We had the good fortune of connecting with AJ Young and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi AJ, we’d love to hear about a book that’s had an impact on you.
Borderline Idealist is a podcast hosted by a Black man with borderline personality disorder and his Latino husband. That in itself excites me because of the representation of voices rarely heard and viewpoints from different perspectives not always heard from in the media. The social impact is having a conversation others may not have heard if not for it being recorded. We hope each episode will provoke a conversation and help with mental health awareness in under served communities.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The goal of borderline idealist is outreach and awareness of not only BPD but anxiety and depression. At some point we all come in to contact with these feelings but some experience them more often than others. We podcast to help our audience explore these feelings and also the viewpoint of my husband, someone who is my caretaker, best friend, and support system. Without him, this would never have been. My BPD keeps me from completing so many goals and having a podcast for almost 3 years is a record to me of holding onto a project I once thought had failed. It was difficult in the beginning because the listening numbers were low and I wanted to give up but my husband help me realize that that was BPD talking, and that what I was doing was important. The story of the podcast is also the story of living with BPD — wanting to give up when things don’t go your way, or leaving a project when the response feels weak. BPD has always told me I was less then but the podcast has been a reminder to not compare myself to others and that being committed to a goal can pay off when you stick with it.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take my friend to Sweetwater Creek which is about 12 minutes away from Douglasville in Lithia Springs. It’s a great place to go for a hike and is actually the place my husband asked me to marry him. We love walking around viewing nature and reading the plaques by the different trees and historical buildings that still exist along the path. Also we would stop by the Douglasville cultural arts center Roberts-Mozley house to check out any of their monthly art exhibits, book signing, or readings as we always try to support the local arts in our community. We will also be sure to also check out Monterrey Mexican restaurant where they have a mariachi band and plenty of tequila to keep us happy and singing. The food is great and a favorite of my in-laws and our local community.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
In college, I was mentally exhausted, often depressed, had sporadic panic attacks and was suicidal. I was also motivated to get through it all and graduate yet I couldn’t understand why I was resisting and sabotaging myself from completing my goal. During those times I didn’t know about borderline personality disorder until I met Dr. Courtney Thomas. I will always remember him as someone who changed my life for the better and set me on the path of taking hold of my mental health struggles. I was hospitalized several times for attempts on my life, but I kept going back to school and seeing Dr. Thomas. I wanted more than anything to understand what was going on with me and if I could somehow get control of it. Thanks to Dr. Thomas, I was diagnosed with BPD and my path has been a little clearer since then. During a vulnerable time it was nice to have a psychologist who was another black man who didn’t get frustrated with me as he wanted the same thing I did — a more mentally healthy life for me. I feel like because of his time, I am who I am today.

Website: Borderlineidealist.com
Instagram: Instagram.com/borderlineidealist
Twitter: @borderlineideal
Facebook: Facebook.com/borderlineidealist
Youtube: YouTube.com/borderlineidealist

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlana is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.