Alena M

@b0rderli0ness | contributor
Alena and Lena are short ways to pronounce my full first name, which is often hard for people. Any other names I go by online are purely ~usernames~ but are never intended to replace my real name. Sometimes, it's good to use usernames to protect our privacy online. I joined the Mighty to become part of the movement of spreading awareness about mental health issues. There's loads of stigma out there about different mental health issues and due to this, people are ashamed to talk about theirs in fear of being judged as unworthy. I always tell people that when the information is out there, there is no excuse for people to say ignorant things. ..and there's not. I, myself, was diagnosed with the following: Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Panic Disorder, Panic Disorder, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, PCOS, and Tietze Syndrome. I also have an autistic brother. Nobody's perfect and those with mental and physical illnesses...simply reiterate that. I'm here to educate and support. ♥️ Twitter:
Alena M

Why People With Borderline PersonalIty Disorder May 'Ghost' You

Those of us who battle borderline personality disorder (BPD) can appear to be very polarized individuals. Our brains are always working in one direction or the other and so we are always trying to keep up with that. It is absolutely exhausting because social interactions can often send our minds into a whirlwind of thoughts, especially ones about whether our peers truly like us or not. Keeping this in mind, I’ve found a lot of us with BPD really enjoy interacting with others, but at the same time, too much interaction and with too many people can start to become de-energizing and our brain can go into overdrive. Because some people with BPD are often more offended than they may let on (as a means to be appear as “normal” and out of the way as possible), they can spend a lot more energy than those without mental illness, in social interactions. It’s not only that we can become drained from our own constant masking, we also might be scared to hurt others’ feelings where we don’t think they deserved it. And we also sometimes don’t know how to healthily express our boundaries. So, what happens when our brains go into overdrive? Well, we may become paranoid about certain people in our circle or frequent acquaintances we speak to. We may even become annoyed with our mutuals whom we normally aren’t annoyed with, because our brains have had enough. We might start to begin to think our peers secretly have something against us, we might split on them and start to see them as the enemy, or because we have been socializing so much and hiding our emotional offenses just to seem “normal,” we may be secretly burnt out. When this happens, some of us with BPD are likely to ghost you for awhile or disappear from everyone altogether until we regenerate. It’s not that we’re intentionally trying to hurt anyone, but that we have not yet learned how to speak up for ourselves and set boundaries, even with ourselves. Sometimes, our brains will be telling us to take a break from hanging with friends and from social media, but we sometimes have trouble listening. The longer this goes on, the more abrupt the disappearing act will be… and it may come as a surprise to some. Because we can be ultrasensitive, we are also careful not to hurt anyone else. If you were romantically involved with a person with BPD and were ghosted, it could be because they didn’t know how to directly tell you they didn’t want to see you anymore. It’s not an excuse by any means, but it’s just a reason it was easier for them to just never see or hear from you again. It’s not so much about what is “wrong” with you, so please do not ever think that way. Sometimes, it is our inability to communicate what we perceive are awful words that would absolutely crush your feelings… especially when we feel you were sweet and really liked us. The guilt can be too much. The other reason someone with BPD might ghost you is if you offended them in a major way and instead of fighting you about it (which they might have thought if they said anything, things would lead there), they blocked and ghosted you. Again, sometimes those of us with BPD know no middle ground or gray area. We often see it as this or as that. So if we were to comfort you, we might do it angrily and you might respond angrily back. It could lead to a big mess. So, instead the person with BPD got angry with you, in secret and ghosted you. I do understand being ghosted feels awful, especially when you can’t think of reasons as to why someone would do that to you. It hurts worse when the person was overcompensating and acting extremely chipper before they did the disappearing act. To provide you some perspective and clarity though, it’s almost never to do with you, unless you have angered them somehow. From experience and from what I’ve see thus far, the main two reasons those with borderline personality disorder ghost is they are overwhelmed with socializing or they didn’t want to hurt your feelings. Sometimes, it can be both as well. Sometimes, they tire of socializing with a person because they’re not interested in them. Personally, I’m working on not treating people like this, all with the exception of social media. When it comes to social media, sometimes it’s better to walk away and ghost rather than say something out of anger and have a full-blown Twitter war. You know? That is the only area I do think it’s OK to ghost, for the better of both parties. Overall, I hope I’ve provided some clarity and I’m sorry to any of you who were offended by someone with BPD who ghosted you. You are still awesome in spite of that and please don’t think you have any less value because you were ghosted.

