Recovering from Borderline personality disorder – JULIE | MISTAG


I definitely have mixed feelings about
the word crazy it’s something that I use in my vocabulary or have used in the
past a lot and and now I feel like when I use it I catch myself and I try to
have a different word sometimes the word dynamic comes to mind something like
that and I don’t really feel like everyone when they have a mental health
issue is diagnoseable or labeled as crazy
but sometimes when we’re just casually talking about people doing wild things
and we say crazy it has a bad connotation and I’m just really trying
myself to kind of wake up and not use that word so much yeah definitely I which I I wonder if
that’s a really common thing for many people to have felt like oh this is
something that I thought or this is something that I’ve done and also like
in some ways I don’t think that it has to be such a bad thing like if you’re
being really like free and doing something really amazing maybe that’s a little bit crazy
and that’s a really a great thing. I can talk about this in a couple of
different ways because I feel like now I’m undiagnosable with my former
diagnosis I’ve been told that but I think that if you were to come inside of
my skin or inside of my brain actually before I did the work in order to change
that I think you would feel like you know neurotypical or normal normal
normal and then so suddenly it would be like a
flip would switch and I think if you were a normal typical person you would
be like oh my gosh what just happened there why is this happening like what is
the rationality behind this and I don’t think you would necessarily be able to
answer that question because it was just such a quick switch like this
uncontrollable thing that happened in my brain my frontal cortex was shutting off
the amygdala was lighting up and that’s where all of the activity in the brain
was happening and I think that you know that’s not a normal neuro typical brain
function and I think people would be like whoa what’s happening in those
moments where that happened. So in November 2016 I went through some
really big shifts in my marriage and in my personal life and not feeling so
secure with a partner and not taking care of myself and I started to have
some really almost like psychosis episodes where I would really lose the
pot for a bet and it was really really tough and this happened for about a
month and during that time I was like still going to school still going to
work I went to a wedding I went to my cousin’s wedding and like was around
family but I I went to something just like we didn’t feel right and I I wish I
would tell other people or I would tell other people to really like if
something’s not feeling right to really trust her intuition and seek help I went
to my family doctor she told me to go to CAMH for the center of addiction and
mental health and I was in the emergency room for about five hours and by the
time I left I had a packet of information about the personality
disorder that they thought that I could possibly have and it was one of the most
freeing things it was also quite frustrating because I didn’t have any
tools to like fix that yet or to work on that but just to be able to put a
framework for a diagnosis or put words to the experience that I was going
through was actually one of the most comforting things and I think that a lot
of my work doing DBT it is around trusting my intuition and trusting my
own guts and feelings. DBT is dialectical behavior therapy
so um in the… I want to say it’s the 1990s Marsha Linahen who is the
founder of DBT she uses Zen principles to kind of create this therapy to treat
people with borderline and because nothing else was working people with
borderline were still soft harming still committing suicide and that had been
like the most best way to kind of change the brain of people with people with
borderline and I can say that it really worked I got a year of DVT at CAMH as part of a study so I went to two hours of group
and one hour of the individual therapy a week and it was like the biggest thing
that I’ve ever done and and then I was monitored for a year after and then I
was like now I’m undiagnosable and even now I have like definite like when
normal life happens when you’re going through a breakup with a relationship or
when things are intense and you’re feeling anxiety like I feel like I’m so
much better able to deal with those things in like a really healthy way like
it’s still really hard because life can be hard and there’s so much suffering
and there’s people who are sick and we lose the people that we love and all of
those things are still true but the way that my brain can can work and take
those things it really shifted everything in my life. It really depends on the day
like right now over like today it was raining and I had a struggle of like
finding a working umbrella and knowing what footwear to wear and like do I wear
like a warm enough coat some days it is like having the motivation to get out of
bed especially in the cold winter some days it is really easy to get out of bed
so it kind of some days it’s like you know making a really fresh healthy salad
because it would feel easier to go and eat tacos or something like that so
that’s my answer to that question I feel like at this point in my life I’m
afraid of making really big changes in location I think there’s a small part of
me that is like oh if your brain kind of betrayed you before or like took you
down this path before and now your brain is functioning very differently what’s
to say it won’t go back and there is a part of me that like feels like I could
go through some traumatic event and it could trigger another mental health
episode yeah so I think there’s definitely a part of me that’s a little
bit aware of that and and fearful of that. I co-parent a dog he’s 70 pounds he’s a
Lab Staffy mix and he’s the best thing so when I have my dog I really love to
take him to Hyde Park or to take him on hikes or to take him swimming in the
lake he really loves those things last summer I bought an inflatable
stand-up paddleboard so it’s amazing and my friend would just pick me up in her
van and we would take her stand-up paddleboards
and pump them up and go stuffing on the lake and it was a really great way to
like regulate myself and be on the water in Toronto and then also free diving is
