Iowan with borderline personality disorder urging people to publicly end mental health stigma
Imagine a bunch of people across the globe, holding cardboard signs and taking to the streets on the same day to announce that they have a mental illness, and that they are not ashamed. This may seem like a far-fetched idea to many, but not to Iowan Ross Trowbridge. In 2015, Trowbridge was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), and in the same year, he was rendered homeless after losing his job. These setbacks inspired him to publicize his disorder and offer support to others suffering from mental illnesses.
During Trowbridge’s homelessness, he met and spoke with other displaced people. He soon realized that many of these individuals were not equipped with the necessary skills, educational qualifications or resources to openly speak about an issue which needed more awareness. Trowbridge did not feel any different from such people. To urge people to “put a face and name to mental illness,” Trowbridge recently created an event called “Project I Am Not Ashamed.”
On August 18, 2018, event participants will take to their communities’ streets holding a sign which will read something like: “I have Borderline Personality Disorder. And today, I’m not ashamed. Silence = Death.” This will help encourage others share the message and end mental health stigma. Trowbridge mentioned that the event would provide an opportunity to affected people, their friends and family members to “come out of hiding.” It would also help in increasing public awareness and reducing mental health stigma.
‘We are not bad people’
Trowbridge believes that individuals need to determine a treatment regime which is most suitable for them. He uses social media to discuss his own recovery methods. According to Trowbridge, these methods could comprise small activities, such as meeting daily commitments, meditating, attending weekly therapy sessions, helping others, eating nutritious food, and exercising. His approach also involves addressing the core areas of his problems. “Being accountable is a big thing for me,” said Trowbridge.
He emphasized that people like him were not “bad”; they had been, or continued to be, ill. The focus of his initiative, which he hopes to make an annual observation, is to end the stigma in the public domain. Since December 2017, Trowbridge has been living in Iowa’s Cedar Valley. He is trying to find work again. He puts in his daily share of effort to achieve an emotionally balanced state which is required to cope with his disorder. Medication is not a vital component of his treatment.
While launching the event, Trowbridge set a modest target of 50 people globally who would be willing to participate. By late March 2018, the target had already been met, and indications were that there would be more participants. Trowbridge relies on the phone and social media to promote his initiative. He acknowledges that along with supporters, there will also be those who will disagree with the initiative’s approach. However, all he wants people to do is to read the sufferers’ messages.
Dealing with behavioral disorders
BPD is mental disorders characterized by intense emotions which can persist for prolonged periods. Due to this, individuals with BPD face difficulties in reaching stable emotional levels after an episode. These difficulties can induce impulsive and risky behavior, unstable and intense relationships, wide mood swings and self-harming behavior. It is estimated that 1.6 percent of American adults have BPD; however, some estimates peg the number at 5.9 percent.
Approximately 11 to 20 percent children in the U.S. have an emotional or behavioral disorder at any given time. It is also estimated that 37-39 percent children will be diagnosed with a behavioral or emotional disorder by the time they are 16 years old, regardless of their geographic location. Although emotional and behavioral disorders occur commonly during childhood, they often remain undetected and are frequently not treated.
If you know someone who is dealing with any form of mental illnesses or behavioral disorders, Recover Mental Health can help you connect with the best behavioral disorders treatment center in your vicinity. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-593-2339 or chat online with one of our experts who can assist you with complete details about our evidence-based treatment for behavioral disorders.