I am here to tell you my story. Not because I want sympathy or attention, but so you will understand why I am the way I am.
My name is Shanell. I used to be extremely active, running track, playing volleyball, even roller derby and playing guitar and singing. I am a wife, mother, daughter and aunt. I live for the wilderness and the outdoors. I am a mountain woman at heart and always will be. I am going on 30 and there is much that I haven’t shared about my past, but it has come to the point where it must be said in order for you to see the true and complete me.
My childhood was hard. My father learned from his father, so his style of parenting resulted in PTSD. At 17, I had my oldest daughter who was born with a severe birth defect called a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. We almost lost her multiple times. She had gone through so many procedures and has been fighting for her health since. At 19, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, and at 21, I received a full hysterectomy and oophorectomy, which then sent me into a medically induced menopause. More conditions followed, which included pelvic floor dysfunction, interstitial cystitis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease with anglio spondylitis and chronic migraines.
Within the last few years, I have gone through a rough patch mentally. My anxiety attacks turned to more of a panic, which then led to what I now know as disassociation. I will be fine, but once a flare starts, immediately I nose dive into the deepest depression I have ever had. Other times, I go on a spending spree then shortly after have an anxiety attack because of the guilt. I had times during stress I would turn manic and I honestly felt like I was going crazy, and many people who I once called friends told me that I was exactly that.
My constant fear of things that are out of my control consume my mind. I mentally split from my body and stay spaced out all day randomly throughout the week. I am constantly emotionally and physically exhausted and therefore cannot schedule anything except for doctors appointments and therapy for me and whatever my kids need. I have lost all my friends because I am unable to plan time ahead with them, so they just quietly moved on. I even had a marriage end over all of this.
A little over a month ago, I was officially diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. People with BPD are totally misunderstood, and I know this from experience. Most people don’t understand the constant fight within ourselves to try and avoid an episode, but in all reality we can’t control it.
Medication can help with depression and anxiety, but the majority of dealing with BPD is to learn coping skills through therapy. They don’t understand how much we need the support to continue therapy and life in general, because most of the time it feels like there is no reason to keep moving. Society doesn’t understand the need to hide away in order to deal with the war within ourselves. I have been told I was insane, attention hungry and crazy. They have said I must look on the bright side and trust God. They just don’t understand what we go through.
I have chosen to team up with the Mental Health Awareness Project in order to let others know they are not alone in their journey and others fight the same fight. Borderline personality disorder is deeply misunderstood, and it’s my goal to raise awareness.