Prague Integration is working on a project ”My story, my mental health” where we are interviewing on a weekly basis locals and expats in Czech Republic who are diagnosed and living with different mental health conditions. 

Our intern Alexa, Psychology and Brain Science student from California is conducting interviews with our dear expats and getting interesting and educational content, where we are trying to share awareness about mental health.

For the first interview we had the pleasure of hosting Masha, 27 year old expat, living in Prague for 6 years and diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Read Masha’s story and share awareness about mental health!

Hello Masha welcome! How are you doing?

I’m good! Thank you, it is nice to meet you!

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Sure! I am 26 years old and soon going to be 27. I study art and do a bunch of part-time jobs. I have lived here for 6 years. Before that, I was living in Israel, and I live here with my parents. I have a lot of families with brothers and sisters which makes things convenient and affordable.

To you, what is Borderline Personality Disorder?

It differs from person to person and everyone’s symptoms are different. I think of it as somewhere in the middle of the severity of mental health issues. It is tricky because to others you are not normal, but you are not crazy. I had a situation a long, long time ago with a therapist that thought that I was talking crazy, and they said we need to hospitalize you right now. They called an ambulance and everything. But once I got there they were confused. They told me I was normal and just to go home. 

For me, there are three main symptoms that I experience. And I know other people that have agreed with me about this. 

  1. You struggle with your identity. Normal person learns what they like and what they don’t like, and they typically stick to that. When you have BPD, it is like that shifts all the time. This includes what you believe in, and how you feel about certain things. For example, I remember when I was around 13 years old I was in a huge emo phase and it was my whole identity. And then one day, I woke up and I changed everything. These changes happen so suddenly most of the time, and they can be very challenging. 
  2. Derealization. If you have stressful events it can cause you to stress for weeks. You feel like you are sleeping, but you are not sleeping. It is as if nothing is real, and everything is foggy. This can be very exhausting because it can last for such a long time.
  3. Struggle with interpersonal relationships. Again, it is different for everybody, but I have it with romantic relationships. It is a really big struggle for me

From your perspective, can you tell us about how mental health plays a role in living with Borderline Personality Disorder?

It is a huge help! I recently was going through a really tough time, and bad things happened to me. Therapy helped me so much. It took me from a very bad place and helped me feel much better. At first, I wasn’t sure about it because it seemed like just talking wasn’t going to do anything, but it did help a lot. 

Do you have any advice for people in Prague dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Prague is a very busy city, and there are a lot of parties. Lots of alcohol and drugs around. Early on, when I first moved here I used to self-medicate a lot. In Prague, it is so easy to fall into that, but I definitely would not advise that to anyone because it makes things so much worse. I would say to seek out some help if you can. If you don’t have enough money for the therapy, there are a bunch of support groups. 

How do you think others can support the mental health of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder?

For me, it would be helpful if someone just sits down with me and says that is all going to be ok. This is especially helpful when I am feeling very emotional and overwhelmed in stressful moments. It is simple, but it is good to know you have someone there. At times when I am feeling depressed and do not want to do anything, it is helpful for someone to make me do something. It can be something small like watching a movie or walking the dog, but it goes a long way. I know a couple of people that helped them make it out alive. The worst thing is when you are self-isolated, so having people around you is important. 

Thank you so much for coming today, we appreciate your time!