Tag Archives: High School

“Just Blind”: My Experience With Passing and the Resulting Burn-Out

Last May, I wrote my first post in the 30 Days of Autism Acceptance. I never followed through with the rest of the challenge, but today, I’m inspired to write on the day 2 topic, which is passing and autistic burn-out.

There is a lot of societal pressure to look and act as “normal” as possible. Passing is the situation where people who don’t belong to the “normal” majority appear as though they do. This may refer to disabled people appearing non-disabled, but it also refers to people of racial minorities being perceived as white or to queer people being perceived as straight.

I never fully passed for non-disabled, because I’m blind, but I did try to pass for a long time. People however often could tell that I had some kind of disability even if they couldn’t tell what it was. Interestingly, besides not passing for sighted, I don’t believe I could ever fully pass for neurotypical, except to those who believe an autistic appearance is normal for blind people.

In addition to appearing normal, disabled people are also pushed to achieve those things that are deemed “normal” in society. That is, except when you look so obviously disiabled that people judge you to be too “low-functioning” for that, in which case they usually greatly underestimate your abilities. I may write about that at some other point. There is a lot of pressure even from within the disabled community to perform as well as non-disabled people do. I see this particularly in the blind community, except, once again, when a person is seen as severely disabled enough not to need to achieve.

Until I was twenty, I was almost universally perceived as “just blind”. Oh and presumably extremely intelligent. As such, I had to perform according to my intelliigence, so I had to go to a mainstream, high-level secondary school. All my problems there were chalked up to either my blindness or my high intelligence.

At age twenty, I resided in an independent living training home for the disabled, which had originally been set up specifically for the blind, so most staff had some expertise on blindness. It was there that it first became apparent that I’m not “just blind”. I was referred for a diagnosis and diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in March of 2007. Eight months later, while living independently, I completely fell apart. I experienced autistic burn-out. Yet many people still see my diagnosis, my burn-out and my subsequent voluntary admission to a psychiatric hospital, as an elaborate way for me to manipulate people into giving me care.

I never fully recovered from my burn-out, in the sense that I went back to living a “normal” life for a person who is “just blind”. I was in college in 2007. Now, even though I’m out of the institution, I have no plans of going back to full-time education or finding a paid job. Though I may want to attend some part-time education or do volunteer work in the future, I’m now happy to be at a day center doing sensory activities. I am also glad that I was finally approved for home support yesterday.

In this sense, I did in fact recover from my burn-out. I mean, I did not return to the life that essentially caused me to burn out, but I do think my life is meaningful. In fact, I am happier now than I was when I still passed for “just blind”.

Classes #FridayReflections

It’s still Thursday in my part of the world, but the #FridayReflections linky has already opened. This week, one of the prompts asks us to decide which class from school or college we’d like to take again if we could.

There were many subjects in high school that I liked. I was big on politics at the time and had a particularly clueless social studies teacher. He once made three big factual mistakes in a five-minute lecture on the elections. In my memory, I corrected him. I couldn’t do that now, as I barely know who’s on the government now. So maybe I’d do social studies again, but hopefully with a more knowledgeable teacher.

I would also love to go back to English class with Mr. E, who had worked a year in the United States while an American teacher came to our school in the Netherlands. This was when I was in eighth grade and could barely understand the American teacher. I wasn’t particularly good at English in seventh and eighth grade. In ninth grade, I was angry with Mr. E for telling me he had to specially type his tests for me instead of handwriting them so I’d better study for them. You can bet that as a fifteen-year-old adolescent, I didn’t bother. From tenth grade on, I loved English though. I had become an avid Internet user over the summer break and had discovered that most valuable information I wanted to read was in English. I became quite proficient at it as I started an online diary (which later morphed into a blog) in the fall of 2002. I loved Mr. E’s stories of his time in the United States, so maybe I’d take his class again.

The first class that came to mind though when I read this prompt, was not a high school class. It was my college psychology class. The teacher was thought of as boring by most students. Because his class was at the end of the day, many students would rather catch an earlier train home than go to his class. You see, we were part-time students, taking our classes on Mondays in the afternoon and evening, and this professor’s class took place from 7:30 till 9:00 PM. Many students, including myself, also didn’t live in the college city, hence the need to take the train home.

