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    Ending the Stigma One Conversation at a Time

    I shared my previous post with some church leaders, and such amazing conversations are happening. Borderline personality disorder must be talked about. In fact, all mental illnesses must be discussed within the church setting. We have to work together to end the stigma and silence surrounding mental illness! We are not outcasts. We are not untouchables. We are not less than. Our stories deserve to be heard. We are worthy of being listened to! Don’t give up on sharing your story. ❤️ #MentalHealth #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #Church #EndTheStigma #BreakTheSilence

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    Borderline Personality Disorder and the Church

    I just posted this blog post on my page and felt led to post it here, too.

    “You can’t understand me without understanding borderline personality disorder.

    I’m still wrestling with feeling like I don’t fit in and that I’m misunderstood. I don’t know anyone who can relate to me on the level I so deeply desire. I know of one other person with BPD, and they’re not even a Christian. I don’t know a single Christian with BPD. Imagine that for a second—countless individuals struggle with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and so on, but rarely are individuals diagnosed with BPD who still pursue the Lord. I crave a community that I’ll never have–one that truly understands and can relate to me. I have to mourn that. It’s like I have no one with whom I can process the intense feelings and emotions I experience. Yes, I have a counselor, but her role is to help me process my trauma. Obviously, that will help with these emotions/feelings over time, but my counselor can’t make BPD disappear. She can’t make the symptoms I battle daily disappear. She can’t relate to me and understand how much harder it is for someone with BPD to follow the Lord than for someone who doesn’t. I can’t even believe the nice things people say about me. Can you imagine how much harder it is to believe that a God I can’t see loves me and calls me His? It’s nearly impossible.

    It’s like BPD and God can’t exist simultaneously inside my head. It’s the black or white thinking. One day, I’m on fire for the Lord, and everything is fine. The next, I’m in a deep, dark pit, trying to crawl my way out and wondering if He’s real. In fact, the change can happen within seconds; it’s exhausting. I’m learning how to see the grey, though. But you can’t tell someone with BPD to “just have faith” or “just pray” or anything like that. Our brain was chemically changed due to trauma. We need real, physical evidence to believe anything. You know the saying, “Actions speak louder than words”? It’s magnified times 100 for people with BPD. We try so hard to believe peoples’ words, but it’s not enough. They must be followed by actions so that we have physical evidence that what they say is true.

    Can you imagine how alienating it is to not know one other person who fights the same battles you do? People always say we all fight battles, so we can relate in that way—it’s not the same for someone with BPD. It’s nearly impossible to relate to people who don’t know this diagnosis—who haven’t experienced the mental turmoil that comes with it. You can’t say you know how I feel or what I go through until you’ve experienced borderline personality disorder. You can’t have authority in my life until you’ve taken the time to truly hear me and my experiences. Even then, it’s still difficult because you haven’t lived it.

    You don’t second guess every single thing someone says. You don’t agonize for hours over an interaction you had with someone. You don’t experience physical pain when your emotions get so intense. You don’t panic at the slightest change in tone in the voice of someone you love. You don’t obsess over the fact someone didn’t text you back. You don’t create wild scenarios in your head about people who say they love you, hating you. You don’t have constant paranoia that people are talking bad about you. You don’t have this crushing fear that you’re not good enough and never will be. You don’t fear abandonment so much that it nearly keeps you from connecting with anyone. You don’t passively think about suicide nearly every day. You don’t have this burning fire that makes you feel you need to self-sabotage/hurt yourself. You don’t have this empty void inside of you that cannot be filled—no matter what we do or who we believe in. It’s a God-sized hole, for sure, but unless He does a miracle and heals us, we continue to fight these battles.

    You may experience one or two of those things, maybe even 3, but imagine experiencing them all every single day, 24/7. It never ends. Even our sleep is flooded with nightmares. We get no breaks. So, imagine how hard it is to function in a world where you must represent yourself well and fit into society. Imagine walking into a church where you see people chasing after the Lord wholeheartedly, but you can barely believe God exists, and how you feel about Him changes minute-by-minute—seemingly against your will. You constantly question if God is real. Why would he allow such horrible things to go through your mind if he is? Yes, satan rules the earth, but God has the power to heal, doesn’t he? I’m tired of fighting these battles. People say they make you stronger, but I’m plenty strong enough for a lifetime.

