Losing my Identity – Art by Charlotte Farhan

 

Losing my Identity - By Charlotte Farhan
Losing my Identity – By Charlotte Farhan

Losing My Identity is a depiction of the identity disturbance which people such as myself endure due to having Borderline Personality Disorder.

So imagine living your life with no sense of self, not knowing yourself from your past, present and future, how would this affect your day to day life?

Having a sense of self is something which as a species sets us apart from other animals and is a complicated subject within philosophy and psychology. Your identity is generally made up of your beliefs, attitudes, behaviour, personality, knowledge and what social roles you see yourself in.

Identity is formed in early childhood and then continues to progress and adapt until early adulthood, and by your mid-twenties a secure sense of self is common in most.

BPD QUOTE

We learn primarily from our parents who we are, such as are we “good” or “bad”. This also inturn makes us aware of others and how we relate to them.  With borderline personality disorder, however, the distinction between “good” and “bad” seems to remain as the only two variables in which to see themselves and others. This causes splitting which is the extreme shifting of black and white thinking, from idealisation and devaluation of the self and others.

Losing my Identity - By Charlotte Farhan
Losing my Identity – By Charlotte Farhan

Here are my accompanying poems which describe each identity which I have felt I am, at different times, never really knowing who is who, or if who I am is real.

Losing my Identity - By Charlotte Farhan - The Survivor
Losing my Identity – By Charlotte Farhan – The Survivor

 

The Survivor

She looks in control and some call her inspirational,

cold and frank, aggressive in her nature,

always confrontational.

She doesnt need you,

from love to hate she swings,

people have tried, she simply withdrew.

She is a survivor you see,

no need to gasp or stare,

her only goal is to be set free.

Some try and disarm her, given half the chance,

but some know her well,

even at first glance.

She will protect you till the end,

resilient and fierce,

in this girl you can depend.

 

Losing my Identity - By Charlotte Farhan - The Fragile One
Losing my Identity – By Charlotte Farhan – The Fragile One

 

The Fragile One

She has no skin and could break at the slightest touch,

you rarely see her,

for being in public is simply too much.

Hiding behind her older sister The Survivor,

never allowing the vulnerability to be seen,

in her life she is not the designated driver.

For she is so vulnerable and sick,

infirm and weak,

if you want to offer her help, best be quick.

 

Losing my Identity - By Charlotte Farhan - The Benevolent one
Losing my Identity – By Charlotte Farhan – The Benevolent One

 

The Benevolent One

She believes in a higher purpose,

knowing we are here for a short time,

negativity is worthless.

Giving of herself always, never saying no,

truly altruistic,

wanting to save you and never let go.

A mother earth without a brood of her own,

offering wise words,

treating you as a precious stone.

She wants to save the world, and is certain she can,

waking up everyday with a mission,

wanting to prevent the fall of man.

 

Losing my Identity - By Charlotte Farhan - The Child
Losing my Identity – By Charlotte Farhan – The Child

 

The Child

She never grew up, she couldn’t you see,

trapped in time, searching for love,

she will give her love away for free.

Crying and screaming is how she speaks,

listen carefully and you may understand,

the tears say more, running down her cheeks.

She loves you, she hates you,

extremes are all she knows,

giving you a lot to live up to.

Building fantasies in her mind,

dreaming of a family who could never exist,

always filled with worry and fear of being left behind.

 

BPD QUOTE

 

For further information on BPD please click here

Thank you for your time…

Artist Charlotte Farhan
Artist Charlotte Farhan

 

Like my Facebook Page

Borderline Thinking for more support and information about Borderline Personality Disorder.

BORDERLINE THINKING

 

 

 

The Agoraphobic Artist – My Story

MY STORY

IMG_13041

My story of Agoraphobia starts when I was 16 years old. Only recently discharged from an adolescent psychiatric hospital and having wanted and attempted to die for almost 5 years, (including standing in front of an oncoming train, but being rescued by a very brave train guard) I had survived and started to believe that it was a cruel, never ending punishment. However I was struggling with so many things and was having very vivid hallucinations and believed that I was indestructible.

Then at Reading festival in the year 2000 just after I had graduated from secondary school with almost nothing to show for myself as I had been in hospital for most of my GCSE’s, I went with the attitude that life was a massive joke and I was the punch line. There I met my (now) husband Mohammed, I was in love instantly. I even told my friends I would end up marrying him, they (as usual) thought I was insane, in most medical opinions I was. Sure enough I started dating Mohammed and he was and still is everything to me.

Having never had a kind, loving male in my life, having been abused by my Father and then abandoned by him and having been raped by a classmate when I was 15 (hence the break down and hospitalisation) I had found my prince in shining armour. Mohammed gave me and still gives me more than enough love to compensate for my Father not loving me and being treated the way I had been by boys and men. Mohammed truly saved me from taking my own life when I was a child. A gift of life he gave me and I was not about to waste this gift!

