Archive for category: book
There is no question that the awareness of borderline personality disorder is growing. We, as a community, have come a long way. We have started out from a grassroots level of awareness and education, have proceeded to the recognition of evidence-based treatments and finally, to what I believe is our future — have begun the discussion surrounding recovery.
There is no doubt that a book about recovery is needed, one that explores the topic in great depth. Despite our growth as a community in advocacy, there is still a lot of “doom and gloom out there,” as one interviewee put it. Could there be a place where one can explore ideas about recovery in a safe environment? It is my mission with this book to do so.
There are, however, other reasons I am on this quest, something more personal. True, it doesn’t get much more personal than having the same diagnosis as the people you are writing a book about, but there’s something more.
You see, I have always felt something was missing in my life. It’s not that I’m complaining. Don’t get me wrong — I am lucky to be where I am today. It’s just that all my life I found it necessary to fill an inescapable void. Call it a symptom of BPD, call it general malaise, whatever it is, I’ve grown accustomed to it following me around. I used to suffer from it but I’ve befriended it in my own unique way.
It was in my sophomore year of high school that we read Victor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning. That book changed the trajectory of my life and, more importantly, the reason why I’ve been on various quests. I thought, if I could only make meaning out of my suffering, the pain would be bearable. The pain would no longer be the end of the world; there would be a reason to continue on.
Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it. - Viktor E. Frankl
Since the age of fifteen I’ve searched high and low for my ultimate meaning. While I dreamed about volunteering in Tanzania I settled on a 545 mile bicycle trip for charity. I also thought I would find it in boxing, fighting the good fight, or perhaps speaking at respected institutions, sharing hope with my story. After all, “meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.” And although they’ve all been meaningful and am thankful for the privilege of those experiences, I still went searching.
So here I am with my next quest, writing a book. My reason, this time around, is rather clear: the way for me to make meaning out of my own life is to help give meaning to other people; to give something back worthwhile. Helping 100 people speak about recovery? That’s got to count for something. And if any of that hope turns into meaning, then the quest has been fulfilled. My reason in writing this book is to make myself work for something that enables others to have better lives. To work on something so that my life will not be in vain because yes, that old monkey-wrench would reappear, thinking that if I didn’t do anything my life would be meaningless.
And so by finding out a little truth about recovery, I can find hope for myself. By giving hope to others, I’ll feel like i didn’t waste my life. Yes, there is a certain, fatal human flaw in my way of thinking, but when it comes down to it, I can’t help it. I can’t live for myself. I can’t enjoy the passing of a day without knowing that I’ve tried. That’s the fight within me — the fight for those who suffer.
Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. – Viktor E. Frankl
I don’t suffer as I used to. I’ve been given a second chance. I’ve got to do something with that second chance; life depends on it.
I had a chance to speak with Dr. Seth Axelrod on recovery and borderline personality disorder. Dr. Seth Axelrod is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine as well as the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Team Leader at the Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital Intensive Outpatient Program. Each spring he also co-chairs a Yale conference on BPD that is co-sponsored by the Yale University School of Medicine, Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, the National Education for Borderline Personality Disorder, and NAMI-Connecticut. I would love to know your thoughts and comments about what we talked about.
Listen in the player below by clicking on the play button:
Dr Axelrod on the stages of recovery:
So in terms of how individuals get [to recovery], in my experience doing dialectical behavior therapy, individuals who are starting from a place where there might be a lot of out of control emotions and a lot of out of control behaviors and a lot of life chaos… the first piece of work is committing to some length of time of agreeing to work on making it better, work on collaborating in treatment and working with my team, that will put in X amount of time where they committing to working real hard and putting in regular attendance and we’re committing to work really hard and putting our full self into it and that together, working through this model, that after some length of time, that we can then kind of assess have we made progress.
And the point of that is for an individual who’s chronically miserable and chronically looking for ways to escape their life or their experience — to kind of put aside that decision that it might be okay to escape life — and say okay, let’s put some effort in seeing if we can make it better and see if that works.
In my experience you need a little bit of a window to work in order to make the progress. If it gets too tight, moment by moment, convincing the person to stay alive, without any kind of agreement that we’re going to see if we’re going to improve the person’s life, then it’s hard to see movement happen.
