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Marymoose wants to Get out of Here!

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04.07.2011 (05.07.2011)

Advantages:
Gripping, Interesting, and gave me HOPE !

Disadvantages:
None !

Recommendable Yes:

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111 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (27%):
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Intro

For the past 12 days I have been in a “Crisis House” (a much nicer alternative to hospital), as clearly the stresses and strains of it seemed to have got to me, and I turned up for my appointment with my CPN telling her that I was on the verge of complete mental collapse and that she had to help me, but that first I had to go to work to deliver a farewell speech to my ex-colleagues (which I actually did manage to hold myself together for).

As I write this in the yard at the house (although when I type it I’ll be back at home) a new ‘resident’ has just arrived, and quite frankly he STINKS, AND he almost stole my Diet Coke which I have now hidden in another fridge.

Anyway, this is relevant as the title of this book “Get me out of here” is how I’m feeling right now. Although I’m in here completely voluntarily and the staff are lovely, I will be SO ready to leave on Monday. Not only to get out of HERE, but also resolved and motivated to get out of this mental illness trap which seems to have sucked me in a bit, somehow being quite comforting.

The Book and why I read it

Having already read a factual book on BPD (“I hate you, don’t leave me”) during my time in the house, a staff member suggested that I read this autobiographical account. And although I haven’t really had the concentration to read much lately, I devoured the 436 pages (447 including resource section) in a day, as I was completely gripped.

Being a bit of a (self-confessed, admittedly) expert in the mental health field (just unable to apply theory to practice in sorting my own head out) I wasn’t surprised last year when my psychiatrist gave me the diagnosis of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder – Borderline Type (Borderline personality Disorder or BPD as it is more commonly known). On telling people my diagnosis there are generally 2 reactions – change the subject abruptly for fear that I will boil their bunnies, or say “Well, I think we all have a personality disorder”. Neither of which are particularly helpful (but I think I only really say it in order to get a reaction!) Yes, we all have disordered personalities to an extent, but not all to the degree where we end up in a crisis house with a man who STINKS. Thankfully medication has come a long way, and for the most part my moods are now more stable than they ever have been – present ‘crisis’ aside.

BPD

Admittedly the experience of BPD is different for everyone, and Rachel Reiland qualifies this throughout. And admittedly her experiences are VERY different from mine – I have certainly never been so extreme, and thankfully have not suffered from child abