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When Hope is Not Enough, Second Edition: A how-to guide for living with and loving someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
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Healing with paint: How the pioneer of art therapy helped millions of mental health patients

Lisa Buttery, a 25-year-old artist who works at Brighton University, shares Molloy’s experiences. She has been dealing with borderline personality disorder since her teens, and has used art in therapy and as a creative outlet.

Healing with paint: How the pioneer of art therapy helped millions of mental health patients

Edward Adamson was the first artist to be employed in a UK hospital. Kashmira Gander explores how his studio was an oasis of calm in a harsh twentieth century mental hospital, and how his legacy lives on.

Kashmira Gander @kashmiragander Wednesday 7 September 2016

It is the late 1990s and once again Gary Molloy’s severe bipolar disorder has hospitalised him. Unbeknown to Molloy, though, this stint will be the one to transform his life. “I saw these wonderful paintings on the ward. They were quite abstract. I was mystified and inspired, ” recalls Molloy, now 47, of his stay in a hospital in east London where he was born and raised.

Gripped, he needed to find out more, and discovered the works were created at Core Arts, a nearby centre for people with mental health illnesses. This is how Molloy, who was deterred from creativity by his teachers because of his gift for maths, says he discovered art.

“I found something magical in painting, writing and poetry. It eased the symptoms,” says the civil servant turned artist who is now a trustee and volunteer at the centre. “Ever since, I’ve been managing my condition by being creative, and building my self-esteem. It was a catalyst.” The impact on Molloy is undeniable: he hasn’t been hospitalised for 17 years.

Art as therapy was first used in the early and mid-20th century. Patients were often forced to deal with archaic and brutal practices, but they were also first to experience pioneering treatments. This duality, as well as how mental health has been approached over the centuries, and what the future might hold, is being explored at the Wellcome Collection’s latest exhibition: Bedlam: the asylum and beyond.


A Spectrum Approach to Mood Disorders

The author deftly explores the overlapping symptoms of mixed bipolar symptoms, anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorders, ADHD, and major depression.

A Spectrum Approach to Mood Disorders

September 06, 2016 | Film And Book Reviews, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Major Depressive Disorder, Mood Disorders
By Tammas Kelly, MD

A Spectrum Approach to Mood Disorders: Not Fully Bipolar but Not Unipolar—Practical Management

by James Phelps, MD; New York: WW Norton and Company, 2016
255 pages • $32.00 (hardcover)

In A Spectrum Approach to Mood Disorders, Dr Jim Phelps bravely enters territory that academia has largely neglected—the nebulous region between full bipolar disorder and major depression. This is where so many of our patients live. The book is a must-read for any health professional involved in the treatment of affective illnesses, including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists, and therapists.

His previous book, Why Am I Still Depressed?,1 is still a great source of information about bipolar II for professionals who wish to learn more and for patients who are suffering from bipolar II and soft bipolar. In A Spectrum Approach, he once again leads us to a greater understanding of the complexity of the bipolar disorders.

The author’s website, Psycheducation.org, averages around 40,000 unique visitors each month. It is safe to assume that at one time or another, the majority of our patients with bipolar disorder have read Dr Phelps’ work. He is perhaps one of the most widely read experts on bipolar disorder of our time.


CBT most effective treatment for repeat self-harm

CBT seems to be effective in patients after self-harm. Dialectical behavior therapy did not reduce the proportion of patients repeating self-harm but did reduce the frequency of self-harm.

CBT most effective treatment for repeat self-harm
Hawton K, et al. Lancet Psychiatry. 2016;doi:10.1016/S2215-0366(16)30070-0.

Recent findings showed cognitive behavioral therapy after self-harm was effective while dialectical behavior therapy did not reduce repeat self-harm but reduced frequency of self-harm.

“Self-harm (intentional acts of non-fatal self-poisoning or self-injury) is common, particularly in young adults aged 15 to 35 years, often repeated, and strongly associated with suicide. Effective aftercare of individuals who self-harm is therefore important,” Keith Hawton, FMedSci, of the University of Oxford, and colleagues wrote.

To assess efficacy of psychosocial interventions for self-harm in adults, researchers conducted a Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis of 29 randomized controlled trials with three independent trials of the same intervention for adults with recent self-harm.


Five things you can do today to improve your relationship

Five simple steps you can take today to improve your relationship with your partner.

Hi, my name is Michelle Marshall and I’m Bon’s first guest blogger and wanted to thank him for asking me to do this. I’m currently working on a book about improving your marriage/relationship. My daughter and Bon’s went to the same therapist group. I’ve adapted some principles from that therapy as well as some other experiences I’ve had with my husband.

Here goes:

  1. Drop the “shoulds” and practice acceptance.  You can’t change other people’s feelings or actions. You have no control over the other person, even your partner. While you may feel that things should be different in your relationship, there’s much less suffering when you accept things as is and then go from there. True acceptance is profound, subtle and powerful. As Albert Ellis once said: “Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they’re alive and human.”
  2. Remember that the relationship is not a standalone thing. A relationship is not a living, breathing thing that can exist independently of the people involved. It arises dependent upon the people involved. Unfortunately, in my own mind, I use language in the traditional way – that the relationship is actually a thing. It’s difficult (for me anyway) to think of the relationship as a relationship between two things (being people in this case). The very word relationship means (according to the dictionary’s first definition): “the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other.” It’s about interaction, not an independently existing thing.
  3. Think you are not soul-mates. At the beginning of our relationship, I began to believe that my partner and I were “made for each other” – that we were soul-mates. I know that he felt the same way about me. What we had together was special – it was he and I against the world. We would “win” based on the strength of our love alone. In the intervening decades of being together, I’ve come to the realization that this belief put undue pressure on one another. While being soul-mates was a romantic and grand vision for the relationship, the reality of day-to-day living couldn’t live up to the big idea. The notion that we were soul-mates was unrealistic, overly romantic and, at some level, delusional. When the image of what our relationship “should be” and the reality of what it was clashed, strife and conflict resulted – even if only inside my own head.
  4. Think you are not clones. I thought that my partner and I were a male and female version of one person. Because I thought he was my soul-mate and that we were destined to be together always, I just had a deep belief that he felt exactly the same way about the world as I did. While we share the same political beliefs, religious views, children and bed, it never occurred to me that his experience of the world was different than mine. We’ve been together for decades, and it just seemed “right” that when something happened in life, he’d feel the same way I did about it. Your partner is not a clone of you. He/she is actually an entirely different person, with different feelings and, most importantly,  a different experience of the world.
  5. Remember you’re on the same team. Although it might not seem like it at times, you and your partner are on the same team. Too often, my partner and I would be butting heads over some issue like we were locked into a war with one another. We certainly were not acting as if we were on the same team.  Just remembering that we are supposed to be on the same team, rather than at odds with one another is helpful. Any person, whether the person is a spouse, child, friend or sibling, likes to know that someone else is on there “side,” even if there are no real sides in an issue.

I hope that the above 5 things you can do are helpful for your relationship with your partner.

Borderline personality disorder carries unfair stigma

A diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, like a diagnosis of many other mental illnesses, carries with it an unfair stigma that engenders unwarranted apprehension on the part of the general public.

Borderline personality disorder carries unfair stigma

May 26, 2016
By John Hartsock

Dr. Marsha M. Linehan, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, has pioneered a therapeutic approach known as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) that has been used with great efficacy in the treatment of many people with borderline personality disorder.

Dialectical behavioral therapy focuses on the concept of mindfulness, or being attentive to the current situation, rather than dwelling on the past or being apprehensive about the future.

The causes of borderline personality disorder, like the causes of other forms of mental illness, are varied and complex.

Genetics and heredity often play a crucial role, but factors such as environmental life stressors and the experience of trauma can bring about the development and/or exacerbation of symptoms.

Linehan herself and Brandon Marshall, a wide receiver with the National Football League’s Chicago Bears, have publicly disclosed their own struggles with borderline personality disorder.

The success and personal accomplishments that both have experienced in their lives have given thousands of people afflicted with BPD hope.


This Is What Borderline Personality Disorder Looks Like

Other than overwhelming emotions, borderline personality disorder is characterized by impulsive and volatile behavior

This Is What Borderline Personality Disorder Looks Like

May 25, 2016 ‐ By Tracey Lloyd

I’ve always been a crier. As a child, my cousins used to visit every week and I cried every time they had to go home. If someone teased me at school, I cried. If I saw a movie that had a sad element, I cried. These were not just tearful moments, they were all-out, slobbering, can’t catch your breath sobs that I couldn’t seem to control. I guess I’m what you might call “sensitive,” and it always feels like my heart is on my sleeve and my emotions are boiling at the surface. It never made sense until I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines borderline personality disorder as “a serious mental illness marked by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships.” It also occurs concurrently with other mental illnesses, like depression, and makes them slightly more difficult to treat. Let me give you some examples of what borderline personality disorder looks like in a person.

During my last breakup, I was a wreck. I was dating a friend and he cheated on me and I was going through a depressive episode when we broke up. Because of the depression, my mind went to a dark place where I thought I’d be alone for the rest of my life. But because of the borderline personality disorder, I couldn’t process the breakup as it was happening because my emotions were too overwhelming. I couldn’t have any rational thought while dude was breaking up with me, all I could process were my feelings. It wasn’t until much later that I actually processed what he’d said to me, long after I stopped feeling the grief and loss — maybe a year after. And then I was mad, but it was too late to express my feelings.