So I see it as my work to get that kind of commitment from an individual, to give a window of opportunity. Once that’s there, often the first order of business is helping people develop skills for just getting through life without the self-destructive behaviors, particularly the suicide and self-harm kind of behaviors that often show up.
A lot of that work is helping them arrive to the conclusion and get on board with the idea that it’s worth it to tolerate situations in order to then be able to buy time and get opportunities to start improving their life. So once you have a foundation of skills, which are essentially, I can get through life even when it’s extremely painful and things really aren’t functioning, things really are broken in their life but they have the tools to say, okay I can stay alive and stay in tact and put my energy into coping instead of putting my energy into suffering and doing things that would make it worse, make more problems.
That once they have that foundation, then the windows of opportunity for actually putting work into improving their lives get bigger, because the individual spends less time acting in crisis ways and end up having less proportion of their time where they’re kind of on the edge of are-they-going-to-survive-or-not because they have confidence they can survive.
At that point, from a DBT perspective, it’s loading up a lot of other skills, for being effective in communication and relationships, for learning about emotions and developing a new relationship with one’s own emotions, learning ways to manage one’s emotions, and tackling specific parts of their life where they haven’t been successful. We don’t see it as any fault of their own, necessarily, but whatever the circumstance is, that they haven’t been able to have stability in living, work or relationships. We start tackling those problems.
And gradually the person feels more competent dealing with the problems of life as they show up. The person starts seeing more successes in building or fixing things that are broken. And perhaps starts initiating working on plans, working on goals that have been stuck or really been put aside. And the person starts to develop confidence in their abilities and appreciation for their life — living in a way that’s consistent with their values, that’s consistent with their self-respect, that’s consistent with goals that they set for themselves.
And once the person is doing that, I think they are in recovery. They may still struggle with episodes of mood problems, they might, in my experience, still have very strong emotional sensitivity, they may still have times where their mind reacts with thoughts that can be very disturbing or get very rigid at times but, they’ve got tools for dealing with it.
They’ve got tools for taking that step back, for using supports that they’ve been building, more effectively using professional supports than when I first started working with them. And they see themselves on a task, living — participating in life. So that’s what I see in my experience of what is the process of moving towards recovery.
And for the people I’ve seen who’ve gone that far, I think I’ve seen a fair amount of acceptance — if this is as good as it gets, in terms of managing thoughts and emotions — that it’s worth having a life that way. It’s workable, if not perfect… having thoughts of suicide pop up, for example… it doesn’t have to mean that life is not worthwhile. I’d love to see it go further than that, where individuals don’t necessarily have to deal with thoughts and urges pop up or mood episodes. And hopefully will continue to do better.
Dr. Axelrod on the fear of recovery:
I think there are lots of reasons why that comes up. In the biggest picture of it, individuals have gotten this far in their life by responding to things the way they do. Whatever the behaviors are, no matter how destructive or self-destructive the behaviors are, this is what the individual has come up with to respond to the problems that life sends them, the emotions that they have… and one thing that I think gets lost a lot in talking about individuals with borderline personality disorder is that they are often criticized for their behaviors; criticized for reacting the way they do, and they don’t see it themselves.
And I think that these individuals who have problems with the way they are coping, the way they react and lose control, they’re aware of the fact that what they’re doing doesn’t work and they often have a lot of self-hatred and self criticism for being reactive the way they are, and yet, they haven’t found other things, other ways to cope. And when they try to cope in other ways, it has blown up.
Usually they’re attempting to do some kind of coping that they’re told to do, but it’s not, it doesn’t sufficiently meet their needs. When they’re having far more difficulty controlling their emotions than others and then they are told that they should control their emotions like others, and they try to do it, it fails.
I think that individuals with BPD have tried on their own, so many different ways to cope that fail over and over again, and they often been in many therapies that have failed over and over again. And so they cling to what they’ve got because at least it’s gotten them this far, at least it takes away the pain and the suffering in short term at least. While they are in misery, there’s a safety in that. And I think that general principle is true across any therapies where a person is having to change the way they are dealing with their problems and take on new behaviors.
New behaviors are uncertain. They don’t come with guarantees. Any specific, here’s something you can do differently, will become more or less successful, particularly when you’re learning it for the first time. In the process of learning there’s going to be mistakes and things aren’t always going to work out.
The thing that I try to help individuals see is that sticking to their old coping — if they go in that direction — the outcome is certain. Because they know from experience that responding the way they’ve been responding has lead them to misery. And if they continue to respond the way they’re responding and their life isn’t going to magically change around them, well they can expect that they can continue to be miserable.
So holding onto it leads to a certain outcome. But if they want to have a different outcome, if they want to have a their life improve and get better, it means letting go of that certainty and stepping into the unknown. And in DBT we call that willingness.
Willingness is when you can see what you’re doing or tempting to do doesn’t work; when you can see that there is another option to try that might work — not that it will work — but that it might work. Willingness is stepping into that new behavior to see what happens. And learning in the process of successes and failures — gradually moving forward, gradually doing things, gradually seeing your life improve — but there’s going to be lots of stumbles along the way.
AW: Willingness is almost like having the faith to put in the work that you need in order to progress on…
There’s a quote from Martin Luther King that I came across, that talks about faith, and I bring it up sometimes when I’m teaching about willingness… that faith is walking down a dark staircase not being able to see the next step.
I think that for an individual with BPD facing recovery, that’s what it is — taking that step, it’s putting trust into… if they’re working in therapy it’s putting trust in the therapist, in the therapy, and it’s terrifying because you can’t see; you can’t quite see the path. They just know that they don’t want to be where they are and we as therapists help orient them to keep their eye on the prize — where would they like to go with their life, where would you like to see your life move.
Dr. Axelrod on the future of research in recovery:
The thing that I’m aware of is that we have not even begun to know really what recovery is in terms of through research, in terms of empirical studies. There’s really only the very beginnings of research — nothing solid about looking at large numbers of individuals.
How many people go through therapies actually end up in recovery? How many people who don’t go to therapy end up in a state of recovery? What does recovery look like? I gave my description based on my clinical experience but we know from research, we know from the history of borderline that the difference between clinical impressions and reality from research can be greatly different.
Clinical impressions taught us for years and years that individuals with BPD don’t change and that the diagnosis is basically a life sentence but when we finally looked at that in large numbers, we found results that were starting to come aware of that that the diagnosis drops off for most individuals.
We’ve also learned, unfortunately, that most individuals without very focused treatment continue to struggle with their life functioning. We started to see some suggestions of recovery with targeted treatments. But we know so little about it — so little about the lives of individuals who are in recovery and identify themselves as being in recovery. The impressions that I’ve given — how common are those? Are there other things that didn’t enter into this conversation that are very crucial parts to the story — both in terms of people’s subjective experience also in terms of neuroscience?
We’re learning more about what does the brain look like for individuals with BPD when they’re experiencing their pathology, when they’re experiencing their suffering. But what do brains of individuals in recovery look like compared to those who never had borderline, what does it look like before and after treatment — people are starting to do that research but we really don’t know that yet.
So I’d really like science to advance these issues and inform us therapists.
Dr. Axlerod on what recovery looks like:
If we’re talking about individuals who are coming from a place of feeling out of control, being out of control in terms of their emotions, in terms of their reactions, really caught in misery… I think that recovery as individuals who have developed controls, who not only developed controls of their behavior and have been able to manage their moves but have also taken steps forward in their life so that they are seeing themselves in the process of building a life that they wish to live, that they’ve put things into their life that they would want to maintain. They’ve gone from a place where they could do that to a place where they are clearly starting to do that or have put together a life that they wish to continue to live.
One thing that has been my experience with such individuals who are in recovery from BPD is that they’ve developed insight into when they get experiences of being under stress, under unexpected stress, of mood episodes, difficulties with thoughts or urges about self-destructive behaviors, a thought that they should kill themselves, a thought that they should hurt themselves, or a really intense desire to hurt themselves — that they’ve developed insight as seeing this as an understandable reaction given that it is in their history.