This professor though was one rookie lefty and I seemed to be the only one who liked this. He threw Socialist Party merchandise into the auditorium in the days leading up to the 2006 parliamentary election. I was a Socialist Party member, so I didn’t sign the complaint he got for this. Not that I would have signed it had he shown a conservative affiliation either. I did sign a complaint about the first test we got in this class. I still don’t remember why I signed it, but most likely it was largely due to peer pressure. This was obviously before results were in, but I ended up scoring a B.

Looking back, I would’ve loved to attend all of his lectures rather than catching an early train. He had a great sense of humor. Just this morning, I recalled the tale he told us about getting a referral to a psychiatrist for wondering whether the fact that he acquired a spinal cord injury early in life and had to be in rehabilitation a lot changed his personality. The psychiatrist barely listened before writing him a script for an antidepressant. I remembered this tale because, after yesterday’s post, I was wondering what my motor difficulties could be diagnosed as, if anything. If I ever ask my GP to refer me for diagnosis for this, I hope I won’t run into a physiatrist or neurologist with the same attitude as this professor’s shrink.

I got an A for the second test in this class and a B for my research project. I would love to do the research project again, but would choose a different topic. I had many topics in mind that were disorders I later ended up being diagnosed with, like borderline personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder and autsm. I finally settled on the subject of mild intellectual disability though. Maybe I’ll do a similar project one day on one of the topics I had in mind then.

Living my Imperfect Life

Still Afraid

One of Mama’s Losin’ It’s prompts for this week is to write about something you were afraid of as a child and to share whether you’re still afraid of it. Immediately, an interaction I had with my husband a few weeks ago came to mind that brought back my extreme fear of denatured alcohol.

My husband offered me a sip of vodka because I had a bad cold and he’d heard that strong drinks help with this. They don’t, but I wanted to try a sip anyway just to have an idea of its taste. Then we got talking about the time my ninth grade science teacher distilled alcohol and let us drink some. This would’ve been a totally stupid idea if he were any good at distilling, but well. I had it in mind that we had drank pure alcohol, which my husband said would’ve led to our esophaguses burning up in smoke. Turned out my teacher was really bad at distilling alcohol, because the vodka my husband gave me tasted stronger than I remembered the distilled alcohol tasting.

Then we got talking about mehtanol, a poisonous kind of alcohol, which surfaces at the first distilling round. I remember my father, who worked at my school back then, talking about how some students the year before me were either allowed to taste the first distilling round or almost did so despite not being allowed. I assume it was the latter even though memory tells me otherwise, as I’m pretty sure that teacher would’ve been fired and prosecuted for allowing students to taste something even remotely resembling methanol. My husband joked that if his teacher had allowed him to taste distilled alcohol, even if it was safe, he’d be tempted to fake methanol poisoning just to get the teacher fired.

I was by this time quite scared already. The evening of the alcohol tasting experience in ninth grade, I discovered my vision had worsened. This was due to a cataract, which is a known complication of my eye condition. However, I had the irrational thought for years that if I hadn’t tasted distilled alcohol, it wouldn’t have happened.

You see, I had and still have no clue about the signs of methanol poisoning other than blindness. Even though I ran a much higher risk of going blind from my own eye condition than from methanol poisoning, as soon as I learned about this, I was deathly afraid of methanol poisoning. Since denatured alcohol usually contains methanol, I was scared of that too. I would never touch any surface cleaned with denatured alcohol, afraid that I’d get methanol on my hands and lick it off. Worse yet, in my magical thinking, denatured alcohol could somehow replace tap water. Each time I was about to have a drink of water, I looked at the running tap water to see whether it was blue. After all, in the Netherlands, denatured alcohol is dyed blue.

I still have a pretty bad fear of denatured alcohol. For soap making, I use alcohol spray to make soap bubbles go away, but I somehow never made the connection. As soon as I did, I wanted to discard my denatured alcohol spray. After all, what if some leaked out of the bottle and somehow dripped onto my coconut oil, which I use for lip balm making? Both the spray alcohol bottle and the coconut oil can are tightly shut, but you never know.

