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 Post subject: How to have a social life with BPD?
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 9:54 pm 
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Where to begin...

Ok, so throughout my "journey" of growing up and getting diagnosed and trying to make myself healthy, my external personality has really changed. When I was in high school, I was extremely popular, and won all of the "spirit" awards (while secretly battling depression). When I started university, I was still extremely extroverted, and would host all the parties and just be a fun time. Now I struggle with some social anxiety, for a lot of reasons.

I never realized how much the negative stigma of mental illness actually hurts us. I'm an advocate for getting people out of poverty, not having experienced poverty myself. Until I "came out" to people around me (even to those on twitter, because I'm a stubborn advocate) the idea of stigma was terrible, but I hadn't really experienced it. Now, I find myself unable to reach out to my friends because a) I'm afraid of having an episode but mostly b) I know I won't meet up to their expectations of what they expect of me socially. People don't understand how someone that was so sociable would be hesitant to go out for the night. They don't see the terrible struggle that I go through when making the decision to go out. So needless to say, I hesitate to reach out to people to go out.

There have been many occasions that I find out, the following morning, that a bunch of my close friends have gone out and had a blast and didn't bother to invite me. It keeps happening. Tonight, a large group of friends went to a restaurant DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET FROM ME. My roommate went to join them. This isn't a case of people "forgetting" about me. They can probably see my house from their table. I'm so angry! I don't know what to do.


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 Post subject: Re: How to have a social life with BPD?
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 5:04 am 
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Hi Prairie,

Well for one thing, it's fantastic that you found the strength to come out to people, both that you knew, and didn't know, so well. I think a lot of people are afraid to do so because of the stigma (I certainly am!) and I admire your bravery and integrity.

As for your reasons to worry about going out now;

a. It is perfectly rational to worry about having an episode. It happens. Your friends may also be worried about this. Have you explained what BPD involves and what might happen if you do have an episode? If they know about it, they can help you get through it, and you might have to worry less if you feel they won't be thinking "What a crazy lady" but "Oh, she is feeling bad right now, perhaps i should try to help her/leave her alone/whatever you told them helps you". Some of your friends may well be unwilling to help you, or listen, but then in the end they were never really your friends.

b. People could expect you to be just as outgoing as you were before. What it is important for them to know is that you didn't always feel like going out and being that way, so if you aren't hiding how you feel then you might not always be as extroverted as before. Again, some people might not want to hang around with the "real" you, but friends who won't help you through a hard time are no friends at all.

If you feel they don't understand your struggle, I would recommend you explain it to them. Maybe not everyone, just someone you feel comfortable telling. A lot of people won't understand something they haven't gone through, so sometimes they need a little extra help. It's fantastic you are such an advocate for poverty even through you ave not experienced it, but unfortunately not everyone is as empathetic and won't follow the rules of the world as we think it should be. All you can do is follow them yourself :)

Your friends may be scared and unsure what to do, which could lead to them leaving you out, just because they don't know how to deal with you right now. After all, BPD is a complex and sometimes difficult disorder, as we all know. Perhaps you could discuss how it made you feel when you are feeling a bit calmer? after all, you have been very honest with your friends so far, but they may not realise what they are doing as they can't feel how you do.

And no matter how things go, you still have all of us on here, and things won't always be this way!


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 Post subject: Re: How to have a social life with BPD?
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 6:16 am 
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I think you need to be very careful about what people you tell about your bpd. Mental illness, unfortunately is still something people generally don't understand....and many really don't WANT to understand. I think it can be very overwhelming for people to absorb too much info at once. However, if these people are really your friends perhaps they will make the effort to learn and help you feel more comfortable in social situations. Maybe you need a different bunch of friends.

dagwood


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 Post subject: Re: How to have a social life with BPD?
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2012 4:36 pm 
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Thanks for your replies.

Perhaps telling them a bit more about what "could" happen if I had an episode would be helpful. My initial reaction is always to get angry, and I know that's not productive but it's just the first place that I go to.

I suppose that I don't have as much understanding or patience for people who don't understand mental illness because the least they could do for a person that they care about who is suffering is to learn about it. It shouldn't be my problem to educate/train my friends about BPD or mental health, if they care about me they should either accept the way I am or learn more about it so THEY can feel more comfortable.

The discomfort people feel about mental illness is in no way comparable to the suffering that people with illnesses go through. I'm just really angry about the stigma!

I'll try to go out and have fun tonight.


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 Post subject: Re: How to have a social life with BPD?
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 6:57 am 
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Did you go out last night? If so, how did it go?

_________________
"I'm loved. I can't forget that or take it for granted. I'm going to be here and be taking advantage of every resource that I can find in Brampton. I WILL heal. The pain will subside. I have a future full of possibilities. I just have to fight tooth and nail to make it there."


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 Post subject: Re: How to have a social life with BPD?
PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2012 11:00 pm 
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I did go out, and had a really good time, but drank too much...Way too much. I have troubles with binge drinking but yeah, will deal with that another day. Too hungover.


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 Post subject: Re: How to have a social life with BPD?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Oh boy... :( Be sure to drink plenty of water, and get some good food into your stomach!


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