Today is The Day!

banbury roadThis is probably the most unprepared and unedited blog I will ever write! I’m busy busy busy today, celebrating the publication of my book, which is finally out – today!

I also had a radio interview to get through this morning on the Kat Orman show, at BBC Radio Oxford. Yikes doesn’t even begin to cover it!

This was the view from the BBC Oxford reception, where I was sitting shaking, waiting. The house with the ladder is where I lived during some of the lowest and darkest times of my life. Having walked to the studio in an anxiety induced stupor, I was quite shocked and moved when I looked out the window and realised exactly where I was!

I can’t count how many epic screw-ups took place in the pokey box room I was holed up in, how many times I pushed my body, my self and my closest friends to their absolute limits.

It felt quite monumental to be sitting opposite a building which holds so many dark and disturbing memories, whilst revelling in the unfolding of a new and wonderful adventure. I was close to tears as I travelled into Summertown today for my interview. My nerves were jangling, my heart was pounding and even without the ridiculous heat I would have been sweating just as many buckets as I was. Not for the first time, and surely not for the last, I asked myself what was I thinking? I must have been crazy to think I could do this (!) and yet, there I was, nerves and all, pushing through. Then I looked up and saw this house and realised that I am living, breathing proof that there is, always, hope.

I am in such a different place than I was 10 years ago, and I can categorically say that 10 years ago I did not believe such a place existed – definitely not for me! And yet here I am, more pleased than ever that I didn’t give up all those times when giving up was all I wanted to do. I am proud of myself, proud of my book, and proud of my beloved friends and family who told me, 10 years ago, that one day I would look back and feel so differently about being alive. That day has come.

I do not say this lightly: if I can do it, then anyone can! I’ve crossed the road – very literally, and in every other sense – and, when I look at where I came from, right now, all I can think is ‘wow’. Just wow!

I’m off to celebrate now!

 

A Sad and Sorry State of Disorder

Goliath and… me

 

I may be weak

but therein lies my strength –

the power to deceive you,

the wit to fool myself.

You see my flaws

and thus I find I’m strong –

I have weapons to surprise you

while you gawp at all that’s wrong.

You sense my fear

and, so doing, make me brave –

for I use it to confuse you

and I do not run away.

I may be feeble

but let that not deceive you,

as it simply makes me fight more

to prove what I can do.

 

Earlier this week  I received an email from my publishers. Every time I see that I have an email from Jessica Kingsley Publishers my heart skips a beat (or two!). Part of me is afraid they will have changed their minds about publishing, whilst another part of me is afraid nobody will like the book – which is almost worse than nobody even reading the book! All the things I didn’t think through, as someone who suffers from borderline personality disorder, when I began to seek a publisher who would be willing to invest in my book.

The email said that the book has now gone to the printers – there is no backing out – we are on schedule for a publication date of 21st June. As this date draws nearer, the panic looms larger. I find myself feeling besieged by waves of anxiety and self-doubt. With the prospect of seeing my book, finally, in print, I am excited, terrified and mortified in equal measures, and questioning my sanity all over again.

A Sad and Sorry State of Disorder – A Journey into Borderline Personality Disorder (and out the other side) is an account of my journey, from diagnosis to managing the symptoms and leading a more stable and fulfilling life than I ever dreamed possible. I have been as honest as I can throughout the book, which inevitably means I have bared my soul much more than I would see fit to do so on daily basis. That said, I also decided to start writing a blog in an attempt to break the world in gently to the (mostly) hidden reality of being ‘me’, and in so doing I have, again, bared my soul much more than I would normally see fit!

Since finding a publisher for my book, and realising that any minute now the whole world will know about me and my BPD (should they choose to read my book), I think I am redefining what I see as normal. I once saw fit to not tell a soul about my struggles with mental health: I was embarrassed at best, if not ashamed. And whilst I am not proud of my struggles per se, I am beginning to realise that as long as my shame keeps me bound to silence, it also denies others the chance to understand, support, or be supported.

Admittedly, ‘I’m Tracy, I have BPD. Nice to meet you,’ is more of a deal-breaker than an icebreaker but I do believe that in the right context being honest and open about mental health will help to normalise it. It would be a huge relief if we could move away from being afraid or embarrassed of the subject of mental health, and it would be a positively healthy shift for the mentally ‘well’ as well as the mentally ill. As I said in one of my previous blogs: We need to be brave and keep talking until it isn’t a matter of being brave anymore, and it is simply a matter of talking.

Despite having a disorder that compels me at times to take life far more seriously than any gods ever intended, I do have a sense of humour, and it was my tongue in cheek sense of humour that I hold responsible for the title of my book: A Sad and Sorry State of Disorder. The subtitle: A journey into Borderline Personality Disorder (and out the other side) is my attempt to regather all those who may have scattered in horror, or slumped in despair at the initial suggestion of doom and gloom. It is not a negative book, but it is brutally honest and, I hope, balanced, and as the subtitle suggests I walk you through to the other side of the darkness.

Wednesday 21 June 2017 will be the longest day of the year; actually and literally. My book – my story – will be unleashed on the world, and I will most likely be hopping like a cat on a hot-tin roof, not knowing whether to hug or kick myself!

I hope it will help anyone who reads it – how it may help will no doubt vary depending on each individual and their circumstances and reasons for reading it. If you choose to read my book, I would love to know what you think; please go to www.thetracybarkerblogs.com/contact or @thetracybarker on Twitter or Facebook, and let me know.

I look forward to seeing you on the other side!