I was also somehow scared that I’d accidentally drink denatured alcohol at home. My husband went looking for it to see whether he even had it in the house and he had. He joked that the bottle of denatured alcohol was next to the vodka, which of course made me freak out.

It’s not like I never handle any other poisonous products. I mean, soap colorants and fragrance oils are probably not the healthiest thing either. I also have a few shower products, which I use daily, which state clearly to keep them away from children. I reckon this is for good reason. However, it never crossed my mind to drink shower gel. Not that I would purposefully drink denatured alcohol, but if that can replace tap water, what substance can’t?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Disordered Eating: A Cry for Help

One day when I was probably in seventh grade, I read an audio magazine for blind teens. It was really a mixture of its own content with content from other teen magazines read aloud. One of the articles from another magazine was about an eating disorders unit. I just remembered this as I read a passage in J.J. Johnson’s Believarexic, in which Jennifer remembers learning about anorexia for the first time in fifth grade and wondering how the celebrity who died of it, got as skinny as she did. Later on, Jennifer learns about people being hospitalized for eating disorders. She envies them because of their size but also because of the attention they get.

This hit home with me. Back in seventh grade, I had already firmly embarked on the binge eating boat, but since I was at a healthy weight for my age and height, I didn’t notice my eating had spiraled out of control already. I remember once, probably in the same year, being confronted by my classmates about getting five candy bars out of the vending machine and eating them all in one sitting. However, I just got annoyed and didn’t realize that my classmates may have wanted to protect me from unhealthful choices.

We didn’t learn about binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating in health class. All we learned about eating disorders was about anorexia and bulimia. I even did one of my gifted program projects on these eating disorders. I didn’t tell anyone that, as I was writing the paper, I was trying to figure out how I could become anorexic.

No, I didn’t “want” anorexia, like some teens say they do. No-one consciously decides to develop an eating disorder. But I did want the perseverance that I perceived anorexics had. So I began keeping food diaries. This was before I had access to the Internet and I couldn’t read packaging, so I couldn’t check calories. In truth, as I look back at my food diaries of the time, they show a pretty typical overeater’s pattern. But I wanted to have some control over my food intake by keeping these diaries. Not that it worked, of course. Over the years, my binge eating got worse.

Back to the article about the eating disorders unit. For some reason, I felt compelled to be like these patients. I don’t know whether it was pure attention-seeking. I mean, I got plenty of attention from my parents and teachers. What I might’ve been missing was someone who saw how much I was struggling. Maybe, if I became anorexic, they’d see how miserable I was.

The other day, I had a meeting with my psychologist. She wa spushing me to take steps towards independence in preparation for my move in with my husband. I can’t remember whether she said so, but she gave me the impression that she felt I was doing better because I had much fewer meltdowns and emotional outbursts. In truth, I may be a little better, but I still have a pretty miserable life and feel pretty crap. Instead of becoming self-destructive or aggressive, I lie in bed or resort to overeating. A fair quality of life is not just not being a pain in the neck, but also being able to experience pleasure every once in a while. It isn’t that I never do, but it’s quite rare that I do things that bring me any sort of satisfaction. For example, I don’t craft nearly as much as I used to, because I can’t handle the noise and crowdedness at day activities.

I was also telling my psychologist that I’m completely dependent on my treatment team. What I meant was close to the exact opposite: I have no control over what goals are set for me, but it is my sole responsibility to reach them.

In a sense, maybe this whole disordered eating thing is a way of showing peope I need help. It sounds so pathetic though: someone who’s nearly thirty-years-old needing to be taken care of like a little child. IN truth though, often I feel that vulnerable.

Success

One of last year’s NaBlPoMo prompts for January challenges us to write about a time we were particularly successful at achieving your goals. Since I always made long lists of new yer’s and birthday goals each year, far too long to keep up with, I never succeeded at keeping my resolutions. That doesn’t mean I’ve never been successful. Today, I’m sharing some ways in which I’ve been successful in life.

