“We only have medications that treat individual symptoms.”
Nearly 6% of Americans suffer from a mental illness doctors barely understand
MELISSA STANGER SEP 23 2015, 2:45 AM
Pamela Tusiani was 20 years old when she suffered what her mother described as a “sudden and life-shattering nervous breakdown.”
As she wrote in an article for Newsday, some days she would be bedridden, unable to eat or speak to anyone; other times she would lash out in anger at people she cared about, or cut herself to feel some relief from her emotional pain.
“My daughter is losing her grip on reality, and I’ve never been so scared” her mother wrote in “Remnants of a Life on Paper,” a book that looks at Tusiani’s illness from both her mother’s perspective, and Tusiani’s perspective, as seen through her diary entries.
“I keep thinking and thinking, it won’t stop — so many thoughts are racing through my head. I’m confused, can’t remember. I find myself drawn to my bed and cry for no reason at all,” Tusiani wrote in her diary. “I don’t know what to do, think, or feel. There is so much darkness and sadness, it’s almost impossible to see it.”
After a series of in- and out-patient hospital stays, Tusiani was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), a mental illness that affects an astounding 5.9% of American adults at some point in their lives, according to the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder. But despite the prevalence of the condition, BPD is notoriously difficult to diagnose and, subsequently, difficult to treat.
Her mother was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Meredith still deals with the aftermath of abuse and parental alienation.
Nasty Divorce: A Kids Eye View (An Excerpt)
SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 BY MARINA SBROCHI
Marina Sbrochi hopes to incite behavior change by sharing the experiences of children and damaging effects of high conflict divorce.
Meredith’s parents divorced when her older sister was three and her mother was pregnant with her. She had been told varying stories of why her father hadn’t been in their lives. It began with her mother telling her from as early as she can remember that her father denied fathering her and wanted nothing to do with them. The story would have varying themes on the original, but also included cheating and physical abuse. They were also told he was a “pervert” and liked little girls. The message sent to Meredith by her mother was this, “your father is a very bad man and a loser.”
Her mother remarried when she was five years old. He was a minister. He too had no problem trashing her father. Even though her mother had remarried, she never missed an opportunity to bash the father she had never met. Soon, they were told that their stepfather adopted the girls as his own. Meredith only learned that this wasn’t true after she moved out. The only reason he didn’t adopt the girls was because her mother wouldn’t get the child support. When the time came that they were adults — they “didn’t have enough money.”
Nasty Divorce: A Kid’s Eye View will open your eyes to the true life tragedy that comes with high conflict divorce.
Author Marina Sbrochi has been writing positive divorce advice for The Huffington Post for since 2012. It was her post, The Lasting Effects of Talking Nasty About Your Ex, that sparked a firestorm of comments.
Parental alienation, abuse and mental illness are a common theme in many of these stories. After reading this book, there will be no doubt in your mind, high conflict divorce is incredibly damaging. You’ll read first hand things like:
“My mom trashed my dad all my life (I’m in my 50’s and he died in 2010, but she still tries!) The result was me going through self-hatred, suicidal thoughts, low self-worth, alcoholism, and always trying to achieve and “perform” enough, meanwhile dating ALL the wrong men—for a long time!!” ****** “The children (now adults) still go to therapy to deal with the loss of the relationship they had with their mother.” ****** If Colleen could summarize her parents divorce in one sentence, it would be this: “It was more about vengeance than actually about gaining custody of their children.” ****** “Do you know what it’s like to listen to one parent bash your other parent on a daily basis? It’s exhausting. Although, for the most part, my dad has stopped — our relationship continues to hang by a thread. Psychological damage like that just does not heal overnight, instead it lingers and persists, perhaps for a lifetime. I’m not over it yet.”
Sprinkled throughout the book are helpful tips and advice to help you have a better divorce for your children. It's never too late to change direction. Your kids will thank you.
They think people with BPD will kill you, or burn down your house, or stalk you until you need to file a restraining order. We lie, we manipulate; we’re “difficult” and “treatment-resistant.” People think we’re crazy, in the classical sense of the term.
I have borderline personality disorder. Here are 6 things I wish people understood.
by Eliza Hecht on September 25, 2015
“You don’t seem like you have borderline personality disorder,” people often say to me.
They mean it as a compliment. I don’t fit into their idea of what borderline personality disorder looks like. They think people with BPD will kill you, or burn down your house, or stalk you until you need to file a restraining order. We lie, we manipulate; we’re “difficult” and “treatment-resistant.” People think we’re crazy, in the classical sense of the term.
