Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating” as Want to Read:
The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Buddha and the Borderline: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder through Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Buddhism, and Online Dating

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,371 Ratings  ·  233 Reviews
Kiera Van Gelder's first suicide attempt at the age of twelve marked the onset of her struggles with drug addiction, depression, post-traumatic stress, self-harm, and chaotic romantic relationships-all of which eventually led to doctors' belated diagnosis of borderline personality disorder twenty years later.

The Buddha and the Borderline is a window into this mysterious an
...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by New Harbinger Publications (first published January 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Buddha and the Borderline, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Buddha and the Borderline

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Sarah
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a really great book. It took me forever to read though because I found it scary in that it felt like the story was actually about my life. I suffer from BPD and since i was diagnosed many years ago it has been a very strange roller coaster ride. There have been addictions left, right and centre just to avoid having to deal with my emotions. Mood instability makes it hard for myself and the others around me, and relationships are few and far between. Trying to comprehend what the actual ...more
Kimberley
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a stunning book. If you have borderline tendencies, or if you are close to anyone who has borderline tendencies, then this is a must read. It contains an amazing proposition for borderlines (through the dialectial behavior therapy), which is to learn to hold two polarities as simultaneous realities of life. For instance learning to feel radical acceptance of the situation you find yourself in, while at the same time learning effective strategies for changing it.

I jotted down these borde
...more
Erika Nerdypants
This was one of the best memoirs I have read. I work in mentqal health, and frequently with patients who have Borderline Personality Disorder. The author really brought home to me what someone who suffers from this debilitating yet invisible disease goes through. I applaud her courage and honesty, and am happy that she has found a way to live a life that's more than just existing. She worked incredibly hard under extremely difficult circumstances and against harsh odds. I rarely see anyone recov ...more
Stephanie
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
EXCELLENT book. I actually finished it today and really want to do justice to it by writing this review. The narrator of this memoir is so incredibly smart, vulnerable, courageous, and hilarious. Kiera Van Gelder was sober for ten years when she was first diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. BPD has a lot of negative connotations like Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction, but there are many more people who suffer from mild BPD and just don't know it because it is very difficult to diagno ...more
Chris Blocker
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fifteen years ago I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Like many similar diagnoses, I'd had the symptoms most, if not all, of my life, but had finally been given a name and understanding of what it was that possessed me. After my diagnosis, I studied BPD extensively for a few years and I got better. That's not to say I was healed from BPD, in fact, I was far from a “full recovery,” but I began to understand some of my behaviors and triggers. I also started individual therapy—thi ...more
Tracie
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've worked with many people with borderline personality disorder and actually teach a course in DBT. I found this book interesting as it's written by a person who is diagnosed with BPD and this is the story of how she has learned to live with all of its contradictions. I especially liked the sections where she is involved in DBT as I got to read about what it is like from within the group therapy circle.
This book is not for everyone. Kiera Van Gelder, as presented in this memoir, is not all tha
...more
Laura
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
I found this book intensely frustrating. It's written by someone with borderline personality disorder for, I think, other people with borderline personality disorder. And intellectually, I can recognize that’s a good thing. BPD must be hell. But viscerally, what I know is what it’s like to be down stream from other people’s BPD, from the intense selfishness, the self righteous rage, the incredibly poor decision making, and the explosive misery of people with a disorder that, it seems, is charact ...more
Cathy
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A much needed read to increase understanding. After years of hearing bad press about people having BPD, this writer clarified the origins of this condition, and how to help someone experiencing it, to look for the truth in any statements made by a person with BPD, the sheer vulnerability of that person and the extreme sensitivity felt that can make life seem unbearable, the value of DBT, and the message of hope, that the family can learn to support someone (although often years later) and plenty ...more
K
Kiera van Gelder's voice is one that needs to be heard.

I first encountered Kiera on a very informative video about Borderline Personality Disorder where she discusses her personal struggles with her condition and her difficult climb to improved functioning. This memoir recounts her experiences in a lot more detail.

Many professionals I know are pessimistic when it comes to working with someone who has BPD. It can be demanding to accept responsibility for someone who might experience intense, un
...more
Ted
Jul 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Having been first introduced to individuals with this type of maladaptive behavioral pattern while I was a clinical social worker in a downtown Detroit crisis center as well working in a residential treatment center for adolescents, I chanced upon this title in my search for a more buddhist approach to mental health.