1. Education. It may’ve been over ten years ago, but I am still proud of the fact that I earned a hig level high school diploma from a mainstream school. I am prouder now that I know most people don’t attach expectations of my current functioning to it. I mean, when I had just fallen apart in 2007, at every phone call to my family, if I wasn’t moaning about my crisis state, or even if I was, I’d be asked when I was going to find myself a job. Now that it’s pretty much known that I won’t find myself a job anytime soon, or most likely anytime, I can celebrate my successful education as the achievement it was. It shows that, deep down, I have some perseverance. Sometimes I credit my parents for this, but it was I who wrote in my journal, a month into high school, that I hated it but regardless I wanted to complete this level of education.

2. Blogging. I still have a blog post in the works about why blindness sucks sometimes, and one of the reasons is I can’t seem to compete on equal footing with sighted people in the visually-driven world of social media. The thing is, I am still a pretty successful blogger, because I’ve been able to keep up a blog for nearly 2 1/2 years now (and four years with my old one). I also get a fair bit of interaction from my blog. Most of all, I do what I love and I love what I do with regards to blogging. I don’t get more joy (or traffic) from posts that have pictures in them than from those that don’t. I think, in a sense, of course I am not a great blogger in the bigger scheme of things, but I’m much more successful now than I was with my old blog.

3. Relationships. I often credit my husband for our successful marriage, but of course, it comes from both direcitons. I can say that one of only a few borderline personality disorder traits I don’t have is disloyalty in relationships. It feels a bit narcissistic to chalk this up as a success, because ideally no-one is unfaithful. I could go on to chalk up the whole fact of my marriage as a success, but that sounds even worse. Then again, this whole post could be seen as a bit self-centered. Let me just say my husband is hugely successful at keeping me as his wife, too. Oh crap, that sounds horrible.

4. Little things in life. I remember once getting an assignment for reading comprehension in like fourth grade about a kid who was in regular education and his brother, a special ed kid with intellectual disabilities. It was said that this brother was successful if he tore a piece of paper. This is of course ahuge stereotype of people with intellectual disabilities, but I mean it to illustrate that success can be found in little things. Like my blogging success, my success in many other areas is relative. I can make coffee with some help. I can put my dry laundry into the closet. I can clean my desk if reminded of it. These could be seen as just as useless to a non-disabled person as tearing a piece of paper. So what?

In this category also fall the daily successes that people without disabilities should also be celebrating. For example, I spent fifteen minutes on the elliptical today and have been exercising four out of six days this year so far. Celebrating this daily success can help us stay focused on the positive and reach our long-term goals. What have you been successful at today?

When I’d Grow Up…

Last Friday when I was at my parents’, we had a long discussion. We often do. My sister was frustrated that she still doens’t have a “real” job at 27. Neither do I at 29, but it doesn’t frustrate me as much unless others are talking about how much of a failure they are for not having a “real” (or “real” enough) job. After all, we measure what we want to achieve by what the people around us (want to) achieve.

My sister is the only memeber of my family with a college degree. Nonetheless, my father attended college and my mother would’ve wanted to attend post-secondary education at least, which she never got the opportunity for. Therefore, it was instilled in me that I need to achieve. I knew at an early age that I was later going to a high level high school and maybe even university. When I was twelve and starting secondary education, I wanted to be a mathematician or a linguist when I grew up.

It hadn’t always been this way. When I was in Kindergarten, probably I wanted to be a princess or a Mommy like every other girl in my class. Starting by first grade however, I wanted to be a writer and I continued to want to be a writer far into high school.

My parents did of course tell me that you couldn’t make a lviing out of writing, so I had various other aspirations throughout school. For the longest time, I wanted to be a teacher, switching form elementary education when I was myself in elementary school to various secondary subjects when I was in high school to finally wanting to be a college professor when I’d finished high school. I did have some bad thoughts about burning out while teaching and landing on disability, but never quite gave into these thoughts.

I also for a long time wanted to get married and start a family. When I was an adolescent, I for a while thought I was a lesbian. I can’t remember what I thought regarding marriage and children at that time. Of course, gay couples have been able to legally marry since 2001 here in the Netherlands, but this was the same time when I thought (as it turns out correctly) that I was on the autism spectrum. I thought this meant (as it turns out incorrectly) that autistics didn’t marry, so probably neither would I. In fact, I didn’t give a long-term relationship much thought until it happened with my husband.

