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  • Andrea Schultz

One Girl's Trash is Also Her Business Treasure

Updated: Jul 5

My life can be perfectly summed up as a Lifetime movie. You know the ones. Where the main character is always trying to not get murdered by some crazy female or ex boyfriend and the acting is terrible but the plot is so surreal and absurd that you just can't seem to convince yourself to change the channel. Yea. That's the epitome of my life. Some days I'm the main character who's about to have her whole family murdered, other days I'm the crazy female murdering said family. Nice to meet ya'll.


For years I had been debating on what to blog about - crafts, recipes, journaling, my personal life. And then that last thought kept reoccurring over and over, "Why don't I just blog about my life? People still watch Lifetime movies, right?" Granted, at first I thought that nobody would want to read about the struggles of a 25-year-old female engineer with BPD and Bipolar Disorder? But then I realized that nobody would want to read about the struggles of a 25-year-old female engineer with BPD and Bipolar Disorder! It's a win-win for everyone!


So once the posts started writing themselves with my everyday experiences, I knew what I wanted to write about. Best case scenario, my vulnerable and honest postings could help others who have BPD and mental health struggles relate and feel less alone in the world. Other best case scenario, if my coworkers read this and find out I'm crazy, which I feel like should have already been established in the office by now, then I don't have to worry about turning them into friends and being abandoned after 3 months! Again, everybody wins!


But when it comes to Borderline Personality Disorder, those of us who struggle on a daily basis understand that this chronic disorder can sometimes have its "better" moments. Sometimes - rarely. Like, once in a blue moon. Which only occurs twice a year... But hey, moments are moments! And The BPD Project just happens to be a result of one of those "better" moments

So The BPD Project came to fruition! But it didn't stop there - I wanted to do more. I envisioned creating an Etsy shop to really give myself the opportunity to not only share my thoughts with the BPD community, but to also share my personal, handmade items with the world. I wanted people who feel the way we do on a daily basis to feel, well, a little less the way we feel on a daily basis #bpdproblems


I wanted people who felt alone because their:


A) FP doesn't have the time to be their FP

B) family just doesn't understand why they are the way they are

C) best friend hadn't texted them back in 20 minutes

D) self-esteem has been living in a dark corner dreaming of an even darker corner

E) All of the above


to feel that regardless of their symptoms and life situations, one person - a complete stranger, had them in mind and personally hand crafted a box just for them. And that's when all of the disconnected scribbles ironed themselves out and formed a straight line that lead to an idea: a subscription box service for Borderlines by Borderlines!


What is BPD?


According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), "Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties regulating emotion. This means that people who experience BPD feel emotions intensely and for extended periods of time, and it is harder for them to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally triggering event.

This difficulty can lead to impulsivity, poor self-image, stormy relationships and intense emotional responses to stressors. Struggling with self-regulation can also result in dangerous behaviors such as self-harm (e.g. cutting)."


"It’s estimated that 1.4% of the adult U.S. population experiences BPD. Nearly 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women. Recent research suggests that men may be equally affected by BPD, but are commonly misdiagnosed with PTSD or depression."

Even though my target demographic is only 1.4%, that is still over 1.6 million people who suffer from this personality disorder. Regardless if I reach all 1.6 million people, or only 10, just one person would consider this initiative a personal success.


Symptoms


"People with BPD experience wide mood swings and can feel a great sense of instability and insecurity. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual diagnostic framework, some key signs and symptoms may include:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by friends and family.

  • Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization (“I’m so in love!”) and devaluation (“I hate her”). This is also sometimes known as "splitting."

  • Distorted and unstable self-image, which affects moods, values, opinions, goals and relationships.

  • Impulsive behaviors that can have dangerous outcomes, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, reckless driving, or misuse or overuse of substances.

  • Self-harming behavior including suicidal threats or attempts.

  • Periods of intense depressed mood, irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days.

  • Chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness.

  • Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger—often followed by shame and guilt.

  • Dissociative feelings—disconnecting from your thoughts or sense of identity or “out of body” type of feelings—and stress-related paranoid thoughts. Severe cases of stress can also lead to brief psychotic episodes., some key signs and symptoms may include:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by friends and family.

  • Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization (“I’m so in love!”) and devaluation (“I hate her”). This is also sometimes known as "splitting."

  • Distorted and unstable self-image, which affects moods, values, opinions, goals and relationships.

  • Impulsive behaviors that can have dangerous outcomes, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, reckless driving, or misuse or overuse of substances.

  • Self-harming behavior including suicidal threats or attempts.

  • Periods of intense depressed mood, irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days.

  • Chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness.

  • Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger—often followed by shame and guilt.

  • Dissociative feelings—disconnecting from your thoughts or sense of identity or “out of body” type of feelings—and stress-related paranoid thoughts. Severe cases of stress can also lead to brief psychotic episodes."

My Trash is Also my Treasure


I was diagnosed with BPD back in my college days, around Junior year. It took about a year for my therapist to diagnose me with the disorder, as with most therapists, she was hesitant to essentially give me a "death sentence," as some put it. But after the constant sessions of me explaining how Friend A-F didn't want to be friends with me anymore (I believe we were at Friend H by the time she realized the pattern,) and all the other factors we had discussed, she gave me the news: "you have Borderline Personality Disorder."


At some point I'll share my full diagnosis experience and how I initially diagnosed myself, but until then, I'll just say this. To my fellow Borderlines, despite the fact that our brains are literally programmed to kill us and force us to be #foreveralone, there is still hope. We have therapy, we have DBT, we have Crazy Ex Girlfriend to relate to, we have support groups, and now we have a subscription box service specifically designed for us and our mental health struggles - we have each other. But most of all, we have Pete Davidson.



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