As I am on an internet-free holiday right now I asked you to send me questions back in March so I was able to prepare some posts and you amazed me by sending lots of ideas 🙂
So here we go!
How do you deal with lack of understanding?
Really depends on the context. For example it’s important for me that my partner or close friends understand why I think the way I do which doesn’t mean that I expect them to be able to relate to everything. So let’s say there’s a conversations about self-harm, for instance, I often hear the sentence “I just don’t get that!” and always answer with “That’s probably a good sign for your sanity ;)”
On the other hand I don’t really care about what strangers might think – I am lucky to live in a city that is big enough for me to stay anonymous. What I mean is that in large cities people aren’t shocked when you’re wearing unusual clothes, going to therapy, going for walks at night, kissing people of different genders or whatever.
At work I expect understanding when it comes to my way of spending breaks but no consideration when it’s about my performance getting worse due to my state. That might sound like I’m hard on myself but it’s the way I see things. Colleagues don’t have to understand me as long as my performance is fine.
Even though lack of understanding can hurt it is a chance to see who is actually taking me just the way I am (when someone makes completely unqualified remarks I tend to quickly devaluating the person in question). Also I made good experiences with encouraging people to ask questions if they don’t understand something – as long as a reasonable conversation is possible, it’s also possible to avoid unnecessary hurting and I can only recommend (or request) for relatives of mentally ill persons to do some research about the illness; that makes it easier for everyone involved.
What are your experiences with antidepressants?
Very difficult topic, I’m treading on thin ice here. As BPD is my main problem and my last depressive episode happened quite some time ago I am probably not the sort of person where it is easy to find the right medication. I know many people who have found the right thing and are able to live a much more stable/happier life due to their medication.
I personally have only tried one antidepressant (Citalopram) and it didn’t go well. My dissociative states and above all severe thoughts of suicide were really bad with the medication, I felt like a zombie. It might have been different with another agent (or at a different age – important factor when it comes to antidepressants) but the experience shocked me so much that I decided to tackle the (life-long) BPD-problem in therapy and view depression as “just” the comorbidity is was in my case.
IMPORTANT: I do definitely not want to discourage anyone from trying medication. Look for a good psychiatrist, speak openly and try to find out what is working out for you!
How do you recognize a good therapist?
By them talking openly to me, not judging me or putting me under pressure and above all by them asking the right questions. It’s hard to put a finger on this but without the right questions it is difficult for me to get to the core of a problem. Also I think it’s important that I have the freedom to find out what works for me in therapy and that I’m not given a “formula”.
My experience: If you feel that the chemistry just isn’t right in any way – go fo find someone else!