2 years ago. This was very important to me.
2 years have passed. It is still important to me today.
I am eternally grateful for those who held my hand that day because it was one I will never forget and one that makes me always think twice before saying anything to anyone about myself.
I have a habit of opening up, letting people in and getting hurt by those who judge me. I wear my battle scars proudly and I share my life story with everyone who will listen in the hopes of helping them.
Recently I was invited to a conference to discuss recovery housing. It blew me away how many people actually want to listen to the story of someone who, 15+ years ago would have benefited from a form of housing that supported mental health or addiction recovery. It was empowering to be in rooms where, today, people that need help are being helped. Being there and opening up to people, those I consider friends and colleagues, was something I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be able to do, without being judged, belittled or stigmatized against.
Sadly, being hurt and judged is something I have become accustomed to experiencing. However, it is my decision how I act upon that hurt and judgement. You see, while knowledge is power, it also yields a double edge sword that can hurt me and those around me.
When I have taken the Briggs-Myer personality tests in the past I have been considered a “Consul” or ESFJ. When I read through what the description is, I tend to agree with a lot of it, but choose to disagree with a lot of it as well. I love people, this is true and social situations both intrigue me and scare me.
I have borderline personality disorder. Most think this means I have a split personality – I don’t, that is a different diagnosis. I have spent hours in countless therapy sessions and gone through an array of DBT Skills classes to get to where I am at 39. I have also been diagnosed as ADD, which for me came on at a late age. Both of these combined led to a pretty rough past life and one that, in some instances, I am not proud of.
You see, the plus side to my personality type and my mental health diagnosis is that I am aware. I know what my strengths are and I know what my shortcomings are. Sometimes I can stop myself before doing/saying something and sometimes I can’t. So, while I believe sharing is caring – sometimes it isn’t.
When I say my story isn’t over, it’s because I am not going to continue to be ashamed of myself and my life. I chose to live it freely and do the best I can for everyone involved. Will I keep making mistakes, sure. Sometimes I will hurt myself and others in the process, but I won’t use my mental health diagnostic code as an excuse or my scapegoat.
Like me, love me and walk with me or walk away.
My story isn’t over.