    Unless you take the time to learn about this disorder, people with BPD will continue to feel so isolated and alienated. We are different than the regular population—that’s a fact. There are numbers. There is evidence. We don’t have the same innate skill set that most of the population has. We have to learn things in our adult life that most adults learned as children—if we choose to get healthy. It’s an uphill climb that most people will never understand, and they’re honestly lucky. I would never wish this disorder on anyone, and I pray that God does a miracle and heals me. I long to know what it’s like to have a “healthy” brain—one that doesn’t fight these minute-by-minute thoughts. One that can handle conflict well. One that doesn’t dwell on the most minor things others don’t even consider. One that experiences emotions within a “normal” range and for a “normal” amount of time. Maybe a better word is reasonable instead of normal. I know there isn’t really a “normal,” but I think you get the point.

    I also want to point out that I work hard not to let borderline personality disorder define me. Additionally, I am doing well in life right now. I have a job that I love with everything in me and amazing friends. I am living independently and am doing just fine with that. Ultimately, my goal with this post is to educate and bring awareness to a disorder that is often hidden and show how there are Christians with this disorder who are fighting to be heard. And this is just BPD–I can only imagine the stigma and silence that comes with other, more uncommon mental health disorders such as DID or schizophrenia. If no one speaks up on these issues and the reality behind these mental illnesses, change will not occur.

    I don’t know what the next step is for me. I don’t know what to do besides continuing to pray that God will bring healing and understanding. I don’t know how to feel more comfortable in the church setting. I don’t know how to help others understand me and my struggles. All I know is that it’s a fact that I have borderline personality disorder, and only God can heal me of it. I can put in the work to bring about healing, which I am, but I don’t foresee ever being totally free from all this unless God heals me. Until He does, I will continue to voice my experiences with BPD and pray people will listen.”

    #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #Trauma #Church #Christianity #MentalHealth

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    spiritual abuse x gaslighting | or am I making this up?

    I was in church when someone said stuff that was really triggering and I screamed the f word at her. I proceeded to call her a rich spoilt brat who leeches off her parents 🙃

    The reason I was triggered was bc in knowing that I'm unemployed & not drawing an income, she asked me to cut my expenditure by finding things I can do without - & when I mentioned my highest mandatory cost being therapy, she said "you know my stand on therapy .." which in a prior conversation years ago - she saw it then as something which does not produce lasting behavioural change as a man-made tool, the only way to produce lasting change is when God's Word changes you. She even cited herself by saying that in a down period, she prayed & cried with loved ones instead of seeking therapy. This was a few years back, I just came to realise the goalpost has since shifted.

    ANYWAY. Woman tatts on this to my cell grp leaders who in turn tell this to my cell grps pastor.

    We met the pastor - me, my two cell group leaders, & the person I called names at. It started as like a words thing for what I called her -- I'm not sure if it has entirely warped itself to spiritual abuse?

    For other reference also: www.crossway.org/articles/10-things-you-should-know-about-ch...

    This ^ article was very helpful, in particular points #7 & #9 . For disclosure, pastor took me out of my cell group as "punishment".

    "9. Churches must take great care against abuses of discipline.

    Church discipline can become abusive in a number of ways: leaving the decision in the hands of one or a few instead of the whole congregation; relying on regulated processes instead of individual pastoral care; being characterized by a fundamentalistic mindset that’s uncomfortable with the tensions which are inevitable in a fallen world and insisting that every problem gets tied up with a nice bow; or possessing an unbalanced and unbiblical concept of authority."

    I explained, in our meeting, the tension between where I am, where I am required to be, and where I have come. I was told by one of my cell grp leaders (with the other in agreement), that there are no percentages in this - either I am sorry (100%), or I am not (0%) Would it be fair to say that requiring me to be fully sorry .. is a clash of "insisting that every problem gets tied up with a nice bow", per the article states? Church talks about not being perfect, but moving in the right direction. I do think, in this conflict, I am moving in the direction that the Bible calls for and God desires. I think requiring me to be fully sorry immediately .. is a clash of "insisting that every problem gets tied up with a nice bow" - ??!?

    I call out on the spiritual abuse & I get -

    "I would like to hold on to a biblical definition of repentance, rather than have individuals decide what it should look like and be unnecessarily distressed by various definitions."

    Is this spiritual abuse + gaslighting?!?!

