borderlinegirlliveshere











A simple yet compelling series of illustrations that highlight much of my world.

Sometimes simplicity is the best way to make a point.

After seeing firsthand how mental illness can take a toll, Marissa Betley decided to sketch out how it truly feels to struggle with a mental health disorder. She then posted the minimalist illustrations on Instagram. The results are simple, yet powerful — and thus, Project 1 in 4was born.

The initiative is aptly named for a statistic that many people still have yet to grasp: Approximately one in four American adults — or about 26 percent of the population — suffers from a diagnosable mental health condition in a given year.

Despite the fact that it’s so common among men and women, mental illness is still incredibly stigmatized — and that could prevent those who experience it from seeking the help they need. Betley says she created the project for this reason.

“So few are talking about [mental illness] and initiating change,” she told The Huffington Post in an email. “I thought if I could just find a real human way to raise greater awareness then maybe I could help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness that is preventing so many people from getting the help and support they need. Maybe the project could even save lives.”

Betley posts one illustration a day on the project’s Instagram page and plans to do so for 100 days. She also shares the images and other mental health resources on the project’s website.

Project 1 in 4 isn’t the first of its kind, but it’s a welcome initiative for a community of people who often feel alone in their experience. Anti-stigma projects like singer Demi Lovato’s Be Vocal campaign and beauty brand Philosophy’s Hope & Grace initiative also assist in promoting awareness about mental health issues. But society still has a long way to go: Only about 25 percent of people who suffer from a mental health issue feel that others are understanding about mental illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I hope the project will help erase the stigma surrounding mental illness that prevents so many people from getting the help and support they need,” Betley said. “Also to provide a sense of comfort to those suffering, knowing they are not alone. Millions of people around the world are up against many of the same daily challenges.”

Ultimately, for those one in four individuals experiencing a mental health disorder, Betley hopes the project inspires acceptance within themselves.

“You deserve to be happy and healthy — don’t forget that,” she said.

We couldn’t agree more.

Check out the slideshow below to see more of the Project 1 in 4 illustrations:

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

Please share.



Mental health suffers from a major image problem. One in every four people experiences mental health issues — yet more than 40 percent of countries worldwide have no mental health policy. Across the board it seems like we have no idea how to talk about it respectfully and responsibly.

Stigma and discrimination are the two biggest obstacles to a productive public dialogue about mental health; indeed, the problem seems to be largely one of communication. So we asked seven mental health experts: How should we talk about mental health? How can informed and sensitive people do it right – and how can the media do it responsibly?

End the stigma

Easier said than done, of course. Says journalist Andrew Solomon: “People still think that it’s shameful if they have a mental illness. They think it shows personal weakness. They think it shows a failing. If it’s their children who have mental illness, they think it reflects their failure as parents.” This self-inflicted stigma can make it difficult for people to speak about even their own mental health problems. According to neuroscientist Sarah Caddick, this is because when someone points to his wrist to tell you it’s broken, you can easily understand the problem, but that’s not the case when the issue is with the three-pound mass hidden inside someone’s skull. “The minute you start talking about your mind, people get very anxious, because we associate that with being who we are, fundamentally with ‘us’ — us as a person, us as an individual, our thoughts, our fears, our hopes, our aspirations, our everything.” Says mental health care advocate Vikram Patel, “Feeling miserable could in fact be seen as part of you or an extension of your social world, and applying a biomedical label is not always something that everyone with depression, for example, is comfortable with.” Banishing the stigma attached to mental health issues can go a long way to facilitating genuinely useful conversations.

Avoid correlations between criminality and mental illness

People are too quick to dole out judgments on people who experience mental health problems, grouping them together when isolated incidents of violence or crime occur. Says Caddick, “You get a major incident like Columbine or Virginia Tech and then the media asks, ‘Why didn’t people know that he was bipolar?’ ‘Was he schizophrenic?’ From there, some people think, ‘Well, everybody with bipolar disease is likely to go out and shoot down a whole bunch of people in a school,’ or, ‘People who are schizophrenics shouldn’t be out on the street.’” Solomon agrees that this correlation works against a productive conversation about mental health: “The tendency to connect people’s crimes to mental illness diagnoses that are not in fact associated with criminality needs to go away. ‘This person murdered everyone because he was depressed.’ You think, yes, you could sort of indicate here this person was depressed and he murdered everyone, but most people who are depressed do not murder everyone.”

But do correlate more between mental illness and suicide

According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), 90 percent of people who die by suicide have depression or other mental disorders, or substance-abuse disorders in conjunction with other mental disorders. Yet we don’t give this link its due. Says Solomon, “Just as the association between mental illness and crime is too strong, the connection between mental illness and suicide is too weak. So I feel like what I constantly read in the articles is that ‘so-and-so killed himself because his business had gone bankrupt and his wife had left him.’ And I think, okay, those were the triggering circumstances, but he killed himself because he suffered from a mental illness that drove him to kill himself. He was terribly depressed.”

