The word “illness” in mental illness

Today marks fifteen years since Rish and I got together.

Our 15th anniversary.

We went to the park, and talked.

Through a lot of things.

There is some brightness in the future,

even if it is so distant.

A word that keeps coming up is illness. As in, that’s a part of your illness, a characteristic that is common in people with your illness. That sort of things. Maybe I struggle with the word because it still feels like a cop-out. Saying I have Borderline Personality Disorder, and that this is an ‘illness’ not just having a wonky personality, or being an impulsive bitch at times.

Yeah, it probably comes down to a lack of self compassion sometimes.

Maybe if I could be lenient on myself, then my feelings would follow?



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20 comments on “The word “illness” in mental illness

  1. I think the word ‘illness’ can be looked at in a positive way. Illness is something you can recover from. You are not defined by your mental illness, although you may currently have one. Think of everybody you know. Is there anyone you can think of who has their shit completely together, all the time? We all have SOME level of mental illness in some form for some of the time. BUT… You are Fiona, the speech therapist with kooky style, who the kids love. You are Fiona, Aunty Fiona. You are Fiona, friend to many. Whereas you’re stuck with a wonky personality ;-)

  2. Happy anniversary to you both!

    From reading this, I get the sense that you can definitely be someone who is hard on yourself. I completely understand. I am too.
    Mental illness has such a stigma about it, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are a living, breathing, human being with feelings and emotions, just like everyone else. I’m used to living with the stigma too, as I have Panic Disorder. I still have days where I feel embarrassed. And weak. So very weak.
    Fingers crossed that we can one day accept ourselves for who we are, ‘illnesses’ and all.

    Sending big FYBF hugs

  3. It definitely sounds as though some self-compassion is in order Fiona, and try to hold on to that future brightness, distant as it may seem.
    Also congrats on fifteen years. xx

  4. I don’t think it’s a cop out. It’s a time for recovery, reflection and learning to relax and feel comfortable in your skin again. You will get there. Just give yourself time.
    Happy 15th anniversary x

  5. the only problem is it’s not just a temporary illness it’s *life* … it can be treated but it never really goes away .. I always said I wanted a brain transplant.. … hrmmm.. but we think you’re epic cool no matter what.. and you’re always welcome here **hugs** (sorry, not coherent, Christmas party today, lots of drinks heh!)

  6. I don’t have a mental illness but some close to me do. Yet I don’t feel qualified to know quite what to say. I do know for me in certain situations, I’ve had to try and learn to be kinder to myself, let go of certain expectations and accept some things are what they are, where I can’t change it. Fighting and resisting just leads to more stress. Maybe being kinder to yourself is an important part of your adjustment and acceptance process. In any case, Fiona, I wish you well.

    Visiting via FYBF

  7. BPD is seen as a death sentence or a uncurable condition by too many practitioners. I’m on that spectrum myself, and lots of talking with my mum (who is a psych nurse) didn’t really help.

    It’s really hard to get to get treatment out of the acute system. They’re simply not built for chronic conditions.
    There is such stigma for anyone with this diagnosis. It can be literally a one way ticket to be not taken seriously by your medical professionals ever again.
    It helped me to look at it this way -BPD is not an illness inasmuch that you can take a pill and get better. Your thoughts and feelings are real, though we are not the best equipped to deal with them (and no-one who has experienced depersonalisation or depersonalisation would disagree how how hard it is to relearn to trust yourself).
    What some people call it is emotionally delayed development, and DBT is really as awesome as they say IMO.
    It’s a long road but remember that there’s nothing wrong with you, your thoughts feelings and opinions matter, and that there is nothing that you have “done” that you have to seek constant atonement for… It’s about settling down and taking care of yourself for the first time now.

What do you think?