While looking at headlines on Reddit, I came upon a link to a post from a blogger and talented writer named Jeff Harrell of The Shape of Days blog. In this post, Jeff reveals that he has borderline personality disorder. While he has apparently alluded to having some type of mental problem in previous posts, it has not been a focus of the blog, and this announcement is the first time he has publicly talked about the issue besides to a couple of his friends.
The post is dead honest, heart-breakingly open and was probably incredibly scary to write. In it, he shares what borderline personality disorder is and how it affects him. It’s also a plea for help:
So why am I doing this? Why am I “coming out” like this? The honest answer is that I don’t know what else to do any more. I’ve tried everything I’ve ever known how to try. I’ve gone to the emergency room seeking admission as a psychiatric inpatient. (I do not recommend this, by the way, unless you think spending twelve hours handcuffed to a chair next to a drooling meth addict is lots-o-laffs.) I’ve attempted to confide in friends. I’ve been on drugs — the prescription kind, I mean. I’ve seen therapists. I’ve even prayed, back before the Almighty — if He even exists — stopped taking my calls.
So now I’m screaming in the dark.
Maybe there’s somebody out there. Maybe there’s somebody out there who’s like me. Somebody who’s learned to live and function with this … ugh. This handicap, for lack of a better word. Maybe that person will send me an e-mail with a magic incantation for surviving with this.
Or maybe I’ll be that person for somebody else. Maybe some twenty-year-old girl is sitting out there right now, in the wee hours of a Sunday morning, crying in her dorm room and wondering why she can’t be like everyone else. To that person, whomever and wherever you are, I don’t have any answers. I’m sorry. I don’t really believe, deep down, that anyone does. I probably can’t be your friend, just like you can’t be mine. People like us can’t really have friends, not in the long run. But understand that you are not alone. I’m in this too. Right there with you.
The comments that he received from the post were a mix of support and “me toos.” This one was particularly touching:
So, I’m that 20 year old girl you were talking about…though not in her dorm room, but her apt. Something about your article just hit home. I feel the same way you do a lot. I go through numerous mood swings for no apparent reason and I know they’re going on, but I cannot control them. So many people say “just be happy” but that’s impossible when you can’t control yourself. Oh what I would give to be able to just snap out of this. To feel the love that everyone DOES have for me. To feel like I’m actually worth something would be amazing! But there’s something that does not allow it. I know it’s there, but there’s no way to get rid of it. I try to overcome it, but it can’t be overcome.
So thank you for letting me know I am not alone in this world, and I hope you know you are not either…
Blogging is an incredibly powerful way to connect with other people — whether you are the blogger or the reader. When a blogger has built a following of people who read his or her words regularly, a bond can form that goes beyond the content of the blog posts, providing an instant support group. Others who have never heard of the problem get to learn about it vicariously and perhaps realize that someone they know might be affected, and those who suffer from it themselves can see that they are not alone. One blog post could change someone’s life. I hope that it’s changed Jeff’s for the better.