    #CheckInWithMe #MentalHealth #Anxiety #Church

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    So I did a "terribly bad" thing .. 🙃

    Basically, I called someone in church a rich spoilt brat who leeches off her parents' money to study for flex, not a job or skills 🙃

    Which is a whole thing in itself lol. I mean I don't have a thing against furthering your education, but she has undergrad (accounting), Masters (linguistics), JD Law. All fully-funded by parents, all different fields 🙃 I think her studying life is more than her working life - I think it's ok and natural to wanna further your studies as you work, to grow in your field.

    So she was extremely upset and told on this to my cell group leaders .. 🙃 She was also the one who told me to cut down my expenditure, on therapy - "you know my stand on therapy ..." (which in prior incident is, that it's manmade human wisdom & only God heals 🙃😌🤔) - so anyway my cell grp leaders want us to meet, they'll facilitate the meeting.

    I also know whats the Christian answer to say, & I think it's super easy to Christianise this crap. But like, it will legit just be a band aid? For illustration, it's like when kindergarten kids are at the playground & push each other. & then they only shake hands cos they don't want to stand in the corner ... not that they see why it's wrong.

    I don't feel I should do it if I don't feel it - I'm torn between acknowledging my own space and pushing it forward just cos they want me to 🙃

    As in, the way I see it is, if there is a blue bottle on a table, and if you tell me to say that the bottle is red. I cannot, will not be able to - it's a blue bottle! I cannot see it as red, not that I don't want to. But if you wanted me to say it's red, then I say - but I don't believe [will not be able to believe] what I say, bc I cannot see it.

    I think she's rich, factually. & retracting it or apologising for it is a band-aid I won't be able to mean, in light of factual realities.

    Apologise or no? I can't mean it and I view it as a band-aid tbvh, but I guess that's what people are expecting 🤷‍♀️ But you also know what I mean by band-aid apologies right???? Apart from me being a rotten potato 🥔🙃, what would you do if you were me?

    #CheckInWithMe #Church #Selfesteem #Employment #MentalHealth

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    Hurt by the church #Church hurt

    I was physically assaulted in my own church. Bruises from the “hit” but when I responded with name calling,” emotional response”, I was called before the board ( all men) and was called divisive and that the person who actually hurt me was not a threat. I was made to apologize to people for offending them and for months, no one has made any contact with me. My husband is still going to that church and it’s now causing marital problems. He has actually told me to get out.
    I’m at a loss. I feel like I have nothing left. I cling to Jesus because He’s all I have.

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    Urges to go back to church

    So back in high school in my last couple years I started going to youth group and eventually church on sunday's too I really enjoyed it, felt welcome and felt good. I liked making friends there but after a while I found it hard to consider myself Christian with all the bs in the world and then went down different paths and strayed very far from it. I haven't been to a church in like 5 years and I miss that kind of friendship and community so much. Lately I've been thinking about it and I want to back to a church if i found one near me that seems nice enough but I also feel really weird about going to church again and don't know if I'd actually want to be there or if I'm only going because I want some kind of support group and not care about the religion side of it. Past few months my depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts have only gotten worse and worse, often when i went to church i spoke up about it to people and i want to believe it helped but i can't believe that it's actually true. But i still feel so desperate for anything to help. Does anyone have experiences with going away from church and going back or following different beliefs that are complete opposites to going back to church?

    #Church #Anxiety #Depression #SuicidalThoughts #Christian #Religion #beliefs

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    Horses at church #MentalHealth #Depression #Anxiety #PTSD #Christianity #Horses #Church #funny #Laugh

    We had a live cross to our livestream at church this morning of me visiting some of my favourite horses. They were hysterically funny and engaging.

    facebook.com/events/s/hope-chapel-church-live/511060483710409

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    See full photo

    Church livestream #Depression #Church #Christianity #Hope #Relationships #MentalHealth

    You all are welcome to join in the livestream of our church services. 9:25am Sydney time. Tomorrow morning during preservice lobby time we will be doing a live cross to see me with some of the horses living near my home.

    Lobby time happens before and after the service. It’s sometimes interviewing a guest, sometimes fun things like cooking competitions etc. It is a way to help people engage, get to know each other

    If you can’t watch live you can watch it later at your convenience. Hope you can join us.

    www.facebook.com/HopeChapelOfficial