So after wanting nothing more than to die, I now had swiftly changed perspectives, I didn’t want to die, I didn’t want to leave Mohammed, not for one second! This I have later found out is due to my borderline personality disorder and something which we have as suffers which is called black and white thinking (also known as splitting).

bpd 2

 

Everything suddenly felt unsafe! The world became scarier than ever, everything was potentially going to kill me, kill Mohammed and separate us. Slowly but surly I became withdrawn and anxious and developed Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I had gone from someone on the highly at risk register to someone who was preserving my existence with such an attention to detail that it was taking over my life and caused mine and Mohammed’s life to become harder and harder. We were kids, now living on our own and we were in over our heads. After almost being sectioned in an adult psychiatric ward in Guildford at 18, I decided I had to keep my mental illness hidden as much as possible, this also fed into my reclusive behaviour and soon enough I was not going out on my own, then only once a week with Mohammed to do the weekly shop and back.

images (12)

This continued for a year, then when I was 19 I found ecstasy, a class A drug which allowed me to do things which I would never be able to do, it gave me back my flip side, my fearless side. Just 2-3 pills and I was able to counterbalance my heavy anti-psychotic drugs and fear, so that I could be like my friends and hide my torment and struggle.

I wouldn’t go out, especially without Mohammed and then orchestrated my life so that it was not an obvious problem. But soon, I was put on heavier medication and became like a zombie for a year and didn’t move really, let alone going out. I was starting to create my own world.

 

A spoon full of sugar - By Charlotte Farhan http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
A spoon full of sugar – By Charlotte Farhan
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

Then just before my 21st birthday I suffered a complete psychotic break from reality and broke up with Mohammed. I convinced myself that I was holding him back and that I was not good enough for him and wanted to become my other self, my reckless other side. I couldn’t make sense of anything and felt out of control. This led to a year and a half of heavy drug use, dangerous behaviour and living life as a fearless crazy person. I changed my identity, hide my illness, made friends out of enemies and had no regard for my future, just instant gratification, the thrill of being on the edge again.

However, one day I looked at Mohammed (who I was still very close friends with and who I still loved like no other) and I realised for the first time in my life that he was my future, my partner and my family and that in order to be with him I had to confront everything.

Formidable Love - By Charlotte Farhan  http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
Formidable Love – By Charlotte Farhan
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

Mohammed and I got back together in 2006, although understandably he made me work for it, I had to prove myself and I put everything I had into winning Mohammed back.

After 6 months of being back together, I started feeling the panic coming back, the fear that I would die and not get to live this life with Mohammed. So I started withdrawing again from the outside world and sometime in 2006 I went out for the last time on my own.

My agoraphobia got worse in 2010, I moved to Portsmouth and within a few months of being in the city, I decided that maybe I could start working on my exposure work for my agoraphobia, so one day I decided to take a few letters I wanted to post to the post box a few meters outside my front door, Mohammed was indoors and I felt I could do this!! As I walked to the post box, I saw a man walking towards me, I didn’t really pay attention as I was on my mission. Suddenly I caught his eye and I realised it was my attacker who had raped me when I was 15, I felt all my blood escape my body, my heart stopped, I started sweating and hyperventilating, I turned on my heels and ran to my front door, thumbling around, franticly trying to turn the key, I fell through the door and couldn’t catch my breath and vomited all over myself.

PTSD - By Charlotte Farhan http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/
PTSD – By Charlotte Farhan
http://www.charlottefarhanart.com/

I felt this was another cruel joke which a sinister God was playing on me. I knew this man lived in Portsmouth, but it is a massive city and did not think this could happen. My world came tumbling down around me and I felt trapped and frightened.

This led to me not being able to go to a “normal” university as I couldn’t attend classes, even with supervision or assistance. I was then told by The University of Portsmouth I was to unwell to study and had to leave. I took this as a massive failure and as I could’t work either I felt I was nothing.

This is when I turned to art (Art Saved My Life) and am now an artist who works from home. I started at the end of 2010 and now am a professional visual artist, illustrator, art mentor and I am an artist in residence as well as being a massive promoter of art and it’s benefits to aiding and managing mental illness. I also raise awareness and break down the the stigma of mental illness through my own art.

lets-talk-about-mental-health-1024x776

It has been almost 7 years since I last went out alone, I am still able to go out with Mohammed, my Mother and a few safe friends, but this is only to certain places and it has to be all pre-planned with warning.

I do all this from inside my home, without leaving the house and it is a struggle everyday. I am still receiving medical treatment for my mental illnesses and am working towards a future when I can just pop to the shop across my road to get a pint of milk. People take for granted these little things which no one would think is a massive ordeal for some. I long for my independence and for freedom from my own prison. I take one day at a time. I am the sort of person that has evolved through all my trauma and pain to believe that we have no excuses, I have days when everything hurts me like I am covered in burns and other days when I can inspire over 36,000 followers and live out my dreams. All I know is that I am blessed to still be alive and to have the people I have around me and I will do everything in my power to help others like myself through art, change the world and I can only do this if I am alive, here and fighting the fight for us all.

buddha_quotes_motivational_magnet_d1474453158877163898gm5_325-536a69b246cce577604e756bd886a9b4

Thank you for reading my story.

All my love, Charlotte Farhan xxx

Official Website