Coming to Terms with a Mother with BPD: An Interview with Kathy Ewing

woman“I never understood why my mother, who died in 1993, was so unhappy;” author Kathy Ewing writes in a description of her memoir Missing: Coming to Terms with a Borderline Mother, “why she wanted to be the unluckiest, poorest person in the room; why she was so closed off, so harsh, so absent. I wanted to understand her and hoped ultimately to forgive her.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1.6% of the adult population suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). More than half of those with the disorder are not receiving treatment. Many of these individuals, like Kathy Ewing’s mother, are our loved ones. And like Kathy, many of us are hurt and confused by a parent, friend, child or co-worker, especially when we don’t know or understand the symptoms of the disorder. Continue reading “Coming to Terms with a Mother with BPD: An Interview with Kathy Ewing” »

The High Cost of Stigma

Mental Health Blog Party BadgeGood mental health is something that we all strive for.  Happiness in life has long been a pursuit of people in the West.  And yet, despite our desire for optimum happiness and good mental health, many feel unable to discuss psychological problems.

In a recent interview, I talked with author Stacy Pershall (Loud in the House of Myself) about her hesitation to admit to the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder.  In her book, she discusses the stigma and hopelessness that is particularly connected with a diagnosis of BPD.  It was not that long ago (the 1980’s and early 90’s) that BPD was considered by many to be an incurable disease.

Now, with DBT, the diagnosis of BPD is slowly losing some of its stigma. People with BPD are able to get help and make major improvements in their lives. Continue reading “The High Cost of Stigma” »

Loud in the House of Myself: An Interview with Author Stacy Pershall: Part II

dialectical behavior therapyIn 1999, in the early days of the Internet, author of LOUD IN THE HOUSE OF MYSELF: Memoir of a Strange Girl, Stacy Pershall moved to New York and became one of the first “camgirls,” women who videotaped themselves in their homes, capturing the spectrum of their daily routines– from the mundane to the most intimate–twenty-four hours a day, and streaming it over the Web.

In July 2001, when her marriage was dissolving, Pershall attempted suicide. The entirety of it was documented live on the Internet. This probably saved her life, as it was a stranger who happened to log in to the feed who called 911.

Continue reading “Loud in the House of Myself: An Interview with Author Stacy Pershall: Part II” »

Loud in the House of Myself: An Interview with Author Stacy Pershall

strange girl“This is the story,” Stacy Pershall begins, “of how a strange girl from Prairie Grove discovered she had a multitude of disorders and how she survived.”  In this deeply honest and sometimes shocking memoir, LOUD IN THE HOUSE OF MYSELF: Memoir of a Strange Girl, Pershall chronicles her lifelong struggle with mental illness.

Pershall grew up in Prairie Grove, Arkansas, a town so small that the neighbors might as well have resided in her living room (population: 1,000) and where the prevailing wisdom was that Jesus healed all.

Deeply sensitive and intelligent, Pershall felt a constant and profound sense of displacement.  From starving herself for days to forcing herself to sleep in her closet because she wasn’t “worthy” of the comfort of a bed, Pershall chronicles with heart-wrenching accuracy the self-loathing of a young woman struggling with anorexia and bulimia. Continue reading “Loud in the House of Myself: An Interview with Author Stacy Pershall” »