or "you look great, I'm so happy to see you turning a corner". They don't realise that performing is what keeps me sane and grounded, some people with anxiety issues go out partying every weekend without a question but would be terrified by the idea of standing on a stage, but just because for me it’s the opposite it comes with a lot of judgement. Similarly, I might have put my best makeup on and my best clothes because I felt like feeling pretty that day, that doesn't mean I'm suddenly cured and it certainly doesn’t mean I'm 'not ill enough' to get the help I deserve.

I feel like this post has became a bit of a pity party, I totally didn’t mean it come across that way, but its something I've had to face for a long time and its something that isn't really talked about. We shouldn’t have to strive to be incompetent enough to get help, if anything, in my eyes the people who make the effort to help themselves deserve it more (not that those who are low functioning don’t deserve help because they 100% do) because they are willing to put in the work and use the sparse NHS resources in an effective way.

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