This blog post is going to be a very big attempt at normalizing mental health. I know; it's a challenge... But I reckon I'm up to it.
So here are the abnormal things about me:
the scars on my arms, the scars on my thigh, the scars on my neck from central lines, the dent in my right arm from cannulas, that my veins are barely visible, that I have five voices in my head, that I can see four rabbits running around the floor in my Hospital bedroom, that I have no glass in my bedroom, my address on bank statements is a Hospital, my legal status (sectioned), that there's anti-psychotics in my blood, that there's an anti-depressant working on my mind, that a shelf on my desk is solely for files of therapy work, that I have nothing sharp in my bedroom or bathroom, my medical records, that I need permission to leave this building, that my bedroom window doesn't open the conventional way, that someone is ALWAYS able to unlock my bedroom door, that there's a window in my bedroom door, that my shower only runs for about 90seconds before cutting out and having to be pressed again... Oh! And I have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder.
Here's the normal things:
I have two eyes, I have two legs, I have two arms, I have eyelashes, I have finger nails, I have eyebrows, I have a nose, I have a mouth, I have brown hair, I've got ten fingers and ten toes, I have an iPod, I drink coke, I like reading, I love pringles and dairy milk, I have a cup of milk at night-time, I have a best-friend, I do my own washing, I like doing Sudoku, I have a CV, I love shopping, I spend time on my laptop, I sometimes make mistakes, I don't trust people easily, I've been in love, I have a mobile, I have a family, I have a cat, I have Uggs, I own lots of pink things...
My point isn't that there's more of one than the other (and both lists could probably be a lot longer). My point is, other than my external scars you wouldn't have known any of the other 'abnormal' things just by looking at me. And in a world where a book is judged by it's cover I reckon that makes me a pretty average person.
I have a mental health diagnosis and I take psychiatric medication and I'm a detained patient under the Mental Health Act 1983 and I currently reside on an open ward in a secure Psychiatric Hospital. But if you met me for the first time... "Hi my name is Aimee" and you wouldn't have a clue that right there, in the moment, I'm fighting to keep breathing.
I refuse to be defined by my mental health and even when I'm 'recovered' (because I will be) it still won't be the first thing you find out about me; not because I'm ashamed or embarrassed but because it isn't me. And I know this is an even harder point to argue because of my diagnosis and that people think your personality is who you are and therefore, if mine is disordered then so am I... But my diagnosis doesn't make me who I am. I make my diagnosis into what it is.