“Educate Through Humor, Not Through Hate” is a proposal to help stop the stigma and pain that can surround mental illness. It’s an “idea” that I’m proposing – a reframe – that gives a common language between all sides of the story. Humor can help to soften a situation, can be a chance to make someone chuckle and can open up a window to connect. It’s shared in an open, positive and well-intentioned manner.
I believe humor can help us to connect to those on the other side of the fence as us, to those we can’t figure out how to connect with and with each other. When we laugh and smile about things, we also have less time to feel those negative feelings such as anger and pain, even if just for a moment. That applies to both sides of the fence. That includes ourselves, if we’re feeling lonely or at our whits end.
If this idea speaks to you or you like it, please use it and pass it along! If reminding yourself of the statement in your head, writing it down or sharing it helps anyone in any way, then the goal has been achieved! We’ve had success!
As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, I have used this idea with respect to my stigmatized mental illness and talk about that in the page below.
Borderline Personality Disorder;
Educate Through Humor, Not Through Hate
The stigma with mental illness can be painful for everyone involved, including the wall it puts up between sides that makes it even harder to try and connect with each other and share the truth.
In addition to the stigma around mental illness, there seems to be an added notch of stigma and misunderstanding for those of us with Borderline Personality Disorder. There is so much misinformation, some hate, huge assumptions and stigma everywhere you turn.
There are basic human needs that we all have, even when you distill us all down past our mental illnesses or “normalcies”.
*To feel safe
*To have love
*To have respect
*To be heard / understood
*To be connected / included
Regardless of anything else in the world, we’re all human and we ALL deserve those things. Just for being human. Just for being us. Just because “I Am”….
Those things are hard enough to get and share in the first place. But mental illness can make it that much more difficult to get and share those things with others. And we ALL desire and want that. We’re all the same in that way – it’s being human. I know this all too well as someone with an illness that many have a “hate-on” with before they even met me. lol Those walls that have been set up against people with BPD can be so high and insurmountable. And we’re a group who is desperate to connect with others to begin with.
In the Borderline world, we’re swans living on the periphery of the duck world (please see the story in my blogs if you’d like to read more information about the duck and the swan story). We’re told day in and day out that we have to be ducks… But the worst part is that the ducks look at the swans through their duck glasses. They don’t realize or understand that a swan is a different bird… so that just doesn’t work.
Swans (once we finally know or have been told that we’re swans and not ducks), have to spend years or maybe even the rest of their lives leaning how to live appropriately in the duck world and get as close as possible to becoming a duck, with the knowledge that we’ll always be swans.
Some of people’s misconceptions, fear, hate and stigma they have around BPD may stem directly from that duck-swan analogy. They can’t, nor will they ever fully understand swans and what swans do and why swans do that. It’s absolutely impossible for the duck, unless they figure out at least a little bit about what it’s like to be swan by directly asking THE swan/speaking with mental health care professionals who have a lot of experience working with BPDs/reading correct and insightful articles. The duck can’t help but look at the swan through his duck glasses – but this is not a clear view. Sometimes hurtful assumptions are made and stigma develops this way. And that hurts us all.
In addition, BPD sits in the Cluster B Personality Disorder group under the general header of Personality Disordered type people. That larger grouping of PDs, in general, encompasses some similar characteristics between us all. At that upper level, it’s not uncommon for laymen to have misunderstandings to begin with.
Below that general umbrella, in the Cluster B Personality Disordered Grouping, there are 4 types of “us” that share more similarities. You may see us Cluster Bs fondly nicknamed the “Dramatics/Erratics”. That’s one of the symptoms that group our types of PD… We are dramatic and/or erratic. We can be a VERY misunderstood group to begin with, and I often read things that people write, that pulls symptoms from one of the other 3 PDs from the Cluster B and directly/indirectly applies it to the BPDs. When in fact, if you just went to the DSM-V and looked, you would see that is incorrect information. One may assume that because 2 of the PDs don’t have and/or display ANY empathy that BPDs are the same. That is a misconception. I have seen people take the seemingly and/or malicious acts/manipulation from another Cluster B group and apply them to the BPDs. Again – that is completely incorrect and is in no way supported by the DSM-V either…. Those characteristics are NOT common ones for all 4 PDs within the Cluster.
Cluster B Personality Disordered People;
*Antisocial Personality Disorder
*Narcissistic Personality Disorder
*Histrionic Personality Disorder
*Borderline Personality Disorder
I would encourage you to look them up in the DSM-V and/or speak to a mental health care professional to understand the differences, similarities and characteristics. There is also a lot of information in my blogs and pages and I’m more than happy to connect with or help anyone (where I can) along their journey or with questions… *(I won’t go into detail here about the confusion many have between BPD and DID – Dissociative Identity Disorder formerly known as multiple personality disorder. It’s enough right now to say that they are NOT the same and I’ll leave it that. BPD is NOT multiple personality disorder.)
Therefore, with stigma around mental illness existing, and extra stigma placed on the BPDs… We can’t work towards a goal of changing that unless we can find a common language to begin with and open up a conversation….
Regarding our mental illness – you’ve come to the right place to talk about doing that… Because in my Borderline PD world… We have to do exactly that. We have to learn, practice and apply a common language between ourselves and the “normal/non-BPD” people/world. I don’t/can’t understand “you” guys in other ways. The swans have to learn all about the duck’s world, how ducks think, how they act and why… and then us swans have to sometimes spend years and years in therapy/classes/with counselors/with psychiatrists trying to become as close to a duck as we can. That common language for us is reasoning and logic. I can understand that A + B = C, but it’s much harder for someone without BPD to explain to me that everyone else believes xyz idea so I should just believe xyz idea too… Especially if I’ve never experienced or had xyz idea to begin with…
Whatever the BPD does, however, with the learned knowledge of A + B = C is up to that individual BPD and doesn’t mean that all BPDs are the same that way. They may take it, apply it, practice it and make some great changes. Or, they may do nothing with it. Or they may take what was learned, and apply it incorrectly. That’s an individual by individual thing, but at least the common language was spoken and offered. This is exactly the same thing we all do, mental illness or not.
So, I wondered if we could build or use a common language between BPDs and laymen (non-BPDs and mental health professionals who do not specialize and treat those with BPD)? That language would have to be common between us of course… but I think it needs to be disarming as well – especially if there’s a lot of stigma, some really deep ingrained misconceptions and/or some hurt/pain in some cases…. It needs to be a safer place, a bit of a softer landing spot for us to begin with….
So, I thought why not try humor? Humor, ideally joined with an open, welcoming and gentle attitude. But humor as a minimum….
So that is where this proposal I’m making comes from. And this can apply to stigma with all mental illness. But right now I’m concentrating on what I know and live with, which is BPD.
This small project/idea of mine can be recognized by;
*The title or label somewhere of: Borderline Personality Disorder…..
*States an idea, question/answer, comments, thoughts, revelations, equations, information, coping mechanism, therapy idea, something that worked for me and so on….
*It’s stated as clearly as possible, in a short manner so as to keep the reader’s attention, not something that is too long or too hard to read or too complicated.
*Is hopefully stated in a humorous, captivating and/or a clear and concise way to easily portray the idea/thought/explanation ect…
*Is always labeled as being something that I put together and includes my BPD diagnosis date (allowing someone to see the post in the context of how long it’s been since my diagnosis and how much I may/may not have learned by that point)…
– “I” said this (BPD diagnosis 26/04/2017)
*I sign them that way as well, because this is of course, how “I” experience life, how “I” experience BPD and what I’m taught, learn and read at present.
The final goal would be to “reach” others by giving them a chuckle, if nothing else. Even better would be if it also got someone a little more interested, maybe it got them to question something or get curious, maybe there’s an a-ha moment, or a recognition of oneself in there somehow or maybe it helps someone feel a little less alone in the world knowing that others are out there who are also struggling / think-experience things differently / are imperfect as well. Or, maybe someone picks up a coping strategy that works or a thought for their own lives…
I see this as a successful venture, if nothing else, if any kind of positive “connection” is made, even if it’s just with one individual. 🙂
In addition, this is surrounding the topic of BPD right now, but that doesn’t mean that it does/doesn’t apply to other mental illnesses and does/doesn’t apply to those without mental illness. We’re all human and hopefully we find connections in all sorts of new, undefined and/or unexpected places. Please use, share, laugh where you see fit.
Anyone who has comments, suggestions or tips, please pass them along as that would be greatly appreciated. If there’s anyone that finds this of interest and might be interested in joining along or participating, please send that along to me, it would be great to hear from others….
And most importantly… If anything speaks to you or makes you laugh, please pass it along to others and share!!!
Thank you for your attention, interest and/or participation!