DBT Peer Connections

Building Hope, Community and Skillful Means

I have Borderline Personality Disorder; Borderline Personality Disorder does not have me.


1 day I met Marsha no-alpha copy
Marsha Linehan (Left) Rachel Gill (right) mindfulness training, Vancouver, Wa. 04/22/2013

When Dr. Marsha Linehan, the founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), recently came out about her struggles in youth with suicide and psychiatric institutionalization, having similar experiences in my life, it caused me to realize that just as my mental health problems could destroy me, so could they be my redemption. Thus, I was inspired to follow Dr. Linehan’s vow to help others find a way out of hell by becoming a DBT researcher/practitioner so that I may learn and teach others how to build lives worth living through DBT just as Dr. Linehan has done for me. This is one step in my journey.

Currently, I am in phase 3 of DBT at Portland Dialectical Behavior Therapy Institute, coaching my peers in DBT skills and building a community of hope through my closed Facebook group Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Connections, am a junior in college with honors, have attended a training with Marsha Linehan, and am already well into planning for graduate school.

Why is BPD awareness and DBT so important? Consider this. It took ten years of misdiagnoses before I became aware of and properly diagnosed with BPD, which ultimately led me to DBT , saved my life, and taught me how to manage the turbulent emotions that are a hallmark of BPD. In fact, awareness and DBT have affected my life so profoundly that in the years since being properly diagnosed and becoming involved in DBT, I went from being chronically suicidal, homeless, and estranged from family and friends to becoming a college student with honors, re-connected to loved ones, secretary of a board of directors for a non-profit that provides peer support services to persons with mental health problems, a member of various mental health advocacy organizations, and a dedicated mental health activist who single-handed sued the state of Oregon pro se for denying Medicaid recipients access to DBT.

Some may think that having the label of borderline personality disorder is a mark of shame, disparaging those who bear the diagnosis by the implicative nature of the term borderline itself, but I can honestly say that receiving the diagnosis of BPD was one of the best things that ever happened to me because the label provided me an explanation for my debilitating myriad of emotional and interpersonal problems that allowed my understanding of myself as being a selfish, attention-seeking drama queen to transform into a proactive realization that not only did I have a legitimate problem that was not my fault but a serious one that needed supportive treatment, which led me to DBT.

For this reason, I want the world to know that I have borderline personality disorder; borderline personality disorder does not have me, and above all, I am not ashamed.  Join me in transforming shame into empowerment and share your own personal BPD/DBT story of hope, compassion, and recovery by commenting on this page, talking with friends, family, co-workers, anyone and everyone. Where there is an awareness there is hope. I am living proof.

Love and kindness,

Rachel Gill (aka Pinki Tuscaderro)
BPD Survivor, Future Clinical Psychologist

Author: Rachel Gill

I am a survivor on mission to synthesize balance from division, to find dialectical healing, learn to love what I am feeling, live in the now, show my peers how.

3 thoughts on “I have Borderline Personality Disorder; Borderline Personality Disorder does not have me.

  1. Pinki, I am so proud of you in this accomplishment in finding yourself as I am learning about myself as well. I found this awesome book called “Out of the FOG” which stands for Fear, Obligation, Guilt. What a book. it is free online and it describes over 100 of the top Personality disorders, how to help work out the solution, What Not to do if someone you love has PD’s and solutions on how to empower ones self.

    I was amazed as just how many behaviors I personally do and some of the bad ways I handle the issues listed. I really connect with the solutions piece. The book is easy to read, simple to understand and is a life changer. Thanks for letting me post her too.


    • You inspire me Amy!

      You do so much work on the Oregon political scene, speaking for so many of us who often have so many problems and so few advocates. You are a light at the end of a dark tunnel and it empowers me likewise, and although we still may be few, we are starting to come out of hiding; we are organizing, growing stronger every day, and once a movement gains momentum and coming from a place of truth and love, it is only a matter of time before we have raised enough awareness to overcome stigma and all our brothers and sisters quietly suffering in hell whether from borderline personality disorder, depression, schizophrenia, autism, alcoholism, drug dependency, any type of psychological suffering that causes treatable pain, will be from shame, reach out for help and instead of fighting for it find it.

      I admire you even more because I personally understand the level of dedication it takes to be an advocate for mental health in a political context. I’ve fought for my rights to mental health with the gatekeepers, contractors, bureaucrats, and politicians sued the state pro se. It’s brutal. It takes a lot of heart, determination, and motivation to ride that legislative tide which is why most people let money do the talking, but there is one thing I know I have knowing you are fighting for all of us trying to fight our way back to mental health: hope. Thank you for all your hard work and inspiration you have given me.

      Love and kindness,


  2. Pingback: From Poetry to Wise Mind: A Book Of Poems, A DBT Journey | DBT Peer Connections

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