Borderline Art

Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex and severe mental illness which Charlotte Farhan has and still struggles with on a daily basis.


 

BPD is also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder and there are two types: borderline type and impulsive type, I have the borderline type. Which is a cluster-B personality disorder, this means a person with this disorder displays behavioural and emotional problems with instability, problems forming interpersonal relationships, issues with identity and self-image. Personality disorders are extensive and defined through inflexible patterns of maladaptive inner experiences and pathological behaviour.

Having been diagnosed at 18 after displaying signs as young as 15 Charlotte did not understand or even know what this “disorder” was? It was only in her late twenties when she was unable to rely on drugs, alcohol and reckless behaviour to mask her inner turmoil and just blamed her lifestyle for her behaviour. As well as self denial there was no information or treatment offered to Charlotte so she just swept it under the carpet with her PTSD and Dissociative Disorder. However all this sweeping just made her mental health worse and soon she started developing more mental illnesses due to the avoidance. Now having agoraphobia, Generalised Anxiety disorder and OCD as a consequence adopting unhealthy ways of coping with her pain and instability.

Charlotte has been using art as a therapy since being hospitalised in a psychiatric unit at the age of 15. Although stopping the practice during her avoidance phase, Charlotte still used some form of creative therapy: writing poetry and journaling when unable to afford painting materials. Saying “I could always find a piece of paper and a pen, allowing me some freedom of mind”.

“Now I use my art in all its forms to express my journey and how BPD affects me, allowing more dialogue and engagement regarding this misunderstood illness as well as inspiring others to talk about their own experiences and hopefully encourage people to use a creative outlet when managing their illness or aiding in recovery”.

This is my collection so far…

All art by Charlotte Farhan

Obstructive - By Charlotte Farhan Suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder is an ordeal on the best of days. BPD can cause obstructive behaviour due to it being a wildly misunderstood illness. This has lead me to hide my BPD from physicians and at times begrudge therapy, medication and leave mental health services. From the age of eleven I have obstructed treatment and then craved a cure, feeling abandoned and hateful towards the continuous changing of physicians and facilities. My art is here to break down and challenge stigma as well as educate.

Obstructive – By Charlotte Farhan
Suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder is an ordeal on the best of days. BPD can cause obstructive behaviour due to it being a wildly misunderstood illness. This has lead me to hide my BPD from physicians and at times begrudge therapy, medication and leave mental health services. From the age of eleven I have obstructed treatment and then craved a cure, feeling abandoned and hateful towards the continuous changing of physicians and facilities.
My art is here to break down and challenge stigma as well as educate.

Belief In The Impossible – By Charlotte Farhan A reflection and self portrait of the Struggle For Happiness and the conflicting ways in which things have helped my mental illness through religion, philosophy, spirituality and the battle with medication and treatments. Asking myself "Is Happiness Possible without a magic potion of sorts"?

Belief In The Impossible – By Charlotte Farhan
A reflection and self portrait of the Struggle For Happiness and the conflicting ways in which things have helped my mental illness through religion, philosophy, spirituality and the battle with medication and treatments. Asking myself “Is Happiness Possible without a magic potion of sorts”?

Escapism - By Charlotte Farhan Having been described as a dreamer all my life I have always had an escape to another world. I have a condition called depersonalisation due to my PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder. It is considered an anomaly of self-awareness. It feels like you are watching yourself act. Feelings of identity change, and that the world around you has become vague and dreamlike. With nightmare scenarios such as everything feeling less real, or lacking in significance. But for me it is an escape from the reality and memories of my abuse. childhood and trauma. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, I feel like her sometimes, this is my representation of this.

Escapism – By Charlotte Farhan
Having been described as a dreamer all my life I have always had an escape to another world. I have a condition called depersonalisation due to my PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder. It is considered an anomaly of self-awareness. It feels like you are watching yourself act. Feelings of identity change, and that the world around you has become vague and dreamlike. With nightmare scenarios such as everything feeling less real, or lacking in significance. But for me it is an escape from the reality and memories of my abuse. childhood and trauma. It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, I feel like her sometimes, this is my representation of this.

What you cannot see – By Charlotte Farhan As a Borderline I spend an intense amount of time suppressing emotions. People often say to me after I have had an outburst, “I did not realise you were feeling so emotional and unwell, you looked fine to me” This is due to the combination of having had to be strong and resilient through major abuse and trauma as a child as well as being ridiculed and scolded for displaying extreme emotions as an adolescent. So I developed an emotion regulation strategy. This painting is of the emotions people don’t see. My art is here to break down and challenge stigma as well as educate. .

What you cannot see – By Charlotte Farhan
As a Borderline I spend an intense amount of time suppressing emotions. People often say to me after I have had an outburst, “I did not realise you were feeling so emotional and unwell, you looked fine to me” This is due to the combination of having had to be strong and resilient through major abuse and trauma as a child as well as being ridiculed and scolded for displaying extreme emotions as an adolescent. So I developed an emotion regulation strategy.
This painting is of the emotions people don’t see.
My art is here to break down and challenge stigma as well as educate.
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4 thoughts on “Borderline Art

    • Hi, Charlotte

      I am very much in a similar position as you, bpd/agoraphobia/ptsd, and I am just a stones throw away in Southampton. Meeting another person like me is something that doesn’t happen too often and to see that you have found a creative outlet that doubles as therapy is very inspiring. Your artwork is really great and will in turn motivate me to create my own. I hope you have a pleasant new year.

      Warm Regards

      Rich

      • Thank you for your comment and kind words. I am pleased that in any way I have inspired you to create as it really does help me manage my emotions as well as give me a purpose to educate the world about our illnesses. I would love to stay in touch! So let me know how you get on and if you ever wish to talk I am here. Take care and best wishes for 2016 x

  1. I started commenting here then got distracted by a facebook notification… hopped over there to see who it was and it was you lol

    Anyway, Iv’e answered you and now I’m back can’t for the life of me remember what I was going to say o_O . Hold on while I sort the discombobulation… Dum-de-Dum. *sigh*… Did I mention I need coffee? 😉

    On a serious note… WOW! Charlotte, Your art work is incredible! Your back story, and awareness raising is inspirational. And your blog is a beautiful place to visit. I only discovered you recently so haven’t had a chance to read lots of your posts yet, but those I have read are fab. I like it here, it feels safe..comfortable 🙂

    I’ve used art (off and on, and more regularly over the past year) to relieve anxiety myself… drawing/painting/doodling…and writing of-course. It is, as you say, incredibly helpful. Cathartic.

    Thank you for sharing your story (and your beautiful art work). Kimmie x

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