Kristen Wiig Stars in Upcoming Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Movie!

Kristin Wiig Welcome to Me Borderline Personality Disorder BPD movie
Image courtesy of Alchemy
I was so excited to learn from one of my students that Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live and movie fame will be portraying a young woman with borderline personality disorder (BPD) in a new major motion picture coming out on May 1, 2015 called "Welcome to Me."

I don't know much about the film yet. I was able to view this trailer, below. Give it a watch, and let me know what you think.

Underneath the trailer on Apple's site, is a synopsis of the film, which says that it is about a young woman with BPD who wins the lottery, goes off of her medication, and spends $15 million  of her $86 million in winnings to start her own talk show, all about her.

So, yes with this particular character we are probably going to see a play on the narcissistic tendencies that some people with BPD have and exhibit. Other than that I can't be sure based on these brief snippets, but it seems to show that the character has some difficulties around making impulsive decisions.

What I *love* about the impression I get from this trailer is that a person with BPD is NOT being portrayed as a psycho!!!   I am so pleased with the progress we've made.  For Hollywood to make this movie is a HUGE advancement over the days of movies like Fatal Attraction and Single White Female that reinforced stigma causing stereotypes around people suffering from borderline personality disorder.

Watch the trailer now.  Looking forward to your thoughts in the comment section below after you do!

Kristin Wiig Welcome to Me Borderline Personality Disorder BPD movie
Image courtesy of Alchemy

I'll see the movie when it comes out and will post my review here as well.

Kristen Wiig, if you should personally come across this article: I'd *love* to interview you about this movie.  This site is nearing 1.5 MILLION views and averages 50K views a month, so it would be a great platform to get the word out about this amazing project.

Thanks for reading.

More Soon.

In kindness,

BPD and Your Support System (or lack thereof)

A support system is an incredibly important part of recovery from borderline personality disorder (BPD). But what do you do if you don’t have this? What do you do if you’ve pushed everyone away and burned every bridge? What do you do if you’ve isolated and don’t have any more connections? How do you get the support that you need to positively impact your recovery process?

This is a very difficult question. Today I posted on my DBT Path Facebook page about an online skills and support group for parents, partners, and other loved ones of those with borderline personality disorder, BPD traits, or who are emotionally sensitive that I’ll be offering in the near future. Licensed therapist Amanda Smith, LMSW of My Dialectical Life, also in recovery from borderline personality disorder, is tapped to co-facilitate. (Here is a signup list if you are a parent or loved one interested in receiving more information as well as other helpful articles and information.)

In the past, many parents have reached out to me as a result of finding this blog, coming across my e-books, or by having watched the documentary Border_. They’ve asked for insight and understanding about how to best support their loved one who has BPD.  I’m excited to be able to help these individuals to develop a sense of hope and understanding and to become skillful, or even more skillful, in their relationships with their loved ones.

What saddens me, though, is the inevitable responses to the announcement of this class from those who are deeply hurting because they believe, or perhaps know for a fact, that their family members or spouse or other loved ones aren’t interested in such opportunities.

I remember when I was in the thick of my experience of being highly symptomatic with borderline personality disorder, and it was pretty difficult to be around me. It was pretty difficult for me to be present with myself. So, I understand the frustration and hopelessness that can develop for loved ones observing someone who is having great difficulty managing her or his emotions, repeatedly sabotaging, and seemingly not making progress in life.

I understand how it’s possible to reach a breaking point, to burn out, and to just feel numb. I have also experienced that when I began to truly demonstrate a concerted effort to change my life, become skillful, and was finally able to keep commitments, people began to come around. It took a lot of hard work and proving myself. Sometimes it was difficult to accept that I had to work so hard to convince others that I had changed and was in a continual process of change. But, as soon as I accepted that I needed to do this, I released the struggle.