Alena M

What Living With Agoraphobia and Panic Disorder Is Like

In the 2000s, I was a lively, adventurous, and courageous teenager. I wasn’t the least bit afraid to go to the mailbox on my own, and for that matter, leave the house completely on my own. I walked about a mile to school every day, until I fished. I then got right out of school and got a job, in which I also walked to work all by myself at the age of 17. Ten years later, in 2017, who knew my life would turn upside down and that my own mind would keep me a prisoner in my own body and in my own home? I was diagnosed with agoraphobia in early 2017. I hadn’t even heard of what it was until then.. and then everything started coming together. At some point, later in 2016, I became terrified to leave my apartment. It was so bad to the point I would have panic attacks and nearly faint in public, sometimes even when I was with someone. I can only speculate why this was happening to me. Perhaps it was my intense fear of dogs that suddenly came back to haunt me, due to a childhood encounter with a rabid Rottweiler. Maybe it was the fact I had heard something horrible happened in that specific apartment complex that did it for me. I still to this day, have no clue. All I know is, at this point, agoraphobia and panic disorder had been ruining my life, and continue to do so. I had been put on several different medications to try to combat it and have started therapy, but I could still tell the road would be long. I would put in several job applications and when I had interviews, I would have a major panic attack and ruin my chances. One particular day comes to mind where I went ahead to a job interview. Toward the end of the orientation and interview, I had a full-fledged panic attack and had to be excused early. It was extremely embarrassing. Needless to say, I didn’t get a call back. The second time, it occurred with another company. As soon as I stepped out the door to go to my interview, I had a major panic attack, and of course, I never ended up making it to the interview. People don’t understand the absolute embarrassment and horror so many of us with severe anxiety disorders go through. They say phrases like, “Touch some grass” or, “You’re always in the house… get a job!” They don’t realize you’ve been trying and it’s your major anxiety disorder that’s setting you back. Sometimes, it makes me angry and that is why I’ve decided to write this article. I need people to know the extremes of agoraphobia and the absolute depression it can put someone in. In my experiences, most people in society who are working regular jobs don’t understand. To them, I simply look “lazy,” and sometimes that is exactly what they say. “Stop being lazy! You just want free money!” I absolutely cannot stand being stuck inside the majority of the time. I get bored, I overthink, and I have gotten more depressed than I would have been had I gotten out more. I want people to know this is not my choice. Don’t get me started on answering the door for the maintenance man, UPS, or getting the mail. I have to have others (my safe person) go with me everywhere I go because I can’t go anywhere alone. I always need a safe person. Agoraphobia has made me feel like a grown-up child and makes me feel like a “freak” because I’m always peeking out of the window, wondering what life would be like had I just gotten the courage to break myself out of this mental prison. If I had complete control over my mind, so smoothly, this would have not been my choice of a life. I spend more time on social media and put more stock into online relationships because my agoraphobia won’t allow me to have an actual life outside of that. The internet also comes with its issues and people don’t take things as seriously as I do because they actually have an offline life where they have offline friends and acquaintances. The only time I feel decent about being trapped inside my home is when I see tragedies happening on the news. Then, I feel a bit of relief and tell myself that maybe my agoraphobia isn’t so bad after all. Then, I come back to reality and remember living in fear isn’t the way anyone should have to live. It just isn’t. The times I do finally get out to enjoy myself with others, I get nervous having to go into stores, restaurants, or while catching public transportation. It has happened before, when I was so scared I would make myself look silly that I just decided I wasn’t going inside a restaurant to get anything to eat. I was very hungry, but my brain just would not allow my legs to put one foot in front of the other and walk into that restaurant. There were times I almost fainted and lost consciousness on a city bus due to my severe agoraphobia and panic disorder. Even when I’m inside, I’m constantly looking out my peephole, making sure nobody’s lurking near my place of residence because it is my only safe place at this time. Don’t get me wrong, I try to make the most out of life every day, but agoraphobia makes my life flat-out depressing. It’s hard getting a job because my experience isn’t as impressive as everyone else’s since agoraphobia has taken the opportunity to have any away from me. I just want everybody to know that, no, I am not lazy. In fact, I am a very hard worker and always do my best when there is something I do need to get done. Those of us who have agoraphobia can feel like prisoners in our own body and we do truly want to get better.

