Labels are not judgements

Guess what. I like labels. I do. Labels exist for a reason. So we know what things are and when we know what things are we are more likely to know how they work and I have just a few labels fixated to my name. These labels represent who I am to a degree and I am okay with that. Labels help me to understand my environment and how to exist in the environment. And that’s not just me. That is what a label is, its an identification tag. So… when someone tells me that I am not my labels. E.g. “Your diagnosis does not define you.” YES IT DOES! It’s not my entirety, no. My entirety is made up of many labels.

Here, in no particular order, are my labels

Borderline Personality Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder

I could go on but that’s pretty good compilation, I do also have Complex PTSD but that does not define me as it is a transient malaise. I won’t have it forever. Now I would like to make this as clear as I can. I DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE LABELS. I have done the soul searching, and the speaking to the psychiatric professionals, cross referenced with my own research and personal experience and have come out with the conclusion that these labels are fairly accurate.
HOWEVER, no matter how comfortable I am in my neatly labelled skin people love to tell me not to get hooked on labels, that these things don’t define me. YES THEY DO!

ADHD – I’m scatter brained, I am creative and spontaneous, I am thoughtful and impulsive. I am emotional. I think differently to other people and I learn differently to other people. I have a lot of thoughts, A LOT of thoughts, I have thoughts about my thoughts and they run in tangent with my first thoughts and in the background there’s a thought galloping around like a llama strayed from the heard. I’m also taking in all the information all the time. My filter does not do the filtering. I can’t focus on a conversation if there’s a song I know in the background, I can’t block it out.

The Anxiety, Depression and sensory processing disorder are all comorbid conditions. Which just means that because I have the ADHD I’m a lot more likely to have these conditions too.
Now I was worrying about how I was going to cope with being an adult when I was 8 years old. I have experienced anxiety for as long as I can remember. It is a part of me, it has shaped how I interact with my environment. Now depression, fair enough that happened a little latter but hell, it rears its ugly head often enough that its one an honour art seat at my table although I reserve the right to ignore it.

Sensory Processing Disorder – This label explains my high pain threshold, my love of ice, specifically ice lollies or crushed ice or frozen grapes. It also explains my absolute love of water. Water calms me, it fascinates me, its where I feel most comfortable. It explains why I hate sudden loud noises (I’m looking at you balloons). Why the skin around orange segments makes me gag, why the touch of velvet (the fabric not the novel) makes me want to hit myself or the velvet wearing culprit and why wearing tight uncomfortable clothing in a supermarket full of people, noise fluorescent lighting is enough to give me a sensory meltdown.

BPD – I’ve covered this before, I’m not going to go into it again. It explains… a lot. A whole lot. And that explanation has meant that I have learnt how to exist in the world more peacefully. That label has meant that I have been able to understand myself better and to communicate my needs to others better. This diagnosis could also possibly be something else, it could be a different label but the outcome would be the same thing. It. Helps. Me.

So please tell me how and why I should separate these things and say that they do not define me, when they do. All these labels help paint a picture that is me and that’s not a bad thing. What is a bad thing, is assuming that those labels are negative. Because I do not see it that way. All those labels do is explain. The Judgements that people place on those labels are bad. ADHD isn’t bad. It just is. Anxiety isn’t great but fuck it, its there and everyone and their cat has varying degrees of it so what? Bisexual? People need to know when I am hitting on them! It’s not always that clear.

Now when someone gives me some of their labels it helps me understand them better but I should always be aware of my own bias, my own judgements and when in doubt, ask.

The important bit here is the autonomy. We get to choose our labels. Other people may try to label us but its down to us to decide on whether that label really belongs there. It is my body. My brain. I get to decide on what authentically represents me. It’s also not my place to tell someone that a label doesn’t fit them. I do not know others well enough to tell them who they are. That is not my place.

I know myself. I like myself, I am still learning about myself and those labels may change, grow or diminish but that’s my problem, not yours.

Also I am aware that my labels may affect the way others see me and their perspective may not be accurate or without prejudice but that shouldn’t mean that I don’t get to choose.

*flies off into the sunset*

Why Stef Sanjati is my Inspiration

I’ve never written fan mail. This feels weird so… bear with me.
Thanks. – My Self-esteem

Who is she?

If you don’t know who Stef Sanjati is: She is a Canadian transgendered woman who has documented her transition on Youtube and is now a year into her hormone treatment. She’s also an amazeballs make-up artist (like camel sized amazeballs).

I was lucky enough to come across her videos a year ago so I’ve had the privilege of following her on this journey. I have learnt so much from her, her attitude towards life and the ferocity of her spirit deserves to be admired.

Her videos definitely speak to more than just the transgendered community. My friends, the people who knew me where surprised when they find out about my strong advocacy for gender reassignment surgery. Why would a 26 year old cisgendered woman be so invested in this subject? Which often led to the question ” Is their something  you want to tell me?” (To be fair I did write a play on the subject.)

No. I’m not questioning my gender identity. I know my sexual identity is bisexual/pansexual. I do have an unstable sense of identity and do struggle with anxiety, depression and borderline personality disorder (BPD)*. Unstable emotions and identity are symptoms of BPD. I’ve really struggled this year because I didn’t know who I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to do with my life, this was topped with a depressive episode that led to a short stint in a Psychiatric hospital. I’m now attending  Dialectical Behavioural Therapy.