As it turns out, I did study linguistics for a bit in 2007 and was planning on becoming a scientist in this field. It never worked out. Obviously, I never even attempted to become a teacher. I am however somewhat of a writer now, having had my first piece published in a book last June. I am also of course married and happily so!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Everyday Gyaan

Ten Reasons I’m Glad I’m Done with School

September 1 marks the official start of the school year in the Netherlands. Though I still take classes through the Open University, I’ve been out of high school for ten years this year and dropped out of full-time univeristy in 2007.

One of Mama’s Losin’ It’s prompts for this week is to write a top ten list of reasons you’re glad you’re done with school. Though I was good at academics, I hated most of school. Here are my top ten reasons why I’m glad it’s over with.


  1. No more homework. I do get to do assignments for my Open University classes, but they’re all self-directed.

  2. No more finals weeks. I haven’t taken an OU exam in years, but plan to at the end of this year. Then again, that’s only one exam. I hated finals week, when the weather was usually bright, my birthday was coming up and I had to study for eight+ exams.

  3. No more carrying my heavy backpack everywhere I go. Of course, my computer and Braille display are much lighter now than they were back in the day, but I still don’t like having to carry them. Not being in school anymore means I only carry my backpack when I go to my husband’s – and actually even then it’s most of the time my husband carrying it.

  4. No more student theses. I hated the high school graduationt project, which my father described as similar to his first research in college. My husband took a few weeks or maybe even days doing all the research and writing for his, but my graduation project took me a year full of stress. I did it on a subject my supervising teacher hadn’t even heard of, namely the philosophical movement of British Idealism. The Internet didn’t have much information on this – so little that my project, once it was up, was for a long time second in Google -, and I couldn’t read eBooks yet. My mother did scan some material, but it was hard work overall. I’ve never done student theses in college. Though I’d like to have one finished, I imagine I’d hate the stress leading up tto the finished product.

  5. No more deadlines unless I set them myself. That isn’t entirely true, of course, since my treatment isn’t indefinite. However, the deadlines we get here are a lot less strict than those set forth in school (or in work, I imagine). I did just set a goal of writing a blog post every week day in September, but I set this goal myself.

  6. Less pressure. Sure, we have social media and the competition amongst bloggers, as well as the pressure from peers and staff to recover from our mental illnesses. As I write this, I’m crying my eyes out because I was just told that going at my own pace isn’t possible in this era anymore. However, the pressure to go far beyond my limits was worse in high school.

  7. Less bullying. I was both a bully and a victim in elementary school and a victim again in secondary school. Though I can’t say bullying has been totally over with since I left school, it’s far less. Also, people are much more likely to stand up for the victim now.

  8. More time to unwind. When I was in school, I’d often had a six-hour school day followed by three to four hours of homework, sometimes more. I was slow at doing my homework, so it probably wasn’t meant to be that much. At least, I’ve heard that a normal homework load is ten minutes for each grade (ie. ten minutes in first grade and two hours in your senior year of high school). I do of course not have a job, so this allows me more tiem to myself, but even when I did the intensive blindness rehabilitation program, I had more time to unwind than in school.

  9. I don’t feel as lonely anymore. This may not have had to do with school per se, and may’ve been more due to my age. I have grown to a ppreciate the interaction that I do get and not constantly grieve the fact that I don’t have any friends (other than my husband).

  10. No more graduation ceremonies. I hated my high school graduation ceremony. My father and tutor convinced the principal not to create a whole circus glorigying the school for having helped a blind student graduate. Nonetheless, I just hated the implicit expectations of excellence that come with graduation. The evening I got my foundation in applied psychology certificate was much more laid-back.


What do you appreciate most about not being in school anymore?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Everyday Gyaan

Ten Achievements of the Past Decade

Today in Blog Everyday in May, the prompt is to list ten achievements of the past ten years. Now I already did my 28 Before 28 post in February, so it’s an extra challenge not to repeat myself. I am just going to write, and if I don’t get to ten, well, screw it.

1. Graduated from high school. This happened just shy of a decade ago. I am not particularly proud of myself for graduating, probably because my parents were super over the top proud of me and I still can’t let go of a little parent-defying. I forgot most of what I learned in high school anyway.

