“It is embarrassing to admit that I didn’t begin [healing] until the age of thirty-four, when after a breakdown I began to get my life together through medication, therapy, and tattooing. Borderline means you’re one of those girls who walk around wearing long sleeves in the summer because you’ve carved up your forearms over your boyfriend. You make pathetic suicidal gestures and write bad poetry about them, listen to Ani DiFranco albums on endless repeat, end up in the emergency room for overdoses, scare off boyfriends by insisting they tell you they love you five hundred times a day and hacking into their email to make sure they’re not lying, have a police record for shoplifting, and your tooth enamel is eroded from purging. You’ve had five addresses and eight jobs in three years, your friends are avoiding your phone calls, you’re questioning your sexuality, and the credit card companies are after you. It took a lot of years to admit that I was exactly that girl, and that the diagnostic criteria for the disorder were essentially an outline of my life:
[Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by] a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affect, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in criterion 5.
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in criterion 5.
5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
The first time I read these criteria, I felt like someone had been following me around taking notes.”(Loud in the House of Myself, pg. 8-10)
Even reading it for the second time, this memoir still hits very close to home for me. Having also grown up dealing with borderline personality disorder and having battled through manic episodes and deep depressive states, as well as my own forms of self-destruction, reading Pershall’s story felt almost like connecting with a kindred spirit. After just the first twenty pages of her book, I was laughing and sobbing simultaneously— unsure of exactly how to feel aside from an overwhelming sense of rapport, and the relief that comes from knowing that someone, somewhere, has been where you are, felt how you feel— and has survived it. I found solace in her story; although it's different in many ways from my own, there were times while reading where I felt that if I were to walk up to her and tell her a story from my life, she would know exactly what I was talking about. Her memoir is deeply affecting; you don't need to have lived through something similar to recognize her courage and applaud the strength inherent in her words.(less)
I found a battered copy of this edition of Parker's stories and poems, published in 1963, at a used book store, and paid 75 cents for it; I still thin...moreI found a battered copy of this edition of Parker's stories and poems, published in 1963, at a used book store, and paid 75 cents for it; I still think that it was the best 75 cents I have ever spent in my whole life. (less)