a new hobby I went to a small island off of Honduras for three weeks this winter
and I learned how to free dive and I have like a club group in Toronto that
we pool practice with and one of my friends has a boat and he’s going to
take us out in Lake Ontario to free dive this summer so definitely like warmer
weather not winter thing. I was just in Los Angeles and my friend
lives in Altadena so we were hiking on these trails with her dog who’s like
this 90-pound like slender plot hound and he gallops across the trails right
so we were hiking and we had been talking a lot about snakes and because
it was starting to be rattlesnake season and maybe we’ll got to see a snake and
all of a sudden we look back at Orwell the dog and he has this like snake in
his mouth so he had to like grab him and say drop the snake and he dropped the
snake and it slithered on its path but that was a really nice moment. One thing that actually just happened to
me was I was out to dinner in Malibu with my friend and her director
boyfriend and an actor comedian and we were talking about what I was going
through or I had gone through a divorce and a death and this mental health
diagnosis all within like the same time period and I was talking about it and
talking about having a diagnosis of a person holiday disorder and he said to
me you don’t seem like someone with a personality disorder you don’t seem like
someone who has mental health issues and I said okay and he said that I think
what I took away from that is that we really need to talk about it because
there’s such a stigma around it and if we can just be out at dinner casual
humans talking about it and I can say hey I went through a really tough time
with my mental health and this is what it was like for me and because people
have this stigma or this idea that this person with mental health is struggling
and they can’t have work and they can’t hold a relationship or like their their
personality is in a certain way but if we can like talk about it to everyone
just kind of like it’s it’s a part of us and an experience of us I think that
that’s how you can really make a difference. I really try to like when strangers or
people come up to me on the street like and they say like kind of bizarre or out
there things I really try to just be like okay and and kind of accept it but
I do feel like there’s definite things that I have kind of like bit back on and
I don’t know if that’s like kind of following under like the lines I’ve get
cat calling and things like that so I feel like if I’m friends with someone
and they like compliment my appearance it’s like thank you so much but usually
like generally like walking down the street and someone yelling nice ass it
doesn’t feel good I feel like going forward I really want
to be a person that people can tell anything to anything no matter what
they’re feeling about personal judgments and things like that I think when I
first got the diagnosis I felt embarrassment and I felt a lot of shame
around it and the way that it was treated especially in my kind of like
the family that I had married into because we were open with that and some
of their responses and I also know that I was really sensitive at the time but
some of their responses made me feel kind of ashamed of it and like I was in
the wrong and I was crazy rather than did this just be like oh
yeah this is the way that your brain is functioning I didn’t tell my friends at
school I was in this four year program really intense program and these friends
had been with me through everything and it took me so long to tell them whereas
one of my friends we were you know all able to tell each other everything but I
chose because of this stigma around mental health and I felt like really
ashamed of it I didn’t talk about it and I think that I just want to talk about
it now and I want to keep talking about it and I want everyone to be able to
talk about it to me or to anyone that is in their life that they really love and
I want us to all have a better understanding about it like it doesn’t
we should just remove that from our vocabulary and just being able to like
have these things without judgment have conversations about our struggles
whether or not they have a label or not the label of the diagnosis is so helpful
so that you can have treatment but as we know every case is different and every
human is different and every brain is responding in a different way and this
diagnosis or this label is like actually really a gift. Around the time that I was doing my
treatment for BPD I was also working with a man by the name of Michael Stone
and he was a meditation teacher and he was bipolar and he helped me so much
but he wasn’t public about his diagnosis and then he died in the summer of 2017
by overdose and then it kind of opened up this conversation in the yoga and
Buddhism community around mental health and why he felt like he would tell his
diagnosis on like maybe a personal level to people like we talked about it so
much and his experiences were so helpful for me and I also like to think that my
experiences were really helpful for him as well but he didn’t just like sit up
and he would talk about like anxiety or depression or moods he would talk more
about moods but never like hey I’m bipolar and I’m also a meditation
teacher and this is something with my brain chemistry and this is my journey
and my path and I think that more than anything that’s inspired me to really
see that and be able to hold that and to say hey like I really struggled with
borderline personality disorder and there’s also like some really amazing
things about it and that’s also one part of me like I’m also an osteopath and I’m
also like a really caring like vibrant friend and I’m also a free diver and a
stand-up paddle boarder and dog mom and these are all different assets of my
personality and there’s something so amazing to have that like diagnosis of a
DISA orderd personality so that you can learn how to put the pieces back
together or just together in a different way so that you can function differently
I feel like also like you beat the stigma talk about these things
but also know that neuroplasticity is real and we can change the way that our
brains function that’s like I think the take-home message neuroplasticity is
real like you can change.

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