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Crocheting helped this Londoner work through borderline personality disorder

Ashley Burt, the founder of Wooly Maple, is speaking about being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at CrazyTalk.

Ashley Burt made her business, Wooly Maple, a full time job nearly three years ago

Ashley Burt's small business, Wooly Maple, is at The Market at the Western Fair District. (Supplied/Ashley Burt)

Ashley Burt was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder seven years ago.

"It was an awful, awful heartbreaking time," the London woman said.

"One of the most pervasive [symptoms] is emotional dysregulation, so the inability to control your emotions. That makes it impossible to be an effective friend, be a good lover, be a good daughter, be a good employee."

At the time, Burt said she was losing a job she'd had for nine years because she wasn't performing well and had run out of sick days. She was miscarrying a pregnancy she didn't know she had, she was losing friends and she wasn't in touch with her family.

"It was just crisis."

Burt credits her boyfriend at the time – who works in the field of mental health -- for suggesting she pursue treatment for possible borderline personality disorder.

"That's what the catalyst for this whole incredible seven years of change was for me."

As part of her treatment, Burt spent a year in group therapy. She also explored crocheting as a form of art therapy.

There was no 'Ah ha!' moment, but she does remember how after a particularly bad week she had created a stack of hats and thought to herself 'Oh, that's something.'"

Ashley Burt, the founder of a small business called Wooly Maple, is sharing her story at CrazyTalk, a variety show about mental health. 1:00

"Being able to see the fruits of my efforts after an hour or two hours really helped my confidence and self-esteem. Then, being able to sell those wares, in order to keep food on the table, was critical in regaining a sense of self."

That's how her business, Wooly Maple, was born. She turned it into a full time job nearly three years ago, selling crocheted hats, scrunchies and other goods from a booth at The Market at The Western Fair District. 

Speaking at CrazyTalk

Burt will be talking about borderline personality disorder at CrazyTalk, a variety show about mental health, on Thursday night.

"I don't want to just tell you how awful it is. I also want to tell you that there's treatment and there is hope. You don't have to live with it. Granted, recovery looks different for everyone."

After group therapy, Burt said she continued to put the tools she learned for living with borderline personality disorder to use. More recently, she's been taking eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) and found out that her borderline personality disorder is considered to be in remission.

"It's tricky to talk about recovery without it sounding braggy, that's kind of where I'm at right now," she said.

You can hear more of Burt's story at CrazyTalk. The event is at Innovation Works in London, and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

About the Author

Liny Lamberink

Reporter/Editor

Liny Lamberink is a reporter in London, ON. She can be reached at liny.lamberink@cbc.ca

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