A student, a mentally ill person, and a cat

Stories and poems from a Dutch student in Belgium who has five mental disorders, but isn’t that crazy.

Right before my last hospitalization in a mental hospital 1,5 years ago, someone told me that “I would probably be the most normal person there”. I didn’t really know what to respond to that, so I didn’t. Someone I know from group therapy freaked out during a telephone conversation once, and the person on the other end told her that “there wasn’t anything she could do about that, you know, she was just mentally ill”. She didn’t really know what to respond to that, so she didn’t. When I told my housemate that I have Borderline personality disorder, he responded that, right, he had heard of that, Borderline means that you are always angry (I’d known him for some six months, he’d never seen me angry). I didn’t really know what to respond to that, so I didn’t. A therapist once told me that she hoped that everyone with Borderline would just kill themselves, because all we did was ruin other people’s lives. I didn’t really know what to respond to that, so I didn’t.
Some examples from our dichotomy between “ill” and “normal” that is still very much alive. But what if you combine both? When I am “normal” people tend to forget I was ever “ill”, and when I fall ill people tend to forget that I am still also normal. Yet, I, and all my mentally ill friends; we are very, very much both. Here, I’ll try to convey both crazy and normal, both ill and healthy, and perhaps make the stigmas a little tiny less smaller.

In a world that doesn’t seem to get any less complex and chaotic, I feel increasingly uncomfortable keeping silent. In my (again increasingly, lately) chaotic and complex self, too, I feel how I need to do another attempt to speak up. So here’s my two cents; one for you, one for me. 🙂 I’ve always very much admired people who manage to not abandon their blogs because, as of yet, I’m not one of those people. But you’ll never know until you try, perhaps this one will be my little victory.

PS. To round up the title, I also have a cat (who is not mine, actually, but she has made it her life mission to stalk my room, so there you are).

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From sadness, to you (poem)

I meant to write about my quiet mind,
mere existence, sheltered against the rain
falling only around me, but sadness came
and wrapped its drops inside of me,
all-over through me; you know
I cannot resist to softly drown inside

Sadness and me, we live like one, then,
inside my upside-down world
Fill my mind with flooded deserts, before
we swim into oceans long since dried
And sadness, tell me I need you
Cover me in your soft blue shell
I shrink like Alice, fade me out, then
wear my body like a vacancy sign

Sadness, we, together; I am all alone
So for now, consume me
In tender absence cool my blood
and free me from life’s longing –

But I need you now, in spite of me;
Miles away, I can almost touch –
But mute, I cannot tell you –

I wrap myself up, away from me,
and I know you cannot reach me here
Still, the sharpest sting:
In my pouring silence –
you do not try

Borderline II (poem)

I love English but sometimes it just doesn’t fit. And it feels too confusing to suddenly post in Dutch here. So there is silence, then (at least on here).

How, somehow, quiet equals sad
How night is light, yet –
Oh, my days they were so bright

How giving in, sometimes,
Is how I can conquer a fight
How drowning is to breathe

How I cannot stand until I fall –
Then, how I cannot stand to fall –
Then, how I fall, I fall

How in love, I miss my hardest days
Then, how I yearn, I learn
How you suffocate me –
Still, how I am alive.

Running out of stories

Most times, I write my own meaning. Turn feelings into thoughts into words into art. Document how I move, to know that I am. I don’t know how else to make sense of me and I don’t know how else to carry the weight of life. I write in my head and I write on paper and I write in my dreams; as long as I narrate my life, I am safe. But some times, I run out of stories to tell myself. Some times I tumble down where even my stories cannot protect me; some times I feel as if I will stop existing – but I won’t.

Without my words, I ache. The world feels ugly and raw. But some times, with my every nerve, all that I am – I just feel.

And, live, until I can write again,

Why bother?
“Because I breathe.”

– Bernard Malamud

I feel empty

Such a typical Borderline thing. Sometimes my moods just plummet through the floor, deeper; all I can do is watch. Or, is it a mood if all I can think of to describe it is: the absence of mood. I cannot pinpoint a specific reason. I am a hollow shell. I am non-existent. I am a human phantom.

I want to go away.

I am none of these things but I feel: I feel the whole world I feel nothing.

My emotions feel like seas in which to float or almost drown. Intertwine and move away again. Now I wander through dried-up plains, non-moving. I can shape the water but I cannot shape the drought.

My moods creeps through the cracks of my skull until they are everywhere. Fill me with absence. I drip invisibly out of myself; I am worthless, I am no one.

But: I am, I feel

And: If my destiny is written in the stars, I will draw my universe.