The Buddha and the Borderline; Kiera Van Gelder

The Buddha and the Borderline cover art

The Buddha & the Borderline; Kiera Van Gelder
| published September 19, 2015 |

Book Review by Kristy Webster, Thursday Review contributor

“All you want is love and belonging, and your very existence depends on it. But when you get it, you have no existence except that love; there’s still no you.”

In this frank, brave and thoughtful memoir, Van Gelder helps us understand the life tribulations of someone diagnosed with borderline personality disorders.

After achieving sobriety and becoming a lecturer on chemical and alcohol dependency, Van Gelder once again finds herself in and out of psychiatric wards struggling with intense suicidal ideation and a powerful drive towards self-destruction. Already being diagnosed with a host of mental illnesses from PTSD to bipolar and depressive, she is at last diagnosed with borderline personality disorder; a diagnosis she finds finally explains what she has been suffering with her whole life. But no sooner does the diagnosis bring her some relief and validation, when she discovers that BPD is possibly the most highly stigmatized mental illness there is.

Van Gelder uses wit, humor and brutal honesty as she shares her ongoing struggles to stabilize as well as her deep desire to be understood by those closest to her. From self-harm and suicide attempts starting at a young age, to serving as a mental health advocate and becoming a practicing Buddhist, Van Gelder’s story is at times frightening, harrowing, and ultimately, exquisitely hopeful and inspiring.

This book has the power to change the lives of those suffering from BPD and those who love someone with BPD.

“We do not deserve to be trapped in hell. It isnt our fault.” ― Kiera Van Gelder

Related Thursday Review articles:

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness; Susannah Cahalan; book review by Kristy Webster; Thursday Review; November 5, 2014.

The Reason I Jump; Naoki Higashida; book review by Kristy Webster ; Thursday Review