We had the good fortune of connecting with Allison Henderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allison, what’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
This decision is the most difficult one I’ve made in my life. It could easily be a career and relational suicide, but I can no longer stay silent as those suffering continue to be ostracized. You see, I have this “thing” called Borderline Personality Disorder. It causes intense instability in moods and impulsive behaviors. Most of my days are consumed with a violent shuffle from joy to anger to sorrow. Chronic feelings of emptiness consume me. Others may view me as a beautiful oak, with deep roots, but I feel hollow inside. When you’re hollow it’s nearly impossible to grow, to find your purpose, and to realize who you really are. So, people with BPD go through a constant splitting of identity, a daily trying on different shoes, but never finding one that fits. A deep rooted fear of abandonment causes us to only see people as we see ourselves, a constant shift in who they are (good/bad) and how they genuinely feel about us. Let’s not forget the anxiety and depression that intermingle every waking moment of our lives. It’s always lingering above, waiting for the perfect moment to push the pendulum just enough to send us into an intense high of euphoria or a dark cave of defeat. Emotional chaos, that is BPD. However, I will no longer hide in the shame I’ve allowed the diagnosis to pin on me. I refuse to succum to the worlds stigma and wear it as a label to bind and define me, but instead use it to change mindsets so God can shine a light through me. You see He can’t use what He hasn’t broken. It’s all our cracks and holes and scars that make a broken vessel the best light-projecting token. I am a beautiful mind but sometimes my illness can bring about a destructive contradiction of personality. When I’m healthy, God uses my “highs” as a torch to inspire, create and change the world, but when I’m low, the enemy comes in and tries to cover me in shame. The world has cast such a shadow of despair and isolation on those suffering from mental illness. One that keeps so many from bursting forth into the weakness that God gifted them to use as a vessel to manifest His power in EVERY struggle and suffering. I pray that this stand in the midst of my weakness ignites a fierce passion to those still prisoners to the silence and shame. That they, too will burst forth in their weakness allowing God to use them as a Beacon of Hope to blaze a trail of recovery for those who follow behind. Awareness doesn’t mean you understand my illness it means that you validate my struggle even when you don’t. It means you choose empathy over stigma ; love and compassion over fear and rejection. My hope is that TOGETHER, we can start changing the narrative around mental health. That we can remove the masks of “I’m good” and start being REAL with each other. That we will no longer find the need to offer platitudes where we should be offering genuine compassion and love. That FINALLY, those who suffer can live in a world and be authentically seen. I have BPD, but the shame of BPD will no longer HAVE me. #BREAKTHESTIGMA
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
God is blazing my trail to becoming a published author. A dream I’ve had since my youth. For years I believed that speaking or writing about my deepest sorrows would ruin my career, but I now know that I have the ability to use my pain as a platform to display His glory. I’m passionate about growing with other women, at hearing their pain and sharing in their struggles, because God uses it to ignite Hope in others. I have faith that this is only the beginning of the trail God is blazing through me, because, “though she be but LITTLE, HE(GOD) is fierce.” I believe what sets me apart from other writers, speakers and bloggers is this. I don’t write, speak or blog with the desire for financial gain, or fame. Everything I do is birthed from a passion to see those on the other-side of freedom walking in victory. To use my gifts, whatever they may be, as a mega phone for those bound in shame and silence.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Everything I am, and will be is because of my faith in God, but my story is dedicated to my daughter Brooke. With out her courage, I would not have ever possessed the strength to stand up and use my voice as a platform to advocate for a marginalized mental health community still suffering in silence. “ If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” -William Wilberforce
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