Avoid words like “crazy” or “psycho”

Not surprisingly, nearly all the mental health experts we consulted were quick to decry playground slang like “mental,” “schizo,” “crazy,” “loonie,” or “nutter,” stigmatizing words that become embedded in people’s minds from a young age. NIMH Director Thomas Insel takes that one step further — he doesn’t like the category of “mental health problems” in general. He says, “Should we call cancer a ‘cell cycle problem’? Calling serious mental illness a ‘behavioral health problem’ is like calling cancer a ‘pain problem.’” Comedian Ruby Wax, however, has a different point of view: “I call people that are mentally disturbed, you know, I say they’re crazy. I think in the right tone, that’s not the problem. Let’s not get caught in the minutiae of it.”

If you feel comfortable talking about your own experience with mental health, by all means, do so

Self-advocacy can be very powerful. It reaches people who are going through similar experiences as well as the general public. Solomon believes that people equipped to share their experiences should do so: “The most moving letter I ever received in a way was one that was only a sentence long, and it came from someone who didn’t sign his name. He just wrote me a postcard and said, ‘I was going to kill myself, but I read your book and changed my mind.’ And really, I thought, okay, if nobody else ever reads anything I’ve written, I’ve done some good in the world. It’s very important just to keep writing about these things, because I think there’s a trickle-down effect, and that the vocabulary that goes into serious books actually makes its way into the common experience — at least a little bit of it does — and makes it easier to talk about all of these things.” SolomonWax, as well as Temple Grandin, below, have all become public figures for mental health advocacy through sharing their own experiences.

Don’t define a person by his/her mental illnesses

Just as a tumor need not define a person, the same goes for mental illness. Although the line between mental health and the “rest” of a person is somewhat blurry, experts say the distinction is necessary. Says Insel: “We need to talk about mental disorders the way we talk about other medical disorders. We generally don’t let having a medical illness define a person’s identity, yet we are very cautious about revealing mental illness because it will somehow define a person’s competence or even suggest dangerousness.” Caddick agrees: “There’s a lot of things that go on in the brain, and just because one thing goes wrong doesn’t mean that everything’s going wrong.”

Separate the person from the problem

Continuing from the last, Insel and Patel both recommend avoiding language that identifies people only by their mental health problems. Says Insel, speak of “someone with schizophrenia,” not “the schizophrenic.” (Although, he points out, people with autism do often ask to be referred to as “autistic.”) Making this distinction clear, says Patel, honors and respects the individual. “What you’re really saying is, this is something that’s not part of a person; it’s something the person is suffering from or is living with, and it’s a different thing from the person.”

Sometimes the problem isn’t that we’re using the wrong words, but that we’re not talking at all

Sometimes it just starts with speaking up. In Solomon’s words: “Wittgenstein said, ‘All I know is what I have words for.’ And I think that if you don’t have the words for it, you can’t explain to somebody else what your need is. To some degree, you can’t even explain to yourself what your need is. And so you can’t get better.” But, as suicide prevention advocate Chris Le knows well, there are challenges to talking about suicide and depression. Organizations aiming to raise awareness about depression and suicide have to wrangle with suicide contagion, or copycat suicides that can be sparked by media attention, especially in young people. Le, though, feels strongly that promoting dialogue ultimately helps. One simple solution, he says, is to keep it personal: “Reach out to your friends. If you’re down, talk to somebody, because remember that one time that your friend was down, and you talked to them, and they felt a little better? So reach out, support people, talk about your emotions and get comfortable with them.”

Recognize the amazing contributions of people with mental health differences

Says autism activist Temple Grandin: “If it weren’t for a little bit of autism, we wouldn’t have any phones to talk on.” She describes the tech community as filled with autistic pioneers. “Einstein definitely was; he had no language until age three. How about Steve Jobs? I’ll only mention the dead ones by name. The live ones, you’ll have to look them up on the Internet.” Of depression, Grandin says: “The organizations involved with depression need to be emphasizing how many really creative people, people whose books we love, whose movies we love, their arts, have had a lot of problems with depression. See, a little bit of those genetics makes you sensitive, makes you emotional, makes you sensitive — and that makes you creative in a certain way.”

Humor helps

Humor, some say, is the best medicine for your brain. Says comedian Wax: “If you surround [your message] with comedy, you have an entrée into their psyche. People love novelty, so for me it’s sort of foreplay: I’m softening them up, and then you can deliver as dark as you want. But if you whine, if you whine about being a woman or being black, good luck. Everybody smells it. But it’s true. People are liberated by laughing at themselves.”