This is a memoir of someone who identifies with this disorder- strongly at first, less so as she learned more about Buddhism. This is not a book that will tell you all the terrible t
...more
Cameron
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I didn't even know that I was going to read this book right now and a trip to the water park demanded a book. I grabbed the closest thing I had an the journey began. The book is memoir written by a women who was diagnosed with BPD. As she relates her experiences she seems to take an honest and revealing approach, sharing the tragedies and triumphs she experienced. I found her honesty refreshing and engaging and suffering from my own "savior complex" (as she calls it) I found myself hoping that t ...more
Liz
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012

"In one sense, it’s like growing a plant. You have the seed, but you need to give it certain elements: sun, water, soil. We have the seed. But how do you grow a borderline? Her word for the environment that cultivates our disorder is “invalidating.” She doesn’t use the term “abuse” or even “neglect,” but “invalidation” to describe how a vulnerable child’s inner experiences—thoughts, emotions, sensations, and beliefs—are either disregarded, denied, erratically responded to, punished, or oversimpl
...more
Amy
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is book is disturbing in its depiction of borderline personality disorder. The writer is gifted in making you feel every ounce of pain, from the emotional devastation to the razor blades. While this is required reading for my mental health class, and not something I would normally read on my own, I think this book has the potential to change your life. This insight into the feeling of always being invalidated and the results of that invalidation for the borderline personality (or anyone els ...more
Rebecca
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book that I would highly recommend for anyone dealing with their own emotional dysregulation or those of someone else. Should be required reading for all clinicians. Completely has changed my compassion level for individuals who struggle with BPD. There is such an emphasis on their manipulative behavior and not enough on the incredible pain that they experience. We could all benefit from increasing our level of empathy, compassion, and validation for their experience.

This is a book th
...more
Rebecca Jackson
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book seemed to embellish a lot of accounts. I felt she was trying too hard to make herself look "crazy." People with BPD, I feel, have way more self control in the harm they do to themselves. Yes, we do have tendencies to ruin relationships, but we learn to adapt and express it inwardly. The last thing, at least, I want is for someone to think I'm psycho. I'll kick and scream and bawl when I'm home alone but no in the presence of anyone else. Also this book has such a "I did it and so can y ...more
Jody
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
The blurb: Worth reading if you want to understand why you or someone else “acts like a psycho in relationships” or why you, or someone else, “always has drama.” You will also understand dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and Buddhism better without being too bored. It is worth getting through the whininess as the whininess becomes self-aware.
The Rest:
This memoir has given me a lot of perspective on BPD, as well as the paradoxes of Buddhism and the stupid things people do in relationships, my
...more
Maggie
Can't rave enough about this book, which tells the author's travels between being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (as well as other mental health issues) and the various treatments she received.

I have read this book a few times already, yet only finished it once (so far). I found I kept re-reading various parts because they were so good, so profound, so helpful. Then I chose to restart the book altogether so I could underline these wonderful parts, and found myself underlining sp
...more
Amanda
This is by far one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Kiera has one of the mental illnesses that is most difficult for those who don't have it to understand and empathize with--Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Yet here she manages to make her pain and struggles incredibly relatable. From prior to her diagnosis when she would write boys letters in her own blood begging them to take her back, to treatment with Dialectical Behavior Therapy, to her gradual recovery and embracing of Buddhism ...more
Happyreader
Oct 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book starts with her writing a despairing love letter in her own blood and ends with her living in a Somerville Buddhist community. A riveting tale of mindfulness over madness and of support appearing when you need it. The generosity of her mom’s ex-boyfriend, for instance, is astounding. He finds her a safe haven and ensures that she remains safe. The Buddhism comes late in the book, prompted by the emphasis on mindfulness in her behavioral and cognitive therapy and her Buddhist muse is ir ...more
Kayla
Aug 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
Very honest account of the diagnosis, recovery, and ongoing struggles of a woman with BPD. Her honesty, courage, and humor came through along with the raging out of control behaviors exhibited when there is no sense of a reliable connection with others.