If you’re in a place where you are lacking the support of your family and loved ones as you cope as best as you know how and working as hard as you can to get well and stay well, it is so important to CREATE a network of support for yourself. This might look like getting into clinical groups in your area that offer support and the opportunity to connect with others with similar experiences (such as outpatient groups at OPI Living in the Los Angeles area), deciding to sign up for a workshop, class, or club that is in alignment with your interests (which is something I love about the Roanne Program residential for young men and women with borderline personality disorder, as this is emphasized greatly), or if you’re not feeling ready to go out into the world in this way, even finding some online communities that feel safe and supportive can be helpful to start.

If loneliness becomes too difficult to bear, and you begin to have suicidal thoughts, please immediately reach out to a suicide prevention line, your therapist or psychiatrist, your nearest hospital, or call your local emergency number. You do not have to do this alone. There were times in my life when I felt very desperate in my loneliness and became a regular in the emergency room. If you are feeling despair and are unsafe, please utilize services so that you get the support that you need.

It’s also important, though it can be difficult, to remember that what your support system looks like today may not be what it looks like a month from now, or three months from now. It can improve as you work hard in your recovery and are acknowledged by those around you. Also, don’t assume that your loved one wouldn’t be interested in an online class like the one Amanda and I are working on. You might share the information and be surprised.

Please take a moment to share:

What does your support system look like now?

What did it look like a year ago?

What would you like it to look like in the near and distant future?

I look forward to your response.

Thank you for reading.

More soon.

In kindness,


Emotional Vulnerability When You're Under the Weather or in Physical Pain

Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling under the weather or otherwise less than 100% well physically, that you are more prone to feeling emotional?  It’s not just you.

Dr. Marsha Linehan, who developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills, has noted in her teachings that when we are not feeling well physically or not tending to our physical health, we can experience an increase in emotional vulnerability.

So rather than judging yourself as a “big baby,” for feeling more fragile or anxious when not feeling well physically, keep in mind that this is a universal experience, and if you have borderline personality disorder or are an emotionally sensitive person, you are all the more vulnerable.

Think of someone you love who does not have BPD, and remember time when they had a headache, a cold, and ache or pain, etc. Did their personality change at all? Were they more irritable? Do they seem a little anxious? More introverted? You probably noticed something as far as a change in their outward behavior as a result of not feeling well.

Please have compassion for yourself, therefore, if you find yourself feeling emotionally dysregulated under the circumstances, given that you *do* have BPD, BPD traits, or are an emotionally sensitive person.

I can relate. Up until this week, I don’t remember the last time I caught a cold. But when I began to feel it coming on earlier this week, I did become anxious. Like most of you reading this blog, I have some trauma in my history, and some of it is related to a time in my childhood when I was sick.  So there is a trigger. I was already feeling emotionally vulnerable for a number of other reasons prior to not feeling well physically, which made it even more of a blow.

Here are some of the things I did to tend to my physical and emotional health, in order to strengthen my emotional resiliency:

  1. I created these anxiety cue cards to keep myself grounded and in the moment when anxiety would strike.
  2. I searched on YouTube for videos on gentle yoga for when you have a cold. I found thisvideo, and it was so soothing and helpful. Please check with your doctor before engaging in any type of exercise.
  3. I stayed hydrated and ate small meals or snacks, even if I didn’t feel like it.
  4. I got plenty of rest and went to bed early each night.
  5. I made some herbal tea and self-soothed using taste, smell, and touch (the warm mug).
  6. I use my nasal spray that I had been neglecting to use.
  7. I distracted from anxious thoughts by engaging deeply with my work.
  8. I used prayer and meditation.
  9. I tended to the other issues that were overwhelming so they felt more manageable, and I felt less overwhelmed.

I am still getting over the cold, and still feel a bit anxious, but each day, it gets a little better. My body naturally begins to heal, and I feel more secure that my anxiety is just anxiety – a mouse with a microphone, if you will – and that this too shall pass.

Can you relate to this article? Perhaps you have a chronic physical illness that impacts your emotional vulnerability. Maybe you are like me, and when you feel under the weather, this can be emotionally triggering.

What skillful things do you do to care for yourself at such times?

What ideas from this post might you try in the future?

Thanks for reading.
More soon.

