When I get older with Diane

Diane Dollisen 25 years old.

Photographed at Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Primary School, Côte-des-Neiges

How did your environment affect your education?

“Living with borderline personality disorder, splitting is something that I have to

regularly battle – this all-or-nothing thinking that, especially in high school and college,

broke me down to the point where I would delay or avoid handing in assignments if I

didn’t think they were good enough. Since I constantly felt like I had to prove myself, I

believed that if I had to work harder to achieve something I wasn’t immediately good at,

then it wasn’t worth doing.”

“Learning and attending school, as any student probably knows, can be two entirely

different things – that is especially true in my experience of being in the education system

while living with a mental illness (along with being a queer woman and the daughter of

Filipino immigrants).”

Was there a role model, mentor or someone important in your circle who helped you get your education?

“Over the years, I have met good people who understand and are supportive of students

with mental illnesses. Professors and student accessibility programs have helped me

enormously as I navigate academic life. However, I have also met a great deal of ableism

and mental health stigma that not only made me further question the existence of my

mental illness, but made me question if my right to an education was even worth it.”