NAMI-Yolo - a chapter of NAMI, the Nation's Voice on Mental Illness


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The Buddha and the Borderline
ra Van Gelder Page

Discovering the enlightenment of Buddhism comes pretty late in this shaky, ultimately triumphant account of coping with an elusive mental disorder. Van Gelder had been plagued by suicidal tendencies, drug addiction, chronic instability, feelings of entrapment, and mood swings since she was a young teen growing up in Concord, Mass.. Although off drugs for more than 10 years and a veteran of therapy and hospitals, Van Gelder was only diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) when she was 30 and seesawing wildly in a relationship. Finally putting a diagnosis to her illness was "like a religious conversion," and she instantly delved into the literature and treatment, including a rigorous multistage process of dialectal behavior therapy, conducted in groups. The first half of this densely detailed memoir chronicles the authorôs continued yo-yoing into self-destructive behavior and hospitalization; eventually, with intensive BPD treatment zoning in on her six-year-old self molested by a babysitter, she moves through issues of trauma and vulnerability to a desperate need for validation from her parents, divorced early on and in deep denial about her psychic neediness. Studying Tibetan Buddhism confirmed her desire to embrace a nurturing community of compassionate seekers away from hospitals and diagnoses, well documented in this useful work."

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Girl in Need of a Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality
by Merri Lisa Johnson

" An honest and compelling memoir, Girl in Need of a Tourniquet is Merri Lisa Johnsonís account of her borderline personality disorder and how it has affected her life and relationships. Johnson describes the feeling of "bleeding out" ó unable to tell where she stopped and where her partner began. A self-confessed "psycho girlfriend," she was influenced by many emotional factors from her past. She recalls her path through a dysfunctional, destructive relationship, while recounting the experiences that brought her to her breaking point. In recognizing her struggle with borderline personality disorder, Johnson is ultimately able to seek help, embarking on a soul-searching healing process. It's a path that is painful, difficult, and at times heart-wrenching, but ultimately makes her more able to love and coexist in healthy relationships."

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