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Sometimes I Act Crazy: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder Paperback – April 14, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Kreisman’s I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me, a rigorous but informal introduction to Borderline Personality Disorder, was published in 1989, and has sold 300,000 copies since. This follow-up volume incorporates advances in the understanding of BPD that have been made in the last 15 years, as well as new case studies and anecdotes (the book begins with a patient named "Diana" who turns out be the late UK princess) and a less gloomy prognosis. Most of the 12 chapters begin with a particular patient, detailing specific symptoms and behaviors in a pulpy prose style, often including first person narrative ("Doc, you probably want to hear how horrible my mom and dad were") and reconstructed dialogue ("‘Fine,’ Patty bites off, impatiently shifting her weight to one hip. ‘Anything else?’"). While these narrative descriptions are a little hokey, they are packed with behaviors that Kreisman then proceeds to take up and unfold, all the while gently introducing technical terms as needed, and making suggestions for how to cope, verbally or otherwise, with a host of Borderline behaviors in family, lover or friend. The case studies occasionally have a lurid quality (particularly since BPD often involves acting out sexually) that is completely undercut by Kreisman’s patient analyses, making the book feel a little split. But even at its most garish, the book sticks close to the facts, and Kreisman’s commentary is expert and imperturbable.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Life with borderline personality disorder is a life out of control. Pulled apart by warring emotions and self-destructive impulses, tormented by fears of abandonment, those with BPD rarely know real satisfaction or inner peace. BPD sufferers’ emotions can drive them to acts of antisocial violence and destruction or to self-mutilation, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, compulsive gambling, or sexual compulsions.

Living with someone with BPD is not easy either. Those with BPD can be charming and sympathetic, yet their violent mood swings, propensity for veering suddenly and inexplicably from adoration to hatred, and destructive impulsivity can make life with them like running an endless emotional gauntlet.

If you or someone you care for has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, this book will be a source of healing. If you suspect that your child, mate, or other loved one has BPD, it can help you to understand why that person acts the way he or she does and will show you what you can do to help make his or her life–and your life–happier and more rewarding.

Written by one of the most respected authorities on borderline personality disorder, Sometimes I Act Crazy is a source of wisdom and practical advice on living with the most common personality disorder. Dr. Jerold Kreisman refutes the misperception that BPD is untreatable, and he charts the enormous progress that has been made over the past decade by researchers in a variety of fields in understanding its causes and therapies. He also offers expert guidance on getting a proper diagnosis and understanding all the best treatment options currently available.

Each chapter of Sometimes I Act Crazy centers on a riveting case story that takes you inside the life of a BPD sufferer at a crucial life moment. Dr. Kreisman explores the complex play of forces at work behind the symptom or behavior under discussion. And he provides simple action steps BPD sufferers or their loved ones can take to help keep things from boiling over into a full-fledged crisis.

Wise, compassionate, and practical, Sometimes I Act Crazy offers new hope to people with borderline personality disorder and those closest to them. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471792144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471792147
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

208 of 218 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
For months, my wife was searching frantically for a book that explains what BPD is and what the treatment options are. She found exactly what she was looking for in Sometimes I Act Crazy.
She actually bought a few other books first, but they were just too dry. What sets this one apart is that it contains accounts of real people that let you experience what it's like to have BPD. She was able to identify with these people, and it helped her so much to know that she's not alone. The book also explains the causes and the reasons for the various symptoms, so you can really understand what's behind them.
Once she got started, she couldn't put it down, and then made it required reading for me. I also identified with people in the case studies, the husbands and wives, and friends, moms, and dads, of borderlines, who are also suffering. I know now that I'm not alone and this has made it easier for me.
Most important, the book gives valuable practical advice on how to cope with this excruciating mental illness and how to go about seeking help step-by-step. We probably saved ten times the cost of the book just by reading the chapter on what to look for in a therapist! We had no idea this kind of help is available.
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101 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Kin Hylton on March 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The reader gets to experience the patient's stories just like a psychologist would, with patient stories in bite-sized portions. The explanations are unusually good. The index at the back of the book is more thorough than the first book; I looked to see if Woody Allen's movie "Zelig" was listed in this index, since it was mentioned in both books, and there it was! The book was reader friendly. It was also thoughtfully written, so that a person with a short attention span and unlikely to read the whole text would be able to get the important message that there is a "cure." I was surprized at the sexuality in some of the stories, but I was grateful for these examples because they were necessary to understand the thinking of the BPD patients. The authors presented astonishing evidence of successful treatment methods. The book mentioned many of the illnesses that are similar to BPD and what exactly the defining symptoms were. What BPD was, how to identify it, and how to respond when a person with this disease exhibits its symptoms, is the focus of the book - A new hope for a future without BPD! It may take ten years, but for the ones suffering, it is something - Satisfying to read.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on December 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read more academic books (and think those are important, too. For that, I recommend "Demystifying Borderline Personality Disorder"), but this one was accessible and engaging, and had useful and practical advice for people with the illness and those around them. Because of that, the book gives the reader a sense of hope. In this field, that can be rare. There is some sexual content, and I can understand why some people would find that offensive. I personally didn't. Any misgivings I have about the book are offset by my enthusiasm about its readability and its usefulness to the people for whom it is written: borderlines and their families.
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68 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Mariam on August 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Good advice despite flawed writing. This book serves both as a good introduction to borderline personality disorder and general advice for persons with BPD and their families, partners, etc.... . I recognized many of my own observations and experiences with my mother, who suffers from BPD. The book summarizes the different ways of understanding and treating BPD; each chapter highlights a key aspect of the disorder, how it manifests and how one can deal with it. There's a healthy degree of empathy, and illuminating explanations of what appears to be peculiar and eratic behaviour. Each chapter closes with "action steps", reasoned responses to the challenges and crises that BPD creates, though sometimes they are intended for the person with BPD and other times for the persons around them.

But the short stories or monologues that begin each chapter, serving as "case studies", read as shallow and sensationalist, cramming all sorts of possible permutations of the disorder in one scenario; I would have preferred to read a personal account by someone affected by BPD in their own words, or various accounts that allow you to see a range of experiences. It doesn't help that the characters are rather homogenous - from a middle-class, white background; it limits one's ability to relate. And while the authors' cultural references - from Shakespeare to Frank Herbert to Nora Ephron - can be interesting, they don't add much substance and are sometimes distracting. And one last gripe: the BPD "checklist" seems like a dangerous exercise in self-diagnosis - particularly when "sexual confusion (e.g., bisexuality)" is listed as a warning sign without explanation; I could do without the pathologizing of bisexuality. These are, nonetheless, all flaws I could read around, and there is valuable information here.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Patrick D. Goonan on August 28, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the best introductions to borderline personality that I know of. It is thorough and does a great job of explaining how the disease works in layman's terms. It also illustrates all the important aspects with excellent short examples.

This book is well written and is an enjoyable read. It is compassionate, but doesn't gloss over the facts. It also develops the topic in a logical manner and is easy to read over multiple sessions without having to do a lot of reviewing.

The sections on therapeutic approaches are very good and there is some excellent advice on finding a good therapist. While it lacks the detail on brain chemistry and research that is present in Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified, it makes up for in its readability and straightforward approach.

This is a good book for therapists, people from this affliction and also people dealing with family members or friends with this disorder. I highly recommend this volume as a first introduction to Borderline Personality Disorder.
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Sometimes I Act Crazy: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder
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