Always an anxious child, Crysten began to struggle at age 12. Diagnosed with anxiety and depression, she came to Ontario Shores as an outpatient before being admitted as an inpatient on the Adolescent Unit. Diagnosed at 18 with Borderline Personality Disorder, Crysten has also spent time in Ontario Shores’ Partial Hospitalization Program and the Transitional Aged Youth program.
“It felt like torture,” says Crysten of struggling with mental illness. “I didn’t understand what was going on with me.”
Her illness, along with a learning disability and the recovery process, derailed her progress in school.
“School has always been tough for me,” saysCrysten, now in her 20s.
The Grove School at Ontario Shores is a partnership with the Durham District School Board which patients under the age of 21 have an opportunity to earn Ontario Secondary School credits, while they are receiving treatment. She completed four credits through the Grove School to earn her diploma and set course for post-secondary school. She now has her sights set on being a Registered Practical Nurse and will begin her post-secondary school career next September at Centennial College in Scarborough.
While working toward earning her diploma, Crysten says the support she received through the Grove School from the staff at Ontario Shores and the DDSB was vital to her success.
“I didn’t think I would ever be able to apply for college,” she says. “I feel like they have done so much for me.”
In her recovery, Crysten relies on Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) to help her manage her illness. DBT is a therapy designed to help people change patterns of behaviour that are not helpful, such as self-harm, suicidal thinking, and substance abuse.
“It’s helped me so much,” she says of DBT. “With the skills I have learned, I feel like a completely different person.”
Also assisting her recovery is a small, but not insignificant reminder in the form of the word ‘Hope’, which is tattooed on her chest.
“Before I never had hope for myself,” says Crysten, who also has the word ‘Love’ tattooed on her wrist to remind her to love herself. “I finally do have hope and I wanted something to remind me of that every day.”Back
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