2. Learned to clean and cook semi-independently. I went to an independence training home for the disabled in 2006 and 2007, where I learned many skilsl ncessary for independent living. I lost most of these skills again, but the fact that I learned them once, makes me confident that I can relearn them.

3. Overcame a mental crisis. It surprises me that, in the 28 Before 28 list, though I did include my diagnoses, I didn’t include the actual achievement of overcoming the darkest of aspects of mental illness. In all honesty, and I hope this doesn’t get me kicked out of care before I’m ready, I can say I’m much better able to cope than I was back when I was first hospitalized in 2007.

4. Finished two Open University psychology courses with a passing grade. IN 28 Before 28, I did mention that I took five courses in total, but the achievement of passing two of them in 2009 was largely overshadowed by the fact of the three that I didn’t pass.

5. Was able to let go of some of the darker trauma-based emotions and perceptions. As regular readers might know, I’m a childhood trauma survivor, which largely came to the surface when I was at my old rehabilitation unit in 2010. Though I got no evidence-based treatment for PTSD or dissociation, through a lot of talking and some work done on my own, I overcame most of the classic PTSD symptoms. I still have attachment issues, emotion regulation difficulties, etc., but I am confident that I will overcome the debilitating effects of these too.

6. Got married. I don’t usually credit myself for our relationship success, but then again it’s a mutual effort I guess, so I should deserve half the credit. If not, then well, I’m still happy I got married, so this fact still belongs here!

7. Started and restarted yoga. I took yoga classes in 2009 or 2010, but eventually quit because the emotions it brought on were too overwhelming. I recetnly restarted and am becoming quite successful at basic poses and exercises.

8. Was able to participate in group recreational therapy. In my old institution, I used to get individual day activities only. Due to budget cuts, I couldn’t get these for a long while in my current institution so I tried the day activity group. It’s still quite hard, but I can at least usually keep up.

9. Was able to enter the recovery stage with regards to my eating disorder. That is, I comletely stopped purging and recently was able to reduce my binge eating significantly too. I gained lots of weight in the past decade and have only started losing it again little by little over the past couple of months, but at least I’m improving. I also haven’t self-harmed in a few months, but that has not been a conscious effort as much.

10. Am generally much happier than I was ten years ago. This pretty much sums up all of my achievements. I didn’t earn the Ph.D. or get the high-profile job I thought I envisioned for myself ten years ago, but so what? I’m generaly less angry, less hostile and also less anxious than I was in 2005. I’m still not the shiniest example of positivity on the planet, but I’m trying to keep a positive outlook, and that’s what matters!

Found Love. Now What?
The List

28 Before 28

It’s been a while since I wrote on this blog. I started up a Dutch blog again, and this time I hope that neither this blog nor the Dutch one suffers from my having two blogs. The reason I didn’t post for a while has nothing to do with the Dutch blog though. It’s to do with the fact that my braille display needed repairing and they took it into the shops for repairs rather than trying to fix the thing while I waited. This originally meant, or so I thought, that I couldn’t use the computer at all. Thankfully, I figured out the text-to-speech functionality and could do some Facebooking and blogging in Dutch. The synthesizer doesn’t do English though, so blogging here was out.

Even though I had over a week without blogging, I didn’t get lots of inspiration, because I couldn’t read the mostly English-language posts I usually get my inspiration from. I am determined to write though, so I’m going with Ginny Marie’s spin cycle prompt. The prompt is “28 things”. I originally thought about taking the easy way out and writing 28 random facts about myself, but then I realized I am 28 right now. Therefore, I choose to write 28 things I did before turning 28. Not all of these are truly achievements I made, but oh well.


  1. Went to three different elementary schools and two secondary schools. Graduated high school in 2005.

  2. Learned three foreign languages (English, German and French) and Latin. Forgot all but English and a tiny bit of German.

  3. Taught myself calendar calculation.

  4. Went to a school prom. Once or maybe even twice.

  5. Had crushes on only three different people. All of them were unapproachable. I don’t know whether I could even call what I feel for my husband a crush.

