MHAH: Alexis Sands Story

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I’m Alexis Sands- a single mom and debut author living with BPD. I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder- a highly functioning one- at nineteen. I saw a psychologist briefly, but I didn’t want to believe it was true. I figured I’d be fine and continued on, ironically, as a psychology student, attributing my symptoms to other reasons. I received a bipolar misdiagnosis before being diagnosed with BPD a second time, many years later.

In retrospect, I believe I’m fortunate to be alive. For years I ignored my diagnosis. Hiding my emotional turmoil from everyone, I partied excessively and made one impulsive, reckless decision after another. I ended long-term relationships a couple of times, moving away and starting over.

Life has always been a series of highs to lows from friends to jobs to failed romantic relationships. Certain periods have been smoother than others- where my moods and anger were more manageable.  I’ve participated in therapy off and on, and recently started again. I haven’t turned back to relying on drugs or alcohol, but my life story’s definitely a work-in-progress. I debated even sharing, but then decided I’d encourage someone else in my shoes to share it. If I suffered from diabetes and wrote a book with a diabetic character; and then I experienced difficulty controlling my blood sugar, I wouldn’t be embarrassed.

After I self-published my first novel, I felt like my life on track. I built an author website and blog. I had high expectations, set goals about providing mental health outreach and some type of meaningful service for people with BPD. But so far only five people have reviewed my book and all the attempts I’ve made to promote the blog or book have been fruitless. There aren’t any funds to even begin outreach.  My sense of accomplishment and zest have vanished, while I retreat into my deep introspection.

In the past month, I’ve slipped into a depression- fueled by a series of unfortunate life events.  I’ve become detached and cynical about most aspects of my life- career, finding the one, feeling joy and love- ever working out again. When I read about other authors’ lives, they sound so wonderful and complete- happily married, perfect family, and a beautiful home in a breathtaking locale. I admit I overanalyze how mine’s the exact opposite and often consider giving up my aspirations as a writer.

My debut novel, Slated, is Book One in my planned Blurred Borders Series (link at the end). The main character, Sloane, has BPD, and the series follows her personal struggles and transformation. Her journey is inspired by my experiences with BPD, but the plot and characters are fictionalized. The second book in the series will be released this summer.

I’m a strong advocate of all marginalized groups being represented in fiction. A couple of smaller presses were interested in my novel, but most required a guarantee (aka buy) a set amount of copies and don’t provide marketing. I found some publishers and literary agents claim they crave ‘own voices’ authors. But very few accept books where the commonality between the author and the main character is a mental illness.  Others interpret the conflicting, but the reckless behaviors as too complex or the fluctuating emotions as ‘not good writing’- especially when it doesn’t conform to a cookie cutter, mainstream format. This led me to self-publish.

Though symptoms vary amongst people with BPD, I hope readers will identify with the protagonist and enjoy a fictional story that unveils the complexities of the borderline label. As a young woman, reading a love story or pop fiction novel with a character who was scared of her diagnosis as she navigated her world would’ve offered some solace. The world needs more books with characters afflicted with a mental illness to show it’s possible to have loving relationships or experience life’s joy while interacting with a variety of plot lines.

By the end of the series, my goal’s to portray how someone with BPD can live a full life, love and be loved in return. I believe exposure to an array of characters with mental illnesses will help erase the stigma. Overall, I’d love the novel to offer a sense of hope for those who are feeling hopeless – and to inspire them to keep fighting and surviving.

Thanks,

Alexis Sands

Link for my book:

Link for my website: https://www.blurredbordersblog.com/my-books

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