Saturday, March 19, 2011
40. "The Buddha and The Borderline" by Kiera Van Gelder
Van Gelder, Kiera. The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder Through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism and Online Dating. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2010. Print.
Reviewed by J. d’Artagnan Love
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), according to the Buddha and the Borderline, is one of the most difficult personality disorders to treat. This is in part because of the nature of the disorder itself, but also because of stigmas and prejudice within the mental health system.
There is much debate about whether the disorder even exists and pat of what Kiera Van Gelder experiences, is the struggle to validate her disease in the medical community. Kiera tells her story in a very intimate and clear way. She describes her pain, her constant shifts in identity, and her unquenchable need for reassurance and validation with accurate attention to detail.
Van Gelder provides her readers with sources and references works throughout the text of her memoir. It truly gives her credibility as a writer and it also offers others reading the book—those who may struggle with BPD or know someone who does—other places to turn. This is one of the greatest aspects of this work. Van Gelder validates for herself and others, that BPD does exist, that is a painful and difficult mental illness, and that there are treatments available that can help.
The problem is that people might have to jump through hundreds of hoops, go through countless unhelpful and even damaging counselors, and group therapies, and psychiatrist, before finding the right kind of treatment, just as Van Gelder does. Because the disorder is so debated within the mental health field, it makes finding treatment and help that much more difficult for those who suffer from BPD.
I found this book to be a beautiful and enlightening portrait of one woman’s struggles and successes in living with Borderline Personality Disorder.
5 darts out of 5
Bookshelf Project Status: KEEP