"my recovery from borderline personality disorder through dialectical behavior therapy, Buddhism, & online dating "
*Any book that has the subtitle like that has got to be interesting.
This book is quite impressive. It’s the best education I’ve received on what Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is, and how therapy treats it.
I have read the books by the doctors and grad students who came up with therapy for this disorder. It's called DBT – Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. I have worked for two years in a DBT adolescent treatment center. I have collaborated with DBT therapists and seen our Borderline patients together. I have attended lectures and read manuals and worked hard to understand this disorder and its treatment.
This memoir was better than all that.
Most people trying to overcome something won’t write a memoir until they’ve “succeeded.” Once they’ve “recovered” or “beaten their problem” then they’ll tell the world about it.
If that held true then people with Borderline Personality Disorder would never write a memoir. They can get better; they can have a great life, family, job, and be fully functional and happy people.
But they’re a little like an addict in that the “addiction” never goes away – it’s just managed, understood, accepted, and then together with it they build a life worth living.
Kiera Van Gelder understands BPD better than most anyone. She has it herself, she has read more books about it, attended therapy and groups and has taken more notes than most anyone you’ll find – she’s a borderline. She wants to fix things. She wants to figure it out – and fix it. She gets hyper focused and memorizes every word of the diagnostic criteria, as well as all the coping skills and terms used in therapy.
In this book, she is able to use all the DBT terms and skills like a therapist or researcher, while also showing what it means and how she lives as a person with BPD
For example: After writing one chapter entitled "Leaving the Dysregulation Zone" she entitled her next chapter "No Blow Jobs on the First Date."
(FYI - this book is not meant to be fun, light reading - it's about the most emotionally unstable and self-destructive people you'll meet, so if you're going to read it, be prepared.)
She details how she destroys relationships, her fear of men and her desperate need for them at the same time. She shows the “dialectic” of Borderline perfectly. She wants things that are contradictory – all the time. She doesn’t want to need other people, but she can’t live without them. She wants physical intimacy, but knows she’ll go too fast and it will lead to anger and hate and self-loathing. She knows she needs real, stable, relationships with people who know the real her – and yet she has five completely different on-line dating profiles.
She can attain a life she enjoys; which includes her parents, her coworkers, Buddhism, therapy, friends, and even relationships with men.
To those struggling with borderline personality disorder themselves or those trying to help them and understand them – I recommend it.