Khrystyna has lived with challenges for as long as she can remember. As a child, she was both misunderstood and misdiagnosed. She did well in school, often winning academic awards, and because of her intelligence, some of her teachers didn’t believe she had any challenges at all. It was frustrating.
“My teachers at school didn’t think I had a disability because I’m actually quite smart,” she says. “I did well in school.”
As an adult, she has been diagnosed with developmental disability, Borderline Personality Disorder, and autism. She is grateful that she has found therapies and different tools to help her maintain her mental health.
Creativity is one of those tools. Khrystyna writes poetry, creates memes for social media, and produces videos for her youtube and TikTok channels.
“I find that creativity is very therapeutic,” she says.
These creative outlets help Khrystyna explore her emotions and share her journey with others. She is passionate about creating safe spaces where people can safely share their opinions on topics they feel strongly about, without fear of judgement. She is working on creating an app called “Freedom of Safe Sharing” that will help others do this.
“We should all be able to share our opinions with each other, without judging or getting angry,” she says.
When she creates her videos, she often includes a challenge at the end for her viewers to consider, like encouraging people to try to see things from another’s point of view.
Although Khrystyna is quite independent, she does receive support through Communitas Supportive Care Society. Teresa and Harman are Outreach workers who meet with Khrystyna weekly. They spend time together reviewing Khrystyna’s goals and help her meet them. Together they might run some errands, do some housekeeping, or cook a meal. Lately she set a goal to be more physically active and has explored tennis. Caring for the environment is another passion and Khrystyna is learning more about recycling so that she can do her part.
In the time that they have been working together, both Teresa and Harman have seen Khrystyna grow in many ways.
“Khrystyna is very friendly and meets people easily. She is kind and loves to be helpful,” Teresa says. “She is very determined. When Khrystyna makes a decision to do something, she is all in.”
Khrystyna recently published an illustrated book of poetry. Teresa is a big fan.
“She writes amazing poems,” Teresa says.
Harman is also inspired by Khrystyna’s creativity and how she uses that to inspire others.
“She enjoys making people happy and takes steps to make the world a better place,” Harman says, adding that Khrystyna also works hard at improving herself. “She has gained new skills to help her cope with her anxiety. It’s great to see her take these new techniques and implement them into her life.”
Being with other people helps Khrystyna. She recently started attending North Valley Baptist Church and appreciates the clear teaching that is provided there.
My faith helps me remember that I’m not alone. – Khrystyna
Centennial Place, a mental health clubhouse in Mission facilitated by Communitas, is another place where Khrystyna connects with others. She attends workshops and has made new friends. Her favourite group is boardgame night, she loves playing UNO. Having scheduled events to attend makes a difference.
“I used to feel trapped inside but going to Centennial Place gets me out of the house,” she says. “It’s really good.”
Therapy sessions have also played a role in maintaining her health. DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy) and WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) help her to deal with trauma and give her concrete tools and plans to support herself on her journey towards mental wellness. It is this mix of formal support, creativity, and connecting with others that help Khrystyna to thrive.
“I feel like I’m in a pretty good place now,” she says.