Over the past eight years, despite several doctors diagnosing me with borderline personality disorder, I resisted identifying with the disease. I latched on to other diagnoses with lesser stigmas — bipolar disorder, major depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder. This summer, I finally looked up a list of symptoms. It was so in line with my experience that I finally had to concede: I have borderline personality disorder.
1) Interpersonal relationships can be really hard to manage
What comes intuitively to a person without borderline personality disorder isn’t always so obvious to those of us who have it.
“All I want now is to go to sleep and never wake up again. I am nothing.”
‘I am broken inside’: Revisiting lessons from Jiah Khan’s death and suicide note
Rachel Hercman Aug 25, 2015 at 12:09 pm
Jiah Khan’s suicide is now in news again because of Sooraj’s impending movie release. Whether it is a genuine attempt to clear the air or just a PR act, we do not know. However, when we remember the young, beautiful, famous actress deciding she had no other solution than to take her own life, it is a testament to the amount of emotional pain she must have been experiencing.
Her suicide note portrays a curious paradox of a relationship characterised by unrequited love and abuse. The pain and turmoil is palpable and it seems like there should be tears dripping down from the words. Jiah truly speaks the universal language of a heartbroken lover; anger, demoralisation, disappointment, despair, and total emptiness.
ut as sad and heart-breaking this tragedy may be, life will go on and the story will soon become old news. However, if women around the world can take a lesson or two from Jiah’s experience, the tragedy can make women stronger and in some cases, avoid some of the unfortunate circumstances she had in her life.
‘I am running away from everything.’
It’s normal that when life is painful, running away feels like the right thing to do to alleviate the discomfort. For Jiah, running away meant killing herself. For some people it means having an affair; or never leaving the house; or moving somewhere impulsively; or isolating from all relationships, even ones with close friends and family.
Most suicides are impulsive, but a lot of long-term factors can contribute to the trigger event.
What many people get wrong about suicide
Updated by German Lopez on September 17, 2015, 1:23 p.m. ET
Why do people kill themselves? It’s a question at the heart of suicide prevention: If we know the circumstances surrounding the act, we can better know how to stop it.
One myth, for example, is that suicide isn’t impulsive, and people will simply resort to other methods if some lethal means — like guns — aren’t available to them.
But Jill Harkavy-Friedman, vice president of research for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, told me years of research show that suicides tend to be fairly impulsive acts during short-term crises, and they can be caused by multiple factors that sometimes may not be perfectly clear to the public or even friends and family.
One of the key factors, Harkavy-Friedman said, is access to lethal means, such as guns. Citing research from Israel, she argued that people considering suicide are often in a fairly stubborn, albeit temporarily so, mindset. So if the method of suicide they want to use isn’t available, they might give up on the act altogether — and survive. That helps explain why, for example, access to guns closely correlates with the number of suicides.
“Time is really key to preventing suicide in a suicidal person,” she said. “First, the crisis won’t last, so it will seem less dire and less hopeless with time. Second, it opens the opportunity for someone to help or for the suicidal person to reach out to someone to help. That’s why limiting access to lethal means is so powerful.”
The young woman — and her family — were exhausted and confused by the barrage of treatments and medications. How were they supposed to cope with her nightmarish outbursts, her self-mutilation and suicide attempts, her destructive behavior?
Her brain tormented her, and doctors could not understand why
By Aleszu Bajak September 14 at 2:38 PM
“I hate myself, and my brain,” Pam Tusiani wrote in her journal while under 24-hour watch on the fourth-floor psychiatric ward of Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital. “Nothing is worse than this disease.”
When Tusiani wrote those words in 1998, doctors had little understanding of the disorder that was troubling her, and all these years later they have little more.
Trying to understand how the illness works — in hopes of finding a cure — strikes at the heart of psychiatry, indeed medicine in general. How does one replicate at the basic research level what one sees in a patient? How do you find the chemical root of a disease, especially one as complex and multifaceted as borderline personality disorder, or BPD?
Just as a smile takes dozens of facial muscles to execute, a particular emotional response to a stimulus requires a web of brain activity. The brain isn’t a series of one-way streets. It’s a hive of superhighways, and we can barely make out the cars, much less figure out where they came from, where they’re headed, what they’re carrying and why they’re on the road. We barely understand a healthy brain, so how are we to understand one haunted by psychoses?
Some days Tusiani, a New Yorker who was attending Loyola University in Baltimore when she was hospitalized, would cut herself, usually on the arms and hands, not so much to inflict pain but rather to relieve inner turmoil. “Bleeding enough that I felt good,” she wrote. One day she’d be curled up in the fetal position, unable to eat or speak; the next, she’d be pacing her house, berating anyone within reach and seeking drugs and alcohol — or a razor — for relief.