  6. Went to college and university. I attended college for a year and university for all of two months.

  7. Took five college courses in psychology. Passed two, failed one and never took the test for two.

  8. Lived on my own. For three months, but I did it!

  9. Got married.

  10. Lived in four different cities/towns, three of which are in the province of Gelderland.

  11. Rented an apartment with my husband.

  12. Got two cats.

  13. Traveled to France, Germany, England, Switzerland, Italy and Russia.

  14. Had eight major surgeries, seven of which I had before the age of nine. The eighth was my eye surgery in 2013.

  15. Got my wisdom teeth and had them out.

  16. Was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, borderline personality disorder and a host of other psychiatric conditons that I got dediagnosed with again.

  17. Was on at least a dozen different medications, ten of which were psychiatric medications.

  18. Had at least a dozen online journals and blogs.

  19. Was the owner for four or five Yahoo! E-mail groups and one Facebook group. None of them are currently active. Created another (also inactive) Facebook group and became a co-admin for a Yahoo! group and a Facebook group that are both active at age 28.

  20. Wrote a resume. Once. Because it was a college requirement.

  21. Spoke to two members of parliament in person. One came to my high school and the other came to the blindness rehabiliation center. Both were from the Christian party.

  22. Was a member of the Socialist Party.

  23. Voted for them only once and voted for two other parties, both on the left of the political spectrum.

  24. Participated in two debating contests representing my high school.

  25. Was a member of a children’s choir even though I cannot sing to save my life.

  26. Owned the DSM-5, the current edition of the psychiatric manual, even though it’s not in use in the Netherlands yet. Read most of it.

  27. Had twelve computers, three braille displays (and got my fourth one just after my 28th birthday) and four mobile phones. All of my computers were laptops and none of my cellphones were smartphones.

  28. Attempted to write my autobiography at least half a dozen times.

Friendship and Borderline Personality Disorder

The second question in the “31 days of BPD” challenge asks why your last friendship ended. Now I don’t have any friends (unless you count my husband) and haven’t had any in a long time.

Friendships for me were usually short-lived. I had one friend in elementary school who stayed friends with me for the three years that I attended that school, but we didn’t have much contact after I left the school. I’d call her a few times, but she’d never call me and I eventually gave up.

With my seventh grade school for the blind friend, the same happened. We were good friends for the entirety of the year I spent in that school. I’d say we were best friends, but in all honesty she was my only real frined even though I got along quite well with my other classmates and some older girls too. Anyway, after I left the school to be mainstreamed, I spoke to her a few times on the phone, but I’d always ask her to call me and she never would.

I think I must’ve burdneed her with my problems, being bullied and isolated in mainstream school, but I don’t remember. This was in any case what caused my few mainstream school friendships to end. Right when a girl started hanging out with me, I’d open up and tell her my problems. While that wasn’t the actual reason my friendship with four girls in seventh grade mainstream education ended, it probably did contribute.

This was the only friendship that truly was broken. I reemember it was at the beginning of eighth grade. We’d had to do a graded music performance, which I apparently screwed up. I don’t remember how, but somehow I screwed it up, giving the other girls a bare pass. They ignored me for a week, one girl in particular but she was supported by her three friends. Then, when I apologized for whatever I did wrong, they said they forgave me but never quite grew the friendship back.

This all happened when I was a teen, and I’m not sure it’s truly BPD that caused me to be overly open. It could have been my autistic social cluelessness combined with the fact that, well, everyone needs someone to support them and I didn’t have any adults who did. However, rapidly growing attached to people is a common BPD trait. I am not really sure I have this trait, as it’s not really that I overestimate how close I am to people.

With my now husband, I saw him as an acquaintance when he was visiting me on the psych unit on a weekly basis. I didn’t grow a true attachment to him till we started dating. However, I did open up to him too soon, sharing my suicidal ideation at his first visit to the hospital.

This could be related to BPD in a way, in that I particularly open up a lot when I experience strong emotions. Another thing, however, is that I open up more to people I barely know than to those who should be close to me, like my family. I don’t have a clue whether this is a BPD or an autism thing or not.

Linking up with Saturday Sharefest at the Recovery Bloggers Network. The Recovery Bloggers Network is a new project, where I and another blogger hope to connect bloggers who write about mental health, addiction, recovery, or healing from trauma or abuse.