I stand to walk.
I walk to stand.
Awareness and wellness
walk hand in hand.

-Rachel Gill

I am diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder and Agoraphobia with Panic Disorder. I am also a full-time college student half way to an associate of arts degree. I have a supportive partner, family, therapeutic and learning environments that each help me draw the strength and courage I need to gain health. The present system of care prevented me from receiving such for three years. I felt like an account to whom which no one was accountable. Authorization denied.

I walk to take action toward change. I walk to stand against subsidizing life.

The state licensing board sent back the evidence of my complaint, said it was not within their jurisdiction.

This is after appealing to every advocacy group and relevant government official in county and state. I escaped the clutches of managed care by way of an uncommonly referenced statute that exempts members of federally recognized tribes from being required to enroll in a managed care plan. I reference the statute and provided proof of my tribal heritage when I first submitted my application. It took between fifty and seventy-five people in charge before finding one who was willing to take the time to verify my request and release me from managed care. This solved my problem. Meanwhile, the health administrator still holds a county position that is both in breach of state contract and law.

I walk because I do not want to stand alone. Life is not a commodity. I walk because I know that a community is only as healthy as its individuals. I walk in sickness and in health. I walk for the wellness of my whole community.

Problems do not die, people are. Abuse is often disguised as protection. I walk to unmask the truth. I walk to take a stand for my health and yours.

Colleges are required, by law, to provide Disability Accommodations for students with documented psychological disorders, and yet, I have not met one instructor who has provided them before me.

It is challenging, at times, to know how to structure learning for someone with complicated, emotional problems. Borderline Personality Disorder is difficult to deal with for the person who has it, but no less for those around them. The slightest disagreement can trigger an emotional crisis. I am grateful for the patience I have been shown in school, my therapists and from the few who are close to me.

Disability accommodations and Managed Care are only two of many examples that demonstrate how lack of awareness may lead to neglect and abuse. I cannot help but wonder how many people do not seek help because they either feel embarrassed, ashamed, rejected, mistreated or simply do not know where to turn.

I have worked very hard to make what progress I do. It is a lifelong walk to wellness, the only path to life for us all. Ignorance considers mental illness a mark of disgrace. It is a disgrace to cast judgment upon sickness. I stand to walk. I walk to stand. Awareness and wellness walk hand in hand.

I walk to stomp out stigma.

Rachel Gill
Team Captain, Stigma Stompers

MAY is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month
To learn more about BPD, visit www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com