As literature, however, it could have used a bit more editing. I also think it was long on DBT and short on Buddhism, but perhaps that is splitting hairs.
Meaghan
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
As a practitioner who has treated more than a few individuals with this diagnosis, I found it an interesting. Probably the most significant piece for me was hearing her frustration with the system and how clinicians shy away from using this label or talking about it.
Tamara West
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Easy read. An interesting, insightful and informative perspective on a difficult and often misunderstood and misrepresented topic. Well worth the read.
Ash
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Buddha and the Borderline was a great, highly enlightened, tragic, hilarious, and informative memoir from Kiera Van Gelder. It is her story about her struggle with dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and using dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and Buddhism to help her manage this illness.

When I was in my high school health class, I learned about this disorder and really thought I knew it, to the point when I thought I actually had it. Honestly, now learning more in depth abou
...more
Jina
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
I've read a handful of books about borderline personality disorder -- or more accurately, how to cope with all the shit you're subjected to when a borderline person is in your life -- but this is the first one I've read by someone with BPD. I'm about 80% through. It's very good. I suspect that she's glossing over or omitting some of the more awful things she's done to other people. But it's well-written. It made me feel compassion, when my first reaction to a borderline is fury. Van Gelder descr ...more
Kony
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
As a reader I'm tough to impress, and this memoir wins my admiration. Ms. Kiera is not only a resilient survivor; she's an exceptionally self-aware, honest, witty story-teller. Writing in her mid-thirties, she walks us through her entire life, zooming in on her worst moments, making us both cringe and root for her. There's no self-pity or blaming in her voice: just a powerful will to live and to thrive (despite the abysmally limited support available to people with her condition).

As I'd hoped,
...more
Avril
Mar 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Wow. I'm stunned by the author's courage in being honest about her neediness and self-centredness. I knew very little about BPD before reading this book; now I think it must be one of the most difficult mental illnesses around, for both the sufferer and those who care for them. I hope that having read this book about what's happening 'inside' someone with BPD will help me to be more compassionate with people who seem to me to simply be narcissistic and needy.

I did hope for a bit more about how B
...more
Laura Marinkovich
I spent so much time on this book because I didn't want it to end. As someone with borderline tendencies my therapist suggested this book after I expressed an interest in finding any books about DBT. I also was nurturing a budding interest in Buddhism at the time of the recommendation. So this book covered all of my bases and still managed to surprise me.
The writing was witty yet sincere and the author not only made this book insightful but an entertaining read. I guess one could marvel at the d
...more
Matt
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, although I realize it's not for everyone.
It might help to know a little about personality disorders and that only a few treatments have ever worked for *any* personality disorders.
Once you know what you're getting into, you're good to go. Other people might label her a drama queen, but she does a really good job in the book of elucidating the biological basis for BPD.
Kiera also helps the reader out because she's just as sick of having BPD as the reader is. And she is "deter
...more
Erin Yantha
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've never felt more connected to a book in my entire life.
Eileen
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I've never wanted to be done with a book before as much as I did with this one. It's not that this was terrible, aside from the several typos (they happen to all of us), I just couldn't get myself to 'like' Kiera very much. I understand bpd, I just couldn't relate to being so helpless and needing others to take care of you, financially, to the extent that she needed everyone.

I do wish she spoke more about her time as an alcoholic and drug addict and her life before the time of her diagnosis. Pe
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Sometimes I Act Crazy: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Girl in Need of a Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality
  • Lost in the Mirror: An Inside Look at Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified: An Essential Guide for Understanding and Living with BPD
  • The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living with BPD
  • The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, And Distress Tolerance
  • Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder
  • How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person's Guide to Suicide Prevention
  • Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide
  • Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl
  • Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder: Relieve Your Suffering Using the Core Skill of Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Crazy All the Time: On The Psych Ward of Bellevue Hospital
  • Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying Your Relationship
  • Welcome to My Country
  • Angelhead: My Brother's Descent into Madness
  • Bloodletting: A Memoir of Secrets, Self-Harm, and Survival
  • Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin
“I'm so good at beginnings, but in the end I always seem to destroy everything, including myself.” 351 likes
“We do not deserve to be trapped in hell. It isnt our fault.” 36 likes
More quotes…