In kindness,

Santa Clara University Event: BPD and Stigma (with Debbie Corso)

Does stigma against people suffering from borderline personality disorder or BPD traits exist? Does it exist among clinical professionals? Even professors? The unfortunate answer to all of these questions is: yes.

The level and intensity of the suffering that most people who are highly symptomatic and have borderline personality disorder or BPD traits have can feel immeasurable to the sufferer. If you throw into the mix a person in a helping position who has already established a cynical, unhelpful, generalized, and often in accurate assumption about this person, and it only makes matters much worse.

I can understand why many clinicians are hesitant or even afraid to work with people diagnosed with BPD. The media’s portrayal of us, in terms of characters in movies and even graphic images chosen alongside articles on this disorder, are often disturbing and scary.  The fact is, there is a wide range in the way that people with BPD present.

Just as you can have a room full of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and other than that fact they have very little else in common, the same is true when you have a group of people with BPD. To this point, to complicate matters further, the DSM has historically indicated that any combination of at least five out of nine criteria need to be met in order for a diagnosis of BPD to be made. When you do the math, you realize that it’s possible for a person to present with this disorder in a myriad of ways.

So, if you’ve been exposed to stories, media images, or even patients who have been extremely manipulative, outwardly angry, and the like, it does not mean that the next person who walks into your office who shares that she has been diagnosed with BPD, suspect she has it, or perhaps you suspect she has it, will have anything in common with that previous patient. This is part of the message that needs to be spread to clinicians, especially new therapists entering the field.

I was invited to speak last night at Santa Clara University to their Counseling Psychology Graduate Student Association. It was a fantastic opportunity, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I had been excited about the event for weeks, and my nerves only hit me just before I was about to present. In an attempt to break the ice and connect, I chose to be vulnerable and share that I was nervous and that this was my first public speaking event.

Most of you know that I have a YouTube channel and teach online DBT classes, and I’ve even done presentations, such as one at a DBT center in Berkeley, via Skype, where my image was projected onto a wall, but this was the first in real life presentation for me.

Camille Bates, who coordinated and sat with me upfront to moderate questions, was warm, kind, and expressed how important it is for new clinicians to be exposed to a different side of BPD than what they have seen up until now. It is important that my story and others like it, which bring hope and light to an otherwise often dark and scary diagnosis. 

Mine is a story of hope, as many of you have been following this blog, who have read my books, who have seen the online documentary that I’m in (Border _), and perhaps you’ve even taken a class for me, very well know.

During the talk, I shared the overview of my journey, including the invalidating, abusive family environment that I experienced as a child and which likely contributed to my developing BPD. I talked about the feelings of abandonment and rejection that came up having been in twenty-six foster homes and two group homes. I talked about the difficulties I faced as an emotionally sensitive person, who had extreme difficulty managing when multiple stressors appeared in life it once, often leading to failed relationships, attempts to complete college, and the ability to maintain a job.

I talked about how in my late teens and into my 20s, I was in and out of inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations. I talked about how my psychiatrist chose to not indicate BPD on my electronic medical record because she was concerned, knowing that I frequently visited the emergency room for feeling out of control or having suicidal thoughts, that they would possibly treat me poorly due to the stigma associated with patients who have BPD.

I talked about how I had been in accurately diagnosed as bipolar rapid cycling and how this impacted the delay in me receiving the treatment that ultimately needed to get better: DBT.

So much more was discussed, the audience was very engaged, and I was able to answer a number of their questions. In a very moving moment, one of the students chose to disclose to her peers, that she herself has been diagnosed with BPD and had some questions for me. I won’t forget that moment.

I won’t forget how the faces in the audience soft and as I got more into my story. How they smiled warmly at me and nodded their heads to show support or agreement as I went on. I am so grateful that I was asked to speak at Santa Clara University, that I had the opportunity to meet this group of current and future therapists.  I am hopeful that I reached them with my story and that it will make a difference in the lives of those they work with in the future who have borderline personality disorder.

Thanks for reading.

More soon.

In kindness,

P.S.  A big thank you to Daniela and John, too! :)


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