Dear Marya Hornbacher,
It made me sick. It made me cut myself. It made me lose all of my friends. It scared my parents nearly to death. It made me throw glassware on the floor, just to see it break. It made me stop eating. It made me eat too much. It made me shove my fingers down my throat. It made me rage like the Hulk. It made me hate myself. It made me try to kill myself.
At fifteen, I tried killing myself. The first person I told about it was my therapist, and I was checked into a hospital shortly after. One of the worst and oddest experiences of my life was my five days spent in the hospital's mental health unit. After I read your words, "Someone speaks in soft tones to me and says I am psychotic, but it's going to be all right. I put on my hat, unperturbed, and ask for some crayons," I no longer felt alone. No one I knew had ever been a patient in the psych ward, so reading about your time in there helped me feel like I wasn't just some crazy girl who couldn't handle being alive. I was so thankful that there was someone who felt the same as me.
I read Madness prior to being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I had been crying, laughing, throwing absurd tantrums, or bouncing off the walls my entire life, but I had never considered that I might be sick. I read, "I grew into it. It grew into me. It and I blurred at the edges, became one amorphous, seeing, crawling thing," and I felt as if you were speaking directly to me, as if you had lived my life of self-harm and suicidal tendencies. Madness made me see that what I was experiencing wasn't normal. Reading Madness was very startling for me as I recognized many of the same symptoms within myself. I saw the constant mood swings, the self-harm, the inaccurate self-image, the rage, the breaking of beautiful glassware, and the suicide attempts. I saw myself in your shoes.
That made me ask my therapist if I had bipolar disorder, which she said no to, but told me I had bipolar disorder's close friend, borderline personality disorder. For years I had only been treated for serious depression and anxiety, because no one put the pieces together. Madness was the last piece of the puzzle, filling in the whole image.
I was finally put on medicine that treats both bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. The medicine started to kill my madness and make me stable, something I have never really experienced. Although my medicine helps me most of the time, I still have those days where I lose myself. 1 think of ending my longstanding streak of being self-harm free. I think of stopping my medicine because, whats the point anyway? I think of ending my life. Then 1 think of your story and how you pulled through; that there is hope for me and that a bad day doesn't mean a bad life. The bravery you showed by sharing your struggle with bipolar disorder through Madness helped me to be brave and share my own struggle with borderline personality disorder.
Before reading your book, getting my diagnosis, and taking proper medication, I was crying myself to sleep every night, cutting myself every day and attempting suicide on a regular basis. If I had not picked up Madness, I would probably be dead. Thank you for being brave enough to share your inner demons with the world. You inspired me to share my own demons too and help others in need. I'm in the process of starting a non-profit organization that educates and spreads awareness to families, friends, and the afflicted about borderline personality disorder, self-harm, and suicide.
It was surprising to me that a person's story could impact a life so much. Reflecting on my past and looking ahead into my future, I need to thank you again for sharing your story and helping to save my life. As your story changed my life, I want to share my story too, with the hope that I can impact someone's life as much as you have impacted mine..