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The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating Paperback – August 1, 2010

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The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating + I Hate You--Don't Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality + The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation & ... Tolerance (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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 author™s 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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Review

"The Buddha and the Borderline is a cross between Girl, Interrupted and Bridget Jones’s Diary.While reading it, I found myself admiring Kiera’s talent for vividly describing borderline hopelessness and pain while keeping me laughing with her tales of life as a ‘lonely and increasingly horny receptionist.’ While this book has something for everyone, Kiera’s detailed account of how she recovered from this deadly disorder will be enormously inspiring to people with borderline personality disorder and their family members."
Randi Kreger, author of Stop Walking on Eggshells and The Stop Walking on Eggshells Workbook



"With wit, clarity, and candor bout her sex life, Kiera chronicles her coping with the pain and emptiness of borderline personality disorder while proving that the road to recovery is usually under construction."
Jim Payne, board member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness



"Kiera creates a window into the soul of one coming to grips with severe mental illness. Fully exposed, she shows us the pain, pleasure, and finally, the redemption of the borderlineexperience. Her gripping story sheds new light upon one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized of all human conditions, and for that, I am deeply grateful. Her words will quite possibly be shocking to some, but will validate and comfort those with the disorder and those who are tryingto understand them. Welcome to our world: the pain, shame, and pleasure, and then, finally, the insight and skill-building that leads to healing, love, and happiness. Kiera captures the experience brilliantly."
Tami Green, internationally recognized speaker, life coach and advocate for those in recovery from mental illness



"The Buddha and the Borderline is a strikingly candid and comprehensive account of the author’s personal experiences of the effects of borderline personality disorder spanning more than two decades. Van Gelder is a very well informed, engaging, and talented writer. She reveals the multiple and complex symptoms of borderline disorder as manifested in her life with great honesty,revealing the devastating pain with moving and insightful vignettes that are tempered on occasion with a finely tuned sense of humor. This is a must-read for people with this disorder, their families and loved ones, and mental health professionals."
Robert O. Friede, MD, author of Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified



"The Buddha and the Borderline is a masterpiece. Kiera shares her road to recovery in a captivating way that brings a unique understanding to a confusing, challenging, and controversial disorder. Having the privilege to personally know Kiera, I applaud her on so many levels, least of all this must-read book. She is an inspiration to all who strive and hope for recovery from borderline personality disorder."
Perry D. Hoffman Ph.D., president of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD)



"Kiera’s book is destind to become a classic in the growing literature on borderline personality disorder. I expected to get a somber account of a transformation from suffering to enlightenment,but the book I read was not only entirely entertaining and revealing, but also had me up way past my bedtime in stitches. The Buddha and the Borderline is seriously funny, authentic, and sublime in its wisdom. The book embodies the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism and integrates the world of core unrelenting suffering with the world of freedom from suffering. Transcendent stuff."
Blaise Aguirre,MD, medical director of the Adolescent Dialectical Behavior Therapy Residential Program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA



"The Buddha and the Borderline is a gripping, authentic, and ultimately inspiring portrayal of one woman’s triumph over borderline personality disorder. An intriguing, riveting, and compelling read, the depth and complexity of both character and story are to be savored. Kiera Van Gelder has shared the private depths of her heart and soul and, in doing so, has bestowed upon the reader a great and sacred gift."
Roy Krawitz, author of Borderline Personality Disorder: The Facts



"A very educational and insightful look into the inner world of borderline personality disorder and its treatment. Kiera Van Gelder’s witty tone and engaging journey brilliantly chronicles the dialectic of profound suffering and how that suffering can be transformed into a life worth living."
A.J. Mahari, author of Life Coach and Mental Health Coach



"The Buddha and the Borderline by Kiera Van Gelder is captivating, literary, and insightful. Van Gelder’s use of metaphor enhances the haunting nature of her journey through life. As I read the book, I recognized her pain, and cheered her on. Her insights led me to a better understanding of myself and the nature of borderline personality disorder."
Lisa Dietz, owner of www.DBTSelfHelp.com



"Out of a profoundly painful experience, Kiera Van Gelder has written a brave and hopeful book exploring her recovery from borderline personality disorder. Kiera's story will undoubtedly touch countless lives and be a source of inspiration to those who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, their families, and the mental health professionals who play a crucial role in the complex nexus of education, treatment, and support. The Buddha and the Borderline is a compelling and invaluable narrative for anyone wanting to learn more about the difficult, yet ultimately rewarding, process of recovery."
Amanda L. Smith, Florida Borderline Personality Disorder Association