Given that they used to cope that way and that they’re prepared to cope that way, without the panicking, without the fear of oh no, I have the thought of killing myself and that means my whole world is going to fall apart again and go back into self-destruction, I’ve seen individuals who can say, oh, I just had the thought I want to kill myself — something must be bothering me. There must be something going on.
And to look at things and take a step back and see what’s troubling them and maybe look to their supports, but to do so with confidence, that they’re still committed to living their life, still committed to going forward and that they will go forward. That the “bump” of something in their mood, thoughts or urge isn’t more than that — that it’s information that there’s something they need to pay attention to, but it’s not determining what’s going to happen next in their life. That they’re not going to unravel and I think that’s a critical period for individuals in recovery to develop mastery, that insight, and develop the sense of mastery that they’re life can go on and that the individual embraces it.
I’ve seen several individuals embrace the notion that they have interpersonal sensitivities, they have urges that may pop up, and that it’s worth living their life, and it’s worth taking care of themselves effectively when those kinds of things come up. Because they’re going through life and they want to keep living their life. I see that at this point as kind of a working definition or world examples of things that I associate with BPD recovery.
Hey All! Do you want to know more about what goes on in making a book come to life? Want to see the ins and outs of the interview process and journey together as I come to understand recovery? I’ll be doing that on my Facebook page called BPD: Quest for Recovery. Come on over and see for yourself!
I’ll still continue to post longer posts here, but you’ll definitely get a better glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes in turning this idea into a book. Plus I get to interact with all of you! Feel free to join me. See you there!
As you know I’ve begun the journey to write a book and just wanted to share with you the main synopsis. I would love your feedback, thoughts and please let me know if there’s anything in particular you want to see happen with this book. Here’s the general idea behind the book:
Although borderline personality disorder is treatable, the gap between remission and recovery is a large one — a divide that research is just beginning to tackle. Until the evidence is there, what can we do? What makes a small percentage of over 16 million Americans with BPD recover, leading “lives worth living,” while others plateau, stuck in a revolving door of hospitalizations? The book, BPD and the Quest for Recovery searches to understand what makes recovery the exception and how to make it the norm.
Written by a woman diagnosed with the illness, Amanda Wang will uncover the world of recovery through scientific research, clinical anecdotes and personal patient stories. BPD and the Quest for Recovery brings those living with BPD, families and loved ones, as well as clinicians and researchers along for an investigative ride, helping shed light to the disorder. It will discuss:
- What BPD recovery looks like scientifically and anecdotally.
- Who the likely candidates are and what characteristics they share.
- What makes some patients recover from BPD while others plateau.
- Whether BPD recovery can be taught.
BPD and the Quest for Recovery will also take readers beyond traditional clinical/self-help books — as well as strict memoirs — by bridging these two spectrums together. This book is not only the author’s personal quest in understanding recovery but of other individuals as well. Some will even be showing us what being given a second chance means and what they have done about it. From New Haven, Connecticut, to Seattle, Washington, BPD and the Quest for Recovery embarks on a shared journey — in hopes of rising above the challenges of a suffering people.
The hardest part about writing a book is when you don’t have the fire. It’s you against the machine. You force yourself to type something — anything to spark a paragraph, an idea, a tiny stroke of insight.
Instead you bring your little machine to a tiny oasis called a city park, painstakingly picking that little brain in the middle of a summer breeze. A band plays cool rythms on the lawn. The children dart in and out of a mother’s reach. A bird takes a quick bath in the pond. And once again, my page lays blank.
This is what Steven Pressfield calls Resistance. The ultimate enemy of the muse, Resistance has come in the form of a beautiful summer day. It’s a good day to be alive; not a good day to write a book.
Oh yeah. About that book.
The hardest part to grasp while working on the book is the idea of recovery. Yes, I do realize this little gliltch happens to be the crux of the entire project. Despite this, I’m not so much as worried but caught in a dillemma.
I’m starting to find out that recovery means something different to each person. From the research that I’ve been gathering, many people do not identify with the scientific community’s definition. Sometimes recovery seems like a lofty, distant, unreachable goal, while other times we may reach recovery, only to fall down from the heavens and back into Dante’s seventh circle of hell.
