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. In fact, it reversed every doubt I had about what people with BPD could achieve. I realized that If Marsha Linehan could overcome BPD and become one of the most respected and important clinical psychologists of our time, it is possible that I can overcome BPD and do amazing things too. Thus, I decided to follow Dr. Linehan’s example and have dedicated my life to helping myself and others heal from BPD through love, acceptance, change, and science. Recovery is not an easy path. I must practice skills every day and because it is difficult, I appreciate every healing step I take. I may have BPD but BPD does not have me.
I do not share my story because I am proud of having BPD. I share my story because I am not ashamed of having BPD. Most importantly, I want the world to see that we with BPD do not need to be managed, avoided, or put away in jails and mental hospitals. We need compassion, support, and evidence-based treatments like DBT. Provide these and you will see not lost causes, but people overcoming extraordinary challenges to achieve extraordinary things.
Rachel Gill, B.Sc. (aka Pinki Tuscaderro)
DBT Peer Connections Founder