Some may think that having the label of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mark of shame. However, I can honestly say that receiving the diagnosis was one of the best things that ever happened to me because it ultimately led me to dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). In fact, after 10 years of futile attempts to find the correct diagnosis and treatment, I was so appreciative of the label, I did something that often puzzles those whom I tell my story; I sent the social worker who correctly diagnosed me a bouquet of flowers and a thank you card.
What is more, when Dr. Marsha Linehan, the founder of DBT came out about her struggles in youth with suicide and psychiatric institutionalization, it instantly changed my views of my own experiences in youth with suicide and psychiatric institutionalization. Most importantly, it reversed all the doubts I had about what I could achieve as a person in recovery from BPD. I realized that If Marsha Linehan can overcome BPD to become one of the most respected and important clinical psychologists of her time, it is possible that I can overcome BPD and do amazing things too. Thus, I am inspired to follow Dr. Linehan’s example and have made a lifelong vow to help others find a way out of BPD hell.
In the end, my BPD label is the key that unlocked the door to DBT and my path to recovery. I may have borderline personality disorder, but borderline personality disorder does not have me, and above all, I am not ashamed. In fact, I am proud of the progress I have made on my difficult journey to emotional wellness. Therefore, I want people to know my story so the world can see we with BPD are not monsters who need to be controlled, avoided, or caged psychiatric jails. We are people who are capable of achieving great things. However, in our communities, we need acceptance without judgment, compassion, and access to evidence based treatments like DBT that work.
Rachel Gill (aka Pinki Tuscaderro)
DBT Peer Mentor, BPD Peer Advocate
About Rachel Gill
I am a proud member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, a mental health advocate & peer mentor recovering from borderline personality disorder. Currently, I am in phase 3 of DBT at Portland Dialectical Behavior Therapy Institute. Having gained some mastery, I recently started a closed Facebook group, Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Connections, where I enjoy coaching my peers in DBT skills, and building a community of hope that is now 3000 members strong and growing.
As for education, I am a senior undergraduate studying toward a Bachelor of Science in Social and Behavioral Sciences. I will go on after earning my Bachelor of Science to study toward a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with respective emphasis on:
Dialectical behavioral therapy phases 2-4 group skills research & development
Web-based mental health services research & development
Peer-delivered mental health services research & development
In my free time, I like to add content to my DBT Peer Connections website at ilovedbt.com. I also enjoy creating DBT worksheets, videos, articles, essays and collecting DBT research literature, clinical manuals, and all things DBT that I exclusively share with my closed Facebook group, DBT Peer Connections at https://www.facebook.com/groups/dbtskills/. We now have over 3000 terrific DBT peer members, nearly 20 group leaders, and we continue to grow. In addition to my DBT hobbies, I am also an active artist and write, produce, and publish original music, poetry, and multimedia creations under the alias Pinki Tuscaderro.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Related Training Certificates*
- DBT Standard Program: Client Certificate of Completion, Portland DBT Institute
Dec.2010 (1 cycle = 27 weeks or 67 hours note: completed skills training 2.25 cycles)
- Mindfulness with Marsha M Linehan: Practicing Willingness & Acceptance Behavioral Tech, LLC
(12.5 CE) April 22-23 2013
- DBT Chain Analysis Training Behavioral Tech, LLC
(8 CE) September 2013
- DBT Introduction to Trauma: Client Certificate of Completion, Portland DBT Institute
(12 weeks =18hrs) October 2013
- DBT Validation Principles & Strategies (3 CE) July 2014 Behavioral Tech, LLC
- DBT Peer Exposure Group, Portland DBT Institute
* Training Certificates are different from DBT Certification.
Training Certificates attest to attending a time-limited training. DBT Certification is a professional accreditation process managed by the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification https://dbt-lbc.org. It is a more involved assessment demonstrating the application of knowledge to the performance and delivery of the treatment. It requires more than an attestation statement. The option to become DBT Certified is only available to licensed therapists with doctorate level degrees and supervised experience in a fully implemented DBT program.