When you are reading our book, be prepared to challenge your view of what is called “borderline personality disorder” and even the way you see all so-called psychiatric ‘disorders’. This is what we have done as co-authors. We sound a little strong at times, but we really believe in what we are presenting.
We take you through exactly why we take this approach, give you historical context and also explain some experiences with real people who are suffering. To this end, client’s stories at the end along with a few narratives written by clients themselves along the way. We stick faithfully to the experiences themselves rather than upon theoretical constructs and other abstracted materials. Our approach is not experience-near, but experientialist; we don’t hypothesize, abstract, nor construct theories from human experience.
Here’s the overview of the journey that’s in store in our book. The fields of psychiatry and so-called scientific, evidence-based psychology are as aware of their historical-environmental context as a fish is to its being wet—they are oblivious; the most obvious and necessary context eludes them. You’ll notice in every book you pick up on ‘borderline personality disorder’, that the authors assume that it is a psychiatric syndrome / disease as outlined in the clinical literature. None of them even look at the basic assumptions or historical, cultural and environmental contexts wherein the supposed syndrome or disease was invented. You read this correctly: All of the mental illnesses outlined in the diagnostic guide for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), are inventions. Said differently, there is no biological evidence for any one of the disorders outlined in the DSM. There is no blood test, mouth swab, hair sample, biopsy, spinal tap, x-ray, brain-imaging, nor any other sort of “We’ll have to send this off to the lab,” way to diagnose or confirm psychiatric diseases. Zero. The contents of the DSM are constructed by committees of professionals, most with financial ties to the psychopharmaceutical industry, and then voted upon.
That the diagnoses are diseases and/or syndromes reflecting a chemically imbalanced or otherwise defective brain organ is a ‘given’. Yet the fields of psychiatry and natural science psychology proceed as if their hypotheses, perspectives and diagnoses are facts, like wind or gravity. And like wind or gravity, diseases just happen. If brain diseases are like other medical diseases, they happen independent of other factors. They simply are due to this or that neurochemical mishap and there is no need for any further investigation or thinking outside the realm of biology. When varieties of human distress are understood as diseases, critical thinking is off the hook. The phenomena are decontextualized, stripped of context and any meaning outside of biological hypotheses.
‘Borderline’ is to psychiatry as psychiatry is to medicine. Psychiatry’s multiple functional failures—scientistic, misogynistic, literalistic, moralistic, personalistic, pathologizing, Eurocentric, etc.—have sparked interest in what actually works. Most people, these days, have had or know someone who has had a horrible, if not outrightly dehumanizing, experience with the mental health system. Upon this ground of failures, new approaches are emerging, such as the recovery movement. This thorough and unconventional book is part of this movement. We offer an alternative way of understanding so-called ‘borderline personality disorder,’ and with it shred the stigma, while offering a new sense of hope and possibility for those suffering.