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More Than a Depressed Cougar

You know, when I started this blog, I thought it would be 80% sexy stories and 20% breezy advice on getting the dishes done when you're blue. Then I got a paid blogging gig with an amazing mental health website called HealthyPlace and started writing about other things: specifically, the fact that I have borderline personality disorder (BPD) and how that has fucked up the relationships in my life.

People laugh when I tell them I'm a cougar, and they sympathize when I tell them I struggle with depression. But when I say I have BPD, I get one of two reactions: confusion ("What is BPD?") or concern ("Oh wow, BPD.")

Being a depressed cougar just means I feel sad and empty and I date young men. (Correction: used to date - I've inadvertently become a frigid old maid as of late). Being someone who has BPD means something else entirely: I can be manipulative, impulsive, defensive and moody. It also means I'm somewhat incapable of genuine love and intimacy (or so it seems). It's no wonder my intention for this blog wasn't to focus on this less-than-attractive side of myself.

Having BPD Feels Heavy

There's a stigma attached to having BPD that I've never had to face to the same degree when it comes to my depression or my cougarness. And yet, I'm announcing publicly that I have BPD. On LinkedIn and Instagram and Twitter. (And on the mental health website that has been good enough to hire me.)

One of the many major differences between having BPD and being a depressed cougar is that BPD is for life, or so I've been told. Arguably, I could decide not to be a cougar someday (improbable, but possible). But BPD is something to manage, not eliminate. It's more than something I have; it's an essential component of who I am. And it's not a component that I like about myself.

I've been writing about this other side of myself for the past few weeks, and it isn't fun. It's downright painful. I don't like revealing myself in such an unflattering light. I'd rather write about the best sexual experiences I've had with young men, or my latest brilliant hack for overriding depression to get things done.

Instead, my most recent article for HealthyPlace was about how relationship angst once drove me to take a pill overdose. Not funny or lighthearted stuff.

Also, definitely not the kind of stuff you want to show guys on dating sites. But, fuck it - my Instagram feed has quotes from the BPD articles I've written, and my Instagram feed is on my dating profiles. This may be a sign that I've given up, or it might be a hard-core test to see if guys can handle this side of me. This unstable and challenging side of me.

Maybe if other people can accept the BPD-ness of me, I'll be able to accept myself by proxy. Maybe not. Maybe I'm just working with the material I have and writing what I know. I have a lot of blog posts to write.

Ultimately, I'm just writing my truth: I struggle with relationships. I suffer and cause suffering. I feel allergic to people much of the time, but I live in an almost constant state of abject loneliness.

It would be nice if, one day, I discovered what it was like to be more stable and have more well-rounded, grounded relationships in my life. It would be great (and less arduous) to write about that.

It's not that I don't have relationships in my life now that I treasure. I have friends - amazing friends. But the harsh truth is that I know I'm not a great friend to them, and frankly I don't think I know how to be. But I know I'm a good friend, if not a great one, and I take pride in that. What I lack in consistency and reliability, I make up for in creativity and caring.

Ultimately, I'm just writing my truth: I struggle with relationships. I suffer and cause suffering. I feel allergic to people much of the time, but I live in an almost constant state of abject loneliness.

I don't really know where I'm going with this post, much like I don't know where I'm going a few days from now, but that's nothing new. I don't have shelter planned beyond next Tuesday. But that's a topic for another blog post.

I'll just end this post by saying the thing I've been saying to myself for weeks: I'm proud of myself. I'm doing the best I can with what I have, and that's the best any of us can do. I have to say, I'm doing it pretty well.

- M.B.

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