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: New Harbinger Publications; Original edition (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157224710X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572247109
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Scott Edelstein on August 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Borderline Personality Disorder is a serious mental illness than can often seem bizarre or incomprehensible. It can destroy psyches, relationships, lives, families, and organizations. Yet it's also fair to say that the symptoms of BPD are nothing more than the human condition multiplied by 20. This book--by a brilliant writer who is in recovery from BPD--offers a profoundly insightful, balanced, honest, and compassionate view of the illness, and of the roles that mindfulness and various therapies have played in her recovery. Van Gelder never asks for pity or empathy--and, unlike most memoirists, she consistently understands that she needs to serve her readers, not herself.

A recurring theme in the book--and an essential element of the book's arc and structure--is that recovery, relationships, and life itself are all built around dialectics, the often-uncomfortable space between two polarities out of which our most helpful and harmful actions can emerge.

Van Gelder isn't just another person in recovery telling her story; she's a first-rate writer who has written a compelling, greatly entertaining, and sometimes outright funny book. If you want a clear-eyed, down-and-dirty view of BPD that you won't find anywhere else, read this book. And if you want to enjoy a fascinating, engrossing, and expertly told story, read this book.

Scott Edelstein, author of the forthcoming Sex and the Spiritual Teacher
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Julie on August 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book shows the ugly and real side of someone with volatile and unpredictable emotions. I cried at times while reading this book because I could relate to how scary your emotion can be and saw a lot of myself in her. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is sensitive and feeling so low they can't see the light or family and friends who don't understand what you are going through. It can be difficult to read when you are in the pits of hell and I would caution you if hearing about dangerous behaviors might be a trigger. Overall, I highly recommend this book. I especially recommend it for therapists so they can have a better understanding of what it is really like to live with these thoughts and emotions.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Craig R. Campbell on February 26, 2011
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One of my clinical specialties is Borderline Personality Disorder and I've had extensive Dialectical Behavioral Therapy training. This book is a masterpiece! I've been recommending it to all of my clients who struggle with BPD. Kiera Van Gelder, the talented and hilarious author, deserves all the rewards, acclaim and recognition she is getting. She is a gift to the world!
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65 of 75 people found the following review helpful By L. Finger on August 22, 2010
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This book is an inspiration for anyone wanting to resolve their own life's problems and is a manual on how not to give up. The author has a mental illness (Borderline Personality Disorder) that affects every level of her life, personal, professional, familial. It is not easy for her to find the treatment she needs but she doggedly pursues what is available in her community and uses what is available to her, eventually getting her life together and finding insight. The book is a fascinating look into the treatment of a mental illness, the health care professionals who hinder or help. She offers important insights into what calms her negative self talk, the core belief systems of people with BPD (i.e., the world is a hostile place), and which treatments truly help. The author has so much courage as she moves through her difficulties with her anger, attachment issues, and being mindful. In her participation in a group which offers Dialetical Behavioral Therapy (which was created by Marsha Linehan for those with BPD, using among other things, the Buddhist technique of mindfulness) sows the seeds of the author's interest in Buddhism. When the author completes her treatment with the DBT group, she looks for a meditation group so she can continue her techniques of grounding and mindfulness, which involves noticing her thoughts but not getting caught up in the emotions of her thoughts. As a clinician I have provided counseling for people with BPD and have also had friends with this diagnosis, a description of which includes "frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment." A person with DBT can feel very afraid of abandonment at one point and then be the abandoner the next in a reactionary pattern that can go back and forth (and indeed the author experiences this in her book).Read more ›
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Christina Renee Provins on September 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm 40 pages from the end and have had trouble putting this book down. The experiences shared in this book would be helpful to many by putting into words the challenges of someone living with Borderline Personality Disorder (not the same as bi-polar, but often confused to be the same) as well as those of loved ones. Recovery is possible, managing the symptoms is possible, regaining some sense of normalcy is possible; skills and understanding are the biggest factors it seems to this end. The humorous and insightful descriptions of the situational and emotional challenges are numerous. There are some life experience descriptions that might make this book inappropriate for the majority of teenagers/young adults.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Jane on August 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a teaching manual which is a page turner, X-rated, challenging, wise, and entertaining. The core issue is about Borderline Personality Disorder. I have seen people cringe when they hear BPD. The cringe factor is validated in the book -- but there is much more!
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