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Girl in Need of a Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality Paperback – June 8, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
--Her life account is spliced with excerpts from various sources on borderline personality disorder and personality development in general. Sometimes this can be distracting, as it pulls you out of the author's own account, but in some ways I appreciated this- there are experts on personality disorders and they have probably said it better than or more concisely than those of us who are not personality experts.
--The author utilizes a lot of figurative writing- this is a very "artful" memoir in that sense.
--Overall, this was a unique reading experience.
***Finally, there are graphic descriptions of the author's self-injurious behaviors. Anyone who has struggled/struggles with this should proceed with caution when reading this book. I believe it could be very triggering, more so than other memoirs I have read, and may not be the best reading option if you are not "in a safe place" emotionally.
In her new memoir, college professor Merri Lisa Johnson provides readers with a chance to vicariously experience the rollercoaster ride of someone living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Johnson creates this effect through her staccato writing style, which includes short paragraphs of her own text interspersed with quotes from poems and song lyrics, citations from major works in both psychology and the self-help and the self-help literature, various relevant definitions, and graphic black slashes (likely representing self-injury, often a feature of this disorder). Although somewhat disjointed and disorganized (Johnson does not always proceed chronologically), this method certainly does provide an accurate portrayal of the borderline personality.
For the majority of TOURNIQUET, much of the confusion, panic, and chaos in Johnson's life centers around her affair with a married co-worker, Emily. Johnson clearly recognizes this relationship as being CO-DEPENDENT (she often capitalizes words or phrases for emphasis). She is able to see herself as enmeshed with Emily and neurotically attached to her, yet she is unable to perceive a way to break free from this self-destructive path. About two-thirds of the way through the book, Johnson finally makes the connection that her symptoms are consistent with BPD. Not only does this help her to view her relationship with Emily in a new light, but also she is able to better understand her behavior in subsequent relationships--including a brief fling with one of her students--in terms of this diagnosis.Read more ›
The book is odd in organization with poetry, song lyrics, charts, scientific quotations, and personal anecdotes somewhat randomly accrued. Each one helps to explain why Johnson was once "a girl in need of a tourniquet." (title from a song lyric) One psychologist said that a Borderline has no emotional skin, and therefore, when emotion is felt, usually rage, the rage will continue until the patient basically bleeds out.
The book recounts Merri's disastrous love affairs with the wrong men and the wrong women. It explains her need to be perfect. She sets a goal to become "the perfect BPD patient,"- an in-joke. BPD patients are notoriously difficult patients due to their incessant and unreasonable demands for attention.
Johnson does not spend a lot of time with finding her parents at fault though she lived a chaotic childhood. She does use her knowledge and research to show the effects of a child's attachment disorders based on that chaotic childhood where the biggest fear is abandonment. The wounded child never overcomes that primal fear, that lack of security.
Johnson luckily found love in her spouse, Stace. She tries to help her sisters, and through these surviving loves, she begins to save herself from self-destruction.Read more ›
But, if you want a straight memoir, the kind that is comfortable, written by Donald Trump or the latest one hit wonder's ghost writers- this isn't the book you want. If you want to know more about the clinical intricacies of borderline personality disorder- this isn't the book you want.
With this memoir, the reader gets a window into a mind full of prisms that refract, one-way glass, and mirrors that reflect before they shatter. It is an amazing book, a fantastic read. I especially enjoyed the variety of other "sourced" material. The only critique I could offer, and it is so minor as to be negligible (not to mention that I am certainly not qualified to critique a personal creative decision), I would have changed the word "of" in the title to the word "with." I can't wait to see what comes next from the mind of this author. I hope it is equally exciting, disquieting, troubling, and true.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was written sporadically focusing on mainly one part of her life. It was a little confusing sometimes to understand what she was referencing too as she jumped around a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Brickell Burlington
This book. It's elegant. Perfectly describes the borderline condition. You will be unable to put it down.Published 3 months ago by Lindsay
Although at times hard to follow, overall a very good representation of BPD. Causes many 'been there -done similar' thoughts.
Good read. Read more
This memoir of a college instructor coming to terms with her recent diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder is an excellent read. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Bobbifer2001
This book was so difficult for me to follow. It appears to only be made up of poems without any real significant information.Published 21 months ago by jeneep
I struggled to get through this. Ive read and enjoyed other bpd memoirs but this just wasn't one of them. Very disappointing. And she never really gets into how she began recovery. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Alyse
A memoir of one woman's experience with borderline personality disorder - focused mostly on her affair with a woman named Emily. Read morePublished on April 14, 2014 by Autumn Christian
I bought this book in hopes of learning something on Borderline...This was very confusing and almost manic like...waste of money for me!Published on March 18, 2014 by EML74