REAL CHATS with Carmen Massel

REAL CHATS with Carmen Massel

Carmen is 20 years old and lives in Calgary, AB, Canada with her parents and her dog. Her love of NFL football introduced her to Brandon Marshall and she was recently diagnosed with BPD. She is an athlete with a love for hockey, lacrosse and golf. She hopes to turn her diagnosis into a tool for positive change.

PROJECT 375: What motivates you to succeed?

Carmen: I have been pretty driven for a long time. Growing up, I watched how hard my parents worked to give me everything I have which makes it hard to imagine getting by with anything less. Since being diagnosed with BPD, I have come to appreciate Brandon Marshall as an example of success. The stigma is definitely that mental illness makes it tough to be successful in life, and Brandon has certainly blown that to pieces. I thoroughly appreciate everything Brandon has done for the Borderline and mental health communities.

PROJECT 375: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Carmen: Well, I will be 25, hopefully finished my undergrad degree and working my way through Medical School. I want to be a Psychiatrist and find some ways to better treat BPD and associated side effects. I also hope that I will have made great strides in getting my life back from BPD – maybe living on my own, with a quality job and good grades! I also hope that in 5 years’ time, I have the opportunity to meet Brandon and Michi in person to tell them thank you for everything.

PROJECT 375: What makes you happiest?

Carmen: Having to live with the struggle of BPD day to day certainly helps to pick out what things truly contribute to your happiness. I love giving to other people. Just letting them know they are appreciated by some sort of gesture, big or small. Giving comes in so many formats nowadays. It’s so cool to be able to connect with people globally over My CounterPane and share feedback and support. I also get a lot of happiness out of the physical activities I participate in. Sports have been a massive part of my life for many years, and I always leave feeling better than before.

PROJECT 375: Who is your personal hero?

Carmen: That one is easy for me – my Dad. We have a lot of things in common, especially psychologically. He has been my biggest support through my diagnosis with BPD. He is always there, despite how busy he is or how stressed he is. That takes a lot of energy from someone. He works really hard to support my family, and I wouldn’t have been able to get the help I needed without him. We also spend lots of time together over our common interests. I have had a special bond with my Dad for as long as I can remember. He makes me feel hopeful and special on my worst days. I love you Dad!

PROJECT 375: What are you most thankful for?

Carmen: It sounds quite cliché, but how can you pick just one thing?! Today, right now, I am thankful that I have lived every moment thus far because it has taken me exactly where I need to be. I am thankful that I’ve been appreciated, hurt, forgotten, loved; just everything that provoked my mental health issues to finally surface. I am thankful I have had the opportunity to participate in DBT therapy too. Of course, I am thankful for my Mom and Dad who have done everything they can to learn about BPD. It’s a great feeling to have support all around you.

PROJECT 375: What is your philosophy in life?

Carmen: I never really had a philosophy until I started therapy. I have come to learn a few things that I would consider to be philosophies:

  1. Stay true to yourself – balanced between logic and emotion. It’s never good to be polarized, and neither your heart or brain should take precedence. There is always a way to find the middle ground.
  1. Life is too short to have anger/hatred/grudges. As someone struggling with BPD, I’ve made some behavioral mistakes I wish I could have back. On the flip side, I do believe deeply in hope, and that there is always another solution. Those feelings of resentment are really not helpful to anybody.

There are no good reasons to give up. It doesn’t matter how attainable or unattainable your goal seems at the moment; you never know what the future holds. Resiliency is a great quality to work on throughout everything you endure. Special things can happen when you are committed to the fullest.

PROJECT 375: What is your diagnosis?

Carmen: Borderline Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and depression.

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