A lot of people seem to benefit from naming their disorders, I’ve even read about therapists who suggest finding a name for an illness in order to deal with it. There are depressions called “Gertrude” out there and eating disorders that go by the name of “Monica”. Also, “Ana” and “Mia” might be examples of this although pages that refer to eating disorders like that are usually very very harmful.
Anyway, I’ve noticed two things about this: One, I can only find people who have given their illness a female name. And although I’m totally aware that relationships with women can be very complicated I think it’s a little mean that nobody seems to think that a mental illness could also have a male name. So if there’s anyone out there who named their illnes “Hubert” or “Richard” – please let me know so that this doesn’t have to be so one-sided 😉
Now, on a serious note, the second thing I’ve noticed is that I only know of people who named illnesses that “started” at some point in their life. Be it depression or an eating disorder – the people who live with those conditions seem to perceive them as something that came into their life and could possibly go away again -something seperate from their identities. So what about those of us who have a personality disorder? Would it make sense to name an illness that is utterly linked to your very personality? Unlike someone who first enocountered depression when they were in their twenties, I don’t really remember a “before”. I don’t know what it means to be totally sane and although it is possible to get better with the help of therapy and maybe even get rid of some symptoms most experts agree that BPD is not curable in the traditional sense. It didn’t start at some point in my life and it won’t just go away later. There is no before and there is no after, it’s a part of me and it’s often difficult to tell where a symptom starts and where my character ends.
This is why I can’t name my disorder – although everyone would be too polite to say that my whole personality is disturbed, my illness is still not a seperate thing that could have its own name. I don’t know if what I say here even makes sense to anyone but I just found it interesting how different people perceive the things they’re dealing with. I can imagine that it’s helpful to name your illness and therefore view it as something that, while it may impact you, is not an inherent part of yourself. I can imagine it makes it easier to remember what it was like not to deal with it and what it might be like when it’s gone again. I’d just love to find a way to apply this to my own illness but whilst I’m able to remember a time before certain symptoms started there are others that seem like they actually are parts of me. So I guess there is no name for my disorder but my own.
Note to all Gertrudes, Monicas, Huberts and Richards out there: The names above (apart from Ana and Mia which aboviously have a background) are just examples and I didn’t mean to insult anyone who happens to be called one of them 😉