So is recovery something to attain, to touch, to grab on to? Or is it something more abstract — something that lies on a continuum, something to integrate into our daily lives, something to cultivate? In other words, is the important question about recovery itself or instead, about recovering?
I don’t have any answer right now. I’m on the journey too, trying to figure out what it means to me personally as well. And while I figure it out, I’ll let the summer day inspire me instead of work against me. It’s beautiful day to be alive, after all.
Here’s another highlight to our questionnaire on recovery, from an anonymous contributor. If you haven’t filled it out yet, please join in on the conversation and share your story about recovery here. Thanks!
What does recovery mean to you?
I think recovery should be about progress, stability, and not acting out. I actually don’t have five criteria, but that hasn’t been my situation for two whole years. I can understand the reason that mental health practitioners would have this definition, but I’m not sure it’s very helpful for consumers as a gauge.
I’m much healthier now than I was a year ago. Even if a BPD person still has five criteria, what if they started with nine? What happens if they still have five criteria, but they are less intense? What if they’ve gone from being repeatedly hospitalized being able to call a therapist instead, being able to hold a part-time job, and being able to maintain a few somewhat close friendships?
I think there should be something between “remission” and full-blown BPD that consumers can strive for, and this is mainly finding tangible evidence that the BPD person is becoming more able to cope than they were before.
What has been your key to getting from remission to recovery?
Well, as I stated above, I’m really not in either by the classic definition. However, the DBT study that I took part was a huge step in helping me to understand that change is possible and that I can choose how I want to live. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in general is very powerful and it helped me when my therapist would point out measurable results. Also, I have renewed my faith and sought support from family and friends.
All of these things help me make smart choices and stay more aware of the internal feelings that sometimes used to cause me to act without thinking.
Was there a specific point in your life that you knew you had “recovered?” What was that moment like?
No. I’m currently rebelling against the definition that says that some people in the world are totally healthy and some people are mentally broken or diseased. Everyone I have come into contact with in my life has some degree of neurosis, and I think that all people should be in a constant state of self-examination and striving to be more healthy. There are no perfectly healthy people, and I feel blessed that having BPD caused me to start my journey of self-examination earlier in life.
However, I can feel that I’m recovering. For example, three months ago, just as my DBT study ended, my life partner left me for another woman. As any normal person would be, I was devastated. However, I survived it, and, in many cases, I acted with wisdom and grace. I believe that the DBT therapy was what helped me to seek ways to behave with integrity even in life’s most difficult circumstances.
Frankly, the moment that all of this happened, I looked a mess, and I felt a mess a lot of the time, but I was able to forgive myself because I understood that everyone is a mess when they are going through the breakup of a serious partnership. Before DBT, I’m not sure I would have been so forgiving of myself.
Forgiving myself helped me consider better coping strategies and I absolutely know that I made better choices than I would have if I had never made efforts toward recovery.
What are some of the characteristics or traits you had to incorporate in your life to maintain recovery?
I engage in a lot of positive self talk because I know that it’s my invalidating thinking that keeps me feeling down. I think about my week in terms of building mastery and building in pleasurable activities. I make sure I have structure in my week, especially now that I’m single.
It’s really important for me to have internal rules that help me behave in ways that allow me to feel good about myself, so I make sure that I keep my house clean, do my laundry, and eat well. I try to exercise and make healthy food/lifestyle choices. When I make choices that I think are unhealthy or unproductive, I analyze them. I think, “why did I drink so much last night? What am I going to do differently in the future to help me be smarter surrounding that choice.”
Also, I work hard on building community, maintaining friendships, and being social. I give myself some down time, but I make sure that I’m doing social things throughout the week, calling people I want to keep in my life, being there for my friends as much as they are there for me, and finding ways to give to others.
Additionally, I forgive myself for having intense feelings. Diary cards are great, so I keep a log of my moods. I’m not sure I’m ever going to be the type of person who doesn’t have mood swings, so I’m learning to accept them and ride them like I’m surfing waves. Finally, I have a spiritual life now. I find that praying, meditating, and going to spiritual practice (for me it’s church, but I really think people should be able to find a practice that works for them, and that might be synagogue, a pagan group, AA, a meditation group, or something else) centers me, helps me stay in contact with other people who are trying to improve themselves and the world, and gives me new avenues for positive self talk.
