Talya Lewis, dynamic speaker on Borderline Personality Disorder. Email Talya - pronounced Ta-LEE-uh - at email@example.com. Here's her website. She sees clients at her Society Hill office.
We had a great turnout - over 26 people. Here's some people who attended:
Margie Peters, head of the Upper Moreland Public Library. I gave her a donation today in memory of the death of the former director Lillian Burnley two years ago followed by the death of her husband Bob, just recently.
In the Burnleys' name, I chose books about diabetes and preserving your kidneys so you won't have to go on dialysis. Here's a post I wrote about Lillian last December, see bottom part of post.
I also asked them to buy some CDs by my son/law Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus.
Here's Johannes Brahms Ponsen, who can never run for president of the US, b/c he was born in the Netherlands where they do inhale legally. Johannes runs our Daytime Meetings at the Giant Supermarket when Helen is out of town or skiing. Each does a great job!
Last but not least are Sharon Katz on the right, owner of Collaborative Care mental health agency in Abington and one of her therapists Martine Susko. I met Martine, who lives in Blue Bell, when I left the Giant. She'd gone shopping and had a big gallon of milk in her cart. She does a lot of cooking, she said.
At meeting's end, Sharon, a prescribing nurse practitioner and therapist, said she'd like to speak at one of our Giant meetings, so I marched us over to Robin Franklin and we set up a meeting in March. These meeting rooms go fast, so seiz-a la moment!
Here's Brian who graduated from culinary school. He's a chef at Rosey's BBQ in Jenkintown, formerly Abner's. See their FANTASTIC website here. I love tattoos!
I always ask how people found us. One woman, the mother of a woman w/BPD read a notice in the Intelligencer. A couple found us on Msn.com under Events. Mon dieu! Those hard-working robots picked it up perhaps from our website.
Talya told the group that she has written her memoir about her struggles with borderline, one of her proudest achievements. She is seeking an agent. I sent her a no. of resources to help her, since I run a Writer's Workshop at this very same Giant.
The only thing I don't do is sleep at the Giant.
In our 2009 Compass mental health mag, we featured the longest story we've ever run: Talya's story about overcoming borderline. Yes, it's that fascinating. Plus her will to recover, which she told the spellbound group was like a "switch going off in her head" when she was 15, and institutionalized at Horsham Clinic.
When asked how she overcame the illness, she laffed and said, I really don't know.
She told us horror stories about how she began to pop her parents' pills at age 8, at 10 hammered out her teeth cuz she thot they were ugly, at 12 began to impulsively shoplift and felt suicidal for the first time.
Impulsivity is a trait of borderline. "Studies show we have less serotonin in our brains and that controls the way we handle impulses." Of course, she said, we can learn to control them.
At 14, when her family moved from the midwest to Philadelphia, she developed an eating disorder and cutting behavior.
She discovered, to her shock, that cutting actually made her feel good inside. "It releases endorphins," she said. Talya was referred to a therapist and three of them refused to treat her. "Come back when you're well," joked Talya, "and then we'll treat you."
From ages 16 to 21 she was institutionalized at Horsham. She lacked education and didn't earn a high school degree. When she was discharged from Horsham she did two important things, even tho she was still ill, she got a job and entered college, earning a B.A.
This is one determined woman.
Factors that helped her heal: "I felt secure," she said. "Even tho I didn't like my psychiatrist and thought he was arrogant, he was predictable and I needed that. I needed structure and boundaries," which she got from him and also the staff at Horsham.
Later on, she spoke to her shrink as a colleague and told him why she objected to parts of his treatment.
Hopefully people at New Directions can do the same when their 'healers' are hindering their progress. We do maintain a Top Doc / Top Therapist List.
Okay, I've gotta hurry up, cuz Scott and I are gonna watch The Misfits (Clark Gable & Marilyn Monroe) tonite and make a pizza from scratch with whole wheat dough. Guess where he bought said dough? Pizza stone he bot at his fave store: Sears.
While agreeing that some medication may be helpful for borderline patients, she said that there's no medication that can address the behavioral symptoms of the condition.
Patients with borderline are uncomfortable in their own skins - called internal locus of control - so uncomfortable, they're in constant psychic anguish.
Therefore they blame external events for their problems, b/c their internal self has not been developed. "It's always the other person's fault," said Talya. "The other person is always to blame."
We all know people like that.
A key problem a borderline person faces is difficulty with relationships, especially the fear of abandonment, "and will do just about anything to stay in that relationship."
They also have great difficulty envisioning the future. If you're undergoing severe trauma - say, what's going on in Afghanistan - how can you possibly think of the future. And the individual has been traumatized in their early life.
Although they might be extremely intelligent, they are "exquisitely sensitive," and their developmental age or emotional age ranges from 18 months to 6 years old. This must be taken into account in conversations. We had several parents or relatives in the audience who nodded their heads when Talya mentioned this.
DBT - dialectical behavioral therapy - is often suggested for treatment. Talya acknowledged it's a fine treatment but said it didn't address the root of the problem which is necessary for a full recovery. She quoted Freud who recommended the following treatment:
- Re-enact (the trauma)
Talya succeeded in the intensely painful work of doing all the three.
Two percent of Americans have borderline, more people than have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Unlike the other two, by working very very hard, borderline can be overcome.
After the seminar, I always like to meet in the downstairs coffeeshop to digest the event. I took some great photos BUT goggle blogger said I've used up all my photo space.
So, for $5 I've bought more space per their website. We'll see when I'm able to upload photos of Helen Kirscher, formerly our Mall Queen, now Queen of the Giant; Chung Choi Park, and Jan Styger, gardener extraordinaire.