Alena M

How Systemic Racism Damages Marginalized Communities' Mental Health

I know this is a sensitive topic for many and it might be uncomfortable, but sometimes we have to touch on the uncomfortable topics to help others understand just what some of us go through as minorities and people of color. For those that don’t know, systemic racism occurs when you cannot get hired because of the color of your skin, your natural hair, or when you cannot get approved for an apartment rental because you’re not white enough. Whether you are Black, Asian or Hispanic, it happens to all of us. Being a Black woman, I witnessed this a lot growing up. A lot of people talk about unemployment among Black Americans, but they always leave out the part where these same Black Americans try to get jobs and are turned down for someone who has skin lighter than theirs. Being told that your natural hair is inappropriate for a job interview, having your child being told they can no longer come to school because their hair is braided or simply seeing all white casts on multiple popular movies and television shows is the systemic racism we speak of. It is no secret that America is still a predominantly white country, and although we are slowly making progress and have certainly come a long way, systemic racism remains, especially in areas like the work place. Imagine you are a young Black man, hoping to get a job so you can get on your feet…and you are denied work because of your skin color, accent or hair style. What do you think that’s going to do to this man? That may result in depression or cause other mental health struggles. He may try to make money in other ways that may land him in trouble, in the long run. We should always be responsible for our own actions, but we also cannot deny that systemic racism plays a role in all of this. We can pretend like this doesn’t exist, but it does and can instill a sense of inferiority within marginalized communities. There are also a lot of Asian hate crimes being committed and blatant racism against Asians since COVID-19 hit the United States. Imagine being a young Asian student, very driven… and yet, cannot get a job because someone has blamed them for COVID-19? Mexican Americans are also often very marginalized to only being given opportunities to do yard work or landscaping, and nobody bats an eyelash about this. All of these things can cause not only depression, but also anger and rage in marginalized communities. Once this happens, some may lash out, and what’s sad is the end result is that people of color are often seen as the issue. Racists point at people of color and say we are good for nothing and that we are lazy. So we try to apply for work and we are turned down in favor of someone lighter than we are, with the right hair. We end up either being unemployed or making money in our own way, then we are pointed at and made an example of. The system in the United States is set up so that it is much harder for people of color to succeed. Our country is still not where it needs to be. It is important to raise the topic of depression and mental health in general in marginalized communities, because many just bury it. In Black communities, we are often working hard to show the world why we are worthy and that we are just as capable as white people to get a job done. Because of this, we often see it as a weakness to speak of any depression we may be feeling from the lifestyle we may have felt forced into, especially young Black men. Young Black men can be so driven that if they cannot get a regular working job, they may find a way to make money and that could lead them down the path of being locked up or worse. So what are they supposed to do when they cannot feel accepted anywhere, cannot get regular working jobs without being discriminated against, and start becoming angry and depressed about their situation? This is exactly how systemic racism leads to depression and worse, in people of color. This is why people may join gangs and continue to go down paths that they otherwise wouldn’t have. To constantly be told you’re not good enough after trying so hard to be accepted, you could end up giving up and turning to the street life. We need to tackle mental health in not only Black communities but also Asian and Latino communities, as these demographics are very underrepresented.

Community Voices

Black Men Who Battle Mental Illness

Hey you guys! Being that I'm a member of the black community, I've noticed that not many black men speak up about their mental health issues. So I was wondering if there were any black men on here who wouldn't mind telling me about any struggles with mental health they've had. I would like to try to draw awareness to it.

I particularly want to know if there are any black men battling Borderline Personality Disorder, (BPD) but it can be any mental health issue. I think it's important we make mental health a more talked about topic in our communities. #BPD #Bipolar #MentalHealth #Autism #blackmen