{February 5, 2015}   Yes. **trigger**

I read an article about a woman who leapt to her death from the top of a parking garage a few months back, she was depressed among other things, and she left behind a care package, on the roof, for everyone she cared about. People have many reactions when they read a story like that, sadness, horror, pity. I was jealous. I didn’t want to admit it and I massaged my feelings for several days, and I am, I am jealous. I’ve wanted to do the same thing many times, looked over my balcony, assessed how high would be high enough not to be left a quadriplegic. Looked for places out of the way so I wouldn’t scare someone coming down or make a mess. Hit someone’s car, or even hit someone period. I know all the spots on the highway that one can take their car off and over a cliff. Some people daydream and plan bucket lists, my bucket lists consists of ways to die. And its not morbid, I get frustrated that I think these things, but I also know they are part of me, I am wired for self destruction. I am jealous, because I want to get away and at the same time I have these two amazing beings that though don’t always stop me from coming close to the edge, still keep me trying and working and learning and fighting, even though I despise most days of having to do so.

I want to be selfish, every fibre in my being wants to be selfish, and get away. Get away from being invisible, for fighting to have people believe, to get away from being lonely inside even when surrounded by people. To be sad when laughing. Very empty on this island when you’re a freak that looks normal. Stigma, a word that is getting more gravitas lately, there is so much stigma and it pushes someone like me into a corner into a wall with no exit.

Do you know how much trauma it takes to make your brain want to shut itself down in protection. Try looking it up. A lot is laughable. Do you know how much it hurts after your brain does that and how bewildered, frightened and unstable you feel. Take away 12 hours of memory. And then, leave that person alone, alone to sort it out, alone to feel rejected. Bring them home from the hospital guilt ridden and confused and leave them alone because they look fine. No scars, no cuts, no bruises, no cast, nothing. Nothing’s wrong, assimilate, stop whining, you’re fine, everyone gets stressed and loses their mind.

Stigma. Did I mention stigma. Loneliness. Emptiness. No one can see you. And how do you tell them. You feel depressed and want to see a doctor you need to wait a few weeks till they can fit you in, you get hit by a truck and emergency will take you in immediately. What happens when I jump from that building, will you fit me in then?

Sometimes it takes death for the people around you to understand, to take a stand, to support and then to look backwards and realize how isolated their loved one was. But its too late, for your loved one, but maybe not for others you can then believe. People don’t want to die when they feel well, when they’re happy, when they want to live.

I came home from the hospital post mental trauma. The biggest concern was not for me but for the impression I caused by having a mental breakdown. Stigma. I caused a problem. I was the problem, I made my own problem. I put people out of their way, I somehow exaggerated myself into a nervous breakdown. Then, I was left to piece together my numerous pieces and then lectured on my ineptitude to manage my situation. Pretty much, since i happen to be walking down the street and there are cars, naturally if I get hit by a car, it’s my fault, suck it up, get up, quit your whining and look at the damage you did to the car and the poor driver. You have a concussion and can’t walk, well too bad, you asked for it.  Now drag your sorry complaining ass over and apologize to the driver and pay for the damages. Not to mention the people that now have to come help you. The fact that you’re internally bleeding should not warrant any need to shirk responsibilities because that is self serving and indulgent. Other people are working just as hard under tremendous stress as well, even that poor driver who’s car you damaged so think of him before yourself because even if you were ordered to clean the streets that day, it’s still your responsibility for being at the wrong place at the wrong time and no one cares about your pain.

Stigma. Mental illness. People think we hide behind mental illness. Laughable. You think I would wish this on anybody. You want to see strength, this is strength, living with this everyday, without empathy, is beyond strength. It’s a lonely battle that you’re never sure who you’re fighting for. And when loved ones turn their backs, well that’s when those parking garages seem so appealing. Because maybe when I am dead, they will believe and they will reach out and help someone with an open and understanding heart from their guilt.

Do I feel lonely. Yes. Do I feel empty. Yes. Do I hurt. Yes. Am I alone. Yes. Do I feel stigmatized. Yes. Am I pretending to not be in pain. Yes. Why? Because that’s what expected.

Are these all the signs of suicide. Yes.

Will I find that building soon. No. When I do will I leave everyone their care package. Yes. Will they feel bad. Yes. Will I feel good. Yes. Will they believe. I hope so. Will they feel guilty. Yes. Will it be too late for me. Yes.



et cetera
Life after BPD

Life after Borderline Personality Disorder; making a life worth living through love, laughter, positivity and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

confessionsofbpd

The secret life of high-functioning borderline personality disorder.

Bi-polar parenting

Thoughts and ideas

forcing myself happy

One day at a time...for 6 months! :/

%d bloggers like this: