Written by Célia Schouteden (editor)
Three years ago if you had told me I would still be here, fighting, in 2018 I wouldn’t have believed you. That I would be 25 years old. But here I am. Alive, sometimes even happy and hopeful. I say sometimes because with borderline personality disorder your mind can turn from white to black in an instant. There is always something going on in our mind, for anything can be a trigger and we feel everything so deeply.
My biggest trigger has always been the fear of abandonment which is one of the nine diagnostic criteria. Most of my life, I’ve had to deal with self harm and suicidal thoughts and, there I was, three years ago on the edge of letting everything go. Ending my life sounded like the only solution to end the pain. After all the unheard endless cry for help, ending myself seemed like the best way for me to go, to free my dearest ones from my choleric and melancholic temperament, to free them from all the disappointments and constant fightings. But I didn’t die.
Someone came into my life and I didn’t die. Love. I know it sounds cliché but it woke me up from what it seems like a hundred years-sleep and as I was finally opening my eyes I realized something : alongside Love Art came back.
Very soon I understood that I needed to change my habits so I could feel like myself again ; I bought a cheap film camera and I started taking photographs, mostly self portraits. As I got more confident as an artist, I started taking photos of other people which really helped with my anxiety. Being « out there » was tough but it also felt good. I believed in my skills, I was getting more confident. I now use art as a positive coping mechanism on a daily basis : when I feel like cutting or drinking to ease the pain I plan photoshoots or take self portraits instead. When I feel the dissociation slipping in or anger booming in my chest, I do some editing or take my polaroid and hit the road.
My universe gained colors as I started expressing my vulnerability on film rolls. Being able to believe a little in a future and being supported by Love made me finally seek help, for good this time. I made an appointment with my psychiatrist. I was afraid he wouldn’t believe me, how I feel everything so deeply and how my mood swings are so unbearable sometimes I can’t breathe… but he did believe me and he saved my life. He put me on medications and my therapy started. Since then, I’ve had to turn every negative behavior into something creative and more positive. It’s been hard work but if I’m doing it you can do it too.
I truly believe art can do wonders. It has made such a difference : it has allowed me to trust my decisions, to open myself to others and find like-minded souls all around the world, it has allowed me to fight my anxiety, to share a part of myself and see that I’m not as awful as I thought. It has helped me realize that I can do more than I thought possible : I created a magazine, which was one of my biggest goals. I’ve felt more alive than ever, I’ve found a place in this world : I’m someone’s something, I’m not alone anymore.
Art did start all of that. But I've done all the work. Secured, Love by my side, I finally succeeded at something : taking responsibility for my illnesses and fighting back.
Sometimes you only need one word. One hand. Only one moment and everything changes.