Did I mention that she’s totally gorgeous as well? – @stefsanjati


So why is she my role model?

She taught me to chase after my happiness. She knows who she is, she’s learnt to accept herself for who she is and she has worked hard to do what makes her happy. I, on the other hand, am so concerned with what others think of me.  I have to be the person they want and not who I want to be. In Stef’s (a.k.a Bread Mom’s) videos she discusses her whole journey, and explains how and why she decided to fully transition. Often stating that her choice is what feels right for her but may not be the right choice for everyone and that’s okay. She share’s how her mental health has improved since being able to accept herself and work towards reducing her gender dysphoria. I struggle with my own kind of dysphoria. I often feel a disconnected from who I really am. I know who I am but often my anxiety and depression suppress my ability to be who I am. I hide behind mask,  my own fears and insecurities preventing me from working to be the person I know want to be. To do what I need to do to be at peace with myself.

Stef Sanjati very openly states that she know’s who she is. She always knew she was a girl, no matter how hard others insisted she was a boy. She knew who she was and she’s worked to do what will make her happy and not let society’s opinions suppress who she is. She knows she is worthy of love and acceptance despite the adversity she has faced.

To learn about her journey in her own words watch her video:
My Transition Timeline (so far!) | 1 year on Estrogen


So I have decided to take steps to reach my own happiness.

Step one….

Knowing what I want.

  • I want to accept myself as I am and do what makes me happy despite fearing rejection for my life choices.
  • I want to openly accept my sexuality without feeling like its something to be ashamed about.
  • I want to be healthy but I also want to love my body for the way it is. – I know society says I have to look a certain way in order to love myself but I am learning that I really don’t have to apologise for my body, for my opinions.
  • I want to learn to openly and honestly express myself and to not be afraid about communicating my needs to others
  • I want to live lovingly and to fight discrimination against anyone who falls outside the parameters of ‘normal’. 

All of this is a work in progress but I’m getting there.

Stef will be undergoing her FFS (facial feminisation surgery) very soon and I’m so excited for her in this next big step of her life. Do check out her channel on youtube, watch some of her videos. I promise you’ll have a laugh and learn something new.

I’m gonna end this now before this gets all Kathy Bates…


*Endnote: I don’t believe that being trans or having gender dysphoria is a mental disorder. I believe that HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and psychotherapy is the way to treat the condition. 


Tutorial: How to please everyone


It’s just not going to happen and you’re only going to make yourself miserable in the process.

(This is not a tutorial. I lied.)

I am a people pleaser. I confess. Being a people pleaser doesn’t mean I’m a sheep, it doesn’t mean I’ll do anything to fit in. I’ve always kinda skipped to the beat of my own bongo and I’ve always been a little bit proud of that. But when it comes to the people closest to me, the people I love, respect and admire… Hell yes! I want to please them. For a good time I didn’t think there was much of a problem with this. I just wanted to make the people I cared about happy, what’s so wrong about that?

The answer?

Because it’s impossible and you risk your own happiness and even your own identity whilst trying. Here’s why…

Scenario: It’s a party. Your parents, your best friend and your partner are going to be there.

  • Your Mom bought you a new dress and she’s really hoping you’ll wear it to this event
  • You promised your best friend you’d go in matching novelty crab outfits, because that’s the way you roll.
  • Your partner is going to be there and shellfish really isn’t their thing plus there is a slinky black combo you know they are going to love.

What do you choose to wear?

The appropriate answer would be: Wear what you want to the party.

But if you’re a People Pleaser like me… you might not be able to see past your need to make others happy. You don’t even know what you want!

So…What do you do when you realise that you no longer know what you truly want?
What do you do when you realise you’re unable to make a choice that isn’t swayed by the desires of others?
What do you do when you come to the realisation that all your life’s decisions, from the way you dress to the hobbies you choose, are all influenced by the desire to please others?


(seriously, who am I?)

You suddenly realise that all this time when you thought you were busy being your own person, really you were busy being everyone else’s person! Suddenly you find yourself in Julia Roberts’ shoes as the Runaway Bride, who doesn’t even know how she like’s her eggs!

One of the diagnostic symptoms for Borderline Personality Disorder is having an unstable self-image. When I was first Diagnosed with BPD, I (very loudly) disagreed with this part of the diagnosis. I know who I am! (She said as convincingly as she could)

“Unclear or unstable self-image. When you have BPD, your sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you hate yourself, or even view yourself as evil. You probably don’t have a clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, and even sexual identity.”

for more info on BPD click on the  (Source)

I’ve come to grudgingly realise that this is true. My self-image is both unstable and unclear! And part of it is a consequence of me trying to please others.
Now, before making a decision I stop and think: “Am I making this decision for me?” which inevitably leads to another question: “Who am I and what do I want?” Usually I hear the tiny, scared voice deep inside of me utter the reply “I don’t know.” 

Not knowing who you are can be a very unnerving sensation, and I don’t have a lot of advice on how to figure yourself out, after all… I’m still working out who I am. But I figure that if you ask the question “Am I making this personal choice for me?” enough times you’ll gradually start to see things a little clearer.*

Maybe keep a diary to keep your thoughts and decision-making on paper…

Or maybe write a blog… I hear some people do that.


*DISCLAIMER: I have no idea what I’m talking about.