**The ideas contained in this post are the opinions of the writer and communicated without reference to supporting documentation. The writer also recognizes that BPD is a disorder that affects both males and females, and uses of “she” or “he” in the communication of ideas are not intended to covey sexual bias. Breakaway MHE Disclaimer
***If nothing else, I hope my thoughts can bring you to a place of extreme decisiveness and determination for taking care of your mental health***
As a person who has been through mental illness hell and back, I have only a few words remaining before I’m done communicating all that I have learned. My experience of mental illness hell was one of the most common of all – Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It is common to both males and females all over the world, much more so than most people will probably ever realize. There are published statistics regarding the prevalence of BPD, such as from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), but my experience living with BPD and assisting others seeking to free themselves of the BPD pattern leads me to believe the prevalence is much more.
Anyone who has genetically inherited emotional sensitivity and high levels of anxiety but never received proper guidance to live safely in such a brain/body apparatus is at risk. People who experience significant trauma at any point in life are also at risk. People with inherited emotion/anxiety vulnerabilities -AND- exposure to traumatic experiences from childhood onwards are at even more risk.
For me and my mental health journey, the most mind-blowing realization has been that I didn’t know (and couldn’t have known) anything about BPD until my late 30’s despite being “highly educated in psychology” and “having healthcare.” In fact, if I wasn’t pursuing a career in psychology and didn’t end up working with people who understood BPD very well and who cared enough to help me, then my guess is I would have never received the information I needed and maybe died an early death and/or lived a mostly dysfunctional life.
I suffered tons and heaped tons of suffering onto others because I didn’t know enough about my mental health to function well!! I was one of many humans guaranteed to fall into potentially deadly mental illness after being raised in a cultural context of near-total mental health ignorance… or to put it more bluntly… mental health retardation.
Even though I experienced the privilege of a white boy raised in the western culture, I still didn’t know what the fuck was going on with my mental health when it became a problem. Others close to me didn’t know anything about mental health either, even though their mental health/relational issues were clearly and regularly evident. And if I fell through the cracks, and they fell through the cracks, then what does that suggest for many others in the world who have less to work with than we did? Will they ever get the information they need? And what about everyone else living a privileged life but who still can’t break the pattern of BPD dysfunction? What are their chances for getting the right information and getting healthy?
***Why hasn’t mental health mattered enough for it to fully enter into the consciousness of society and instill awareness into every developing person who might get sick?***
I have developed reasonable answers to these questions – in my opinion, earned after much learning and experience as both patient and trained therapist/psychologist. I could care less if anyone disagrees with me at this point because I have seen enough, been through enough, and learned and experienced enough to realize the truth about how a capitalist world and mental illness (specifically BPD) interconnect.
Even though emotions are a natural and healthy part of human existence, they are commonly shunned, dismissed, invalidated, mocked and punished – especially by males in western capitalist culture, but by females too. There is little-to-no space allotted for emotions because they slow down productivity in capitalism. Think about it: If you are taking time to work through emotional issues that naturally occur in human life and human encounters, then what does that do to the number of units you can produce, to your available energy to produce, and ultimately to your financial bottom line? It fucks it up and makes you less competitive.
So what has the answer been in a male-dominated/capitalist-driven society? Just this: To shun emotions, dismiss emotions, invalidate emotions, mock emotions, and punish feelings. If feelings even dare to make an appearance during the money-making time, they’re going to get it!!! And if emotions attempt to make an appearance at the end of the day when we are tired after all our money-making labours, they’re going to get it!!!
***Emotions require time and attention that just isn’t available in the reality of capitalism.***
This pattern of shunning, dismissing, invalidating, mocking, and punishing emotions has found its way into institutions and family units all over the world, and thus become normalized. It has become such an automatic and reflexive way of living…. to irresponsibly manage emotions… to not manage emotions at all…. that people have now come to the point of having no idea what to do with feelings, or how mental health issues get started in the first place (especially mental health issues involving emotion regulation, like BPD).
As far as much of the human population is concerned while living in capitalism, emotions and mental health are things that are supposed to take care of themselves. Many even go so far as to dismiss the subject of mental health entirely (proposing that it isn’t even real) – very much in line with their vast and sustained ignorance on the subject. In my opinion, people eventually get so enmeshed with the financial machine that there is not much distinguishing between them as humans and objects that are bought and sold (they as “humans” become phony and empty… sort of like a piece of rubber or plastic).
When capitalism is the dominant way of life and therefore rules the mindset, the mental health consequences that continue showing up in the lives of millions can only be viewed as unrelated to capitalism. In other words, you and your emotions (and mental health issues) are considered irrelevant to the money-making machines. If you do have a mental illness, it is considered your doing (your mess) rather than a consequence of the society in which you live. Those in power (and likewise those living in the upper echelons) will often insist that your illness is due to your weak character and lazy attitude; they will often use the reasoning “If only you had kept to the rules and kept working, then you wouldn’t have mental health issues.”
The heads of capitalism will NEVER take responsibility for their role in mental health issues, even though they do play a role, which is to insist that their financial interests remain supported by every other living creature having less power than them. And because of this belief, they will NEVER seriously consider information from mental health professionals and people like me. Why? Because doing so would mean changing from a capitalist system into something else that is genuinely health-driven – something that doesn’t keep the powerful in positions of ridiculous privilege.
And to be clear, when I say changing from a capitalist system into “something else,” I’m not suggesting socialism, which is often the impulse assumption as soon as it seems anyone appears critical of capitalism. I realize that capitalism has brought myself and others much ease and privilege, but to be real in the pursuit of health and truth requires calling capitalism on its flaws. Capitalism is both destructive and dehumanizing, supportive and rewarding, all at the same time. I honestly don’t know what type of approach to human existence would be better and suitable for all, but something tells me it doesn’t matter because those in power would never allow another way.
If you are surrounded by capitalism, and you want to survive BPD, then you have to radically accept that you live in a world where emotions don’t matter. They don’t matter because they tend to take time away from what could have been more producing and consuming. And even though people may sometimes put on an excellent humanistic show, don’t ever be fooled into believing your emotions and humanity matter while capitalism is the driving force behind the world you occupy. If you do you believe that your feelings and humanity matters to capitalism when in fact they don’t, you will over and over again be sorely disappointed and possibly fall deeper down “the BPD rabbit hole.”
***You and only you can save yourself from BPD after finding the right information on the subject.***
The mental health information you need to survive conditions like BPD has not, and most likely will never be, part of the mainstream curriculum. To set people up for health and well-being on such a grand scale would undermine the money-making machine. The capitalist machine thrives off of illness and vice, and with BPD continually taking root in so many humans everywhere, then the market for millions of products can stay alive – precisely what it (the market, capitalism) wants to do!
Me and you and not very different – not living different lives so long as we are both surrounded by capitalism. Our challenge is to figure out how to live in our bodies when the odds are stacked against us, and in places where our emotions have no place to call home.