What are some myths or misconceptions about recovery?
I think people think that recovery is about feeling different or feeling like a different kind of person, and I don’t think that’s always true. For me, recovery has mostly been about acting differently.
I still feel empty, have incredibly intense emotions, and lack that ever elusive “stable identity” everyone keeps going on about, but I act differently. When I feel overwhelmed by sadness, I pray, call a friend, or take a nap or shower. I don’t [self-injure]. If I think about killing myself, I don’t spend an hour planning it out. Instead, I try to figure out why I’m feeling that way, and, again, I call a friend, take a nap, do something to stop the ideation. In fact, I believe I will always keep the 50 things to do instead of self-harm at my desk.
Accepting rejection is hard, and interpersonal relationships are always going to be a struggle for me. I still get very angry sometimes, but I’m learning to wait before I react. I think that’s maybe 75% of my battle. Because my emotions are so intense, I just have to wait longer/calm them down and consider my own interpretations before I respond.
I feel like recovery is more about finding “hacks” that help us deal with having a certain kind of mind than changing who we are inside.
I guess, I think it’s a little like how people on the autism spectrum don’t see themselves as “neurotypical” (whatever that actually means). My brain is a little different than other people’s brains. I don’t resent that. I feel like it’s good in some ways. But, recovery is about fitting in, getting accepted, being “normal” enough to benefit from friends, responsibility, and love in the world. DBT has helped me do those things, and the benefits are enormous!
Do you think the journey to recovery could be taught to others? Why or why not?
Yes, absolutely! I think DBT is ingenious! It really worked for me, and I think it can work for other people. Other therapies are working too, and, while I think DBT should be a component of ALL BPD therapy, I don’t think it should be the only component. We can benefit from body work, EMDR, medication, and new therapies.
But, one thing is for sure, We CAN get better! I’m going to say that again: We can recover.
It’s been proven, and I feel like I’m living proof. I want everyone to know that they don’t have to stay stuck and can find real solutions to the problems they experience.
The other thing that helped me was seeing that I’m not alone. So many truly amazing and wonderful people have this condition. Thanks for allowing me to answer these questions! I look forward to reading your book and continuing to dialogue and learn more from other borderline people.
The questionnaire that I posted about last week has come on its own and your responses overwhelm me (in a good way!). I just want to thank you for participating and if you haven’t just yet, please feel free to tell your own story about your journey to recovery. I’m highlighting a few of the responses here on the blog, of course with their permission. I hope you learn as much as I have after reading their responses. More posts to come!
Our first feature comes from Ryan. You can check out his page here.
Amanda: What has been your key to getting from remission to recovery?
Ryan: To me, the most important thing is being an active participant in my own progress to the fullest extent, and embracing solutions rather than excuses. There is no magic wand and no therapist that is going to cure me, I have to do the hard work every day, set goals and accomplish them, for all of my health wants & needs to come to fruition, because the truth is, at the end of the day and for the rest of my life, I am the only one who is guaranteed to be there for me 100%. Self-respect, smart work, and reward for a job well done are key.
A: What are some of the characteristics or traits you had to incorporate in your life to maintain recovery?
R: The following are essential to my daily life, in maintaining & furthering my journey to recovery:
- Forgiveness of self & others for events in the past that haunt me — meaning that I can start with a “clean sheet” and take back the power that was once lost.
- Insight, Self-Growth, & Self-Respect — meaning that I make it a habit of reflection to see what kinds of decisions I make that need to be changed, and then working hard on making those changes so that my relationships with myself and others become more trusting & fulfilling.
- Physical & Mental exercise on a daily basis — this means using the brain & body muscles that you have and pushing them to their limits so they become stronger and more useful, in turn giving me more tools when I need them. Boxing has been a wonderful way to maintain this activity.
A: What are some myths or misconceptions about recovery?
R: One of the biggest myths that I overcame was thinking that the urges to to harmful things were who I am and that if I didn’t act on them that I was living a lie and not being my true self. That is incorrect. I have learned an accepted that all people have urges to do destructive things, but it is not our urges that define us, it is our choices. Our behaviour as people is who we really our, not the thoughts and desires. Once you believe and accept this, you will have a sense of calm & freedom not felt before.
A: Do you think the journey to recovery could be taught to others?
R: Absolutely, the journey could be taught to anyone, if done in a way that they can understand, relate to, and believe, while taking on the task at hand and creating/accomplishing goals for themselves that are successful. Each person is entirely different and must be treated that way, but they must understand and believe that they have things in common with others and that inspiration can go a long way in fueling the fires of motivation in daily life, seeing that even and most importantly, they are their biggest role model, and the things they have already accomplished can be used as learning tools for new goals.
R: Recovery is a process that will be grueling and very stressful at times, enough to make you wonder if it is worth it, but if you take the strength & knowledge that you attain through your essential hard & smart work, the possibilities are endless. It’s up to you, the goals must be set and completed, and you must believe and have self-respect, but when you’re starting out on your journey it’s important to remember that one day at a time, even one second at a time, is okay and needed. Everyone that has a goal or has reached heights that you may think are too great for you has started from the very beginning, with nothing, and worked their way up. I’m continuing on this successful journey, and I believe you can and will too.
Hi Folks, I was wondering if I can ask for your help with as I begin working on the book on BPD, remission and quest for recovery. I would love to learn from your experiences with this questionnaire. DBT, exercise, mindfulness and discipline, among many other things, has helped me in the recovery process. How about you? If you’re in remission or recovery, I’d love to hear from you. I promise the form is pretty looking and easy to fill out! Thanks in advance, I really do appreciate it! You can fill out the form here.
I’m excited to share with you that I will be starting my journey in writing a serious, nonfiction book on BPD about remission and the quest for recovery. Despite the news that remission is possible for those living with BPD, recovery, on the other hand, is still elusive. What is causing this great divide? How can we learn to close this gap? Where am I on the recovery scale? I’ve decided to take on the challenge of these questions and find out.
What, Me Write a Book?
A few weeks after the Golden Gloves I was on a advocacy trip with a well-respected DBT therapist and researcher. As we awaited our appointment we talked about what was needed in the community. She told me her clients needed hope. She told me that she, as a therapist, needed hope. She wanted something she could go back to over and over again and say,
See, here’s the hope, right here. It’s possible. In the throes of our struggles people need to know that others have made it, that the hard work paid off.
She said I should write that book.
It has been my contention that people who have struggled offer so much to our community and to ourselves — more than we ever imagined. Recovery, to me, is about being remarkable and I believe we need to share the stories of people leading these types of lives — even with all the suffering, struggles and hardship that comes with mental illness. Through the experience and knowledge of experts, researchers, clinicians and those living with BPD themselves, I’m determined to share with you (and understand for myself) what it takes to lead a life in recovery.
More Than Just a Book, a Journey
I’ll be melding two things that I deeply love together for this project: writing and film. I still have to iron out the details and logistics, but as I begin to research and discover more about the project, you’ll be there too on the journey as I interview experts, researchers, clinicians and those living with BPD in a documentary film setting. You’ll be learning as I learn and help contribute to the book with comments, analysis and leads. They say it takes a village to raise a child but perhaps it takes a community like ours to write a book!
And That’s Where You Come In. Want to Help?
The first stage of crafting a book is writing the book proposal and doing the research. I’ll be taking care of the book proposal but am looking to your expertise to help gather research. Do you have something to say? Do you know the experts in BPD remission and recovery? Do you know patients or former patients leading remarkable lives? Are you in recovery? How did you do it? How can others get there?
If you could help answer these questions in any way possible or offer other kinds of support, please feel free to email me at amanda(at)rethinkbpd.com. Oh, and don’t forget to share this project with your friends and colleagues too!
So What Do You Think?
Is recovery as elusive as the research suggests? Do you think there is a need for a book like this? What’s important to you that you would want to learn from the book? Feel free to write in the comment section below. I’m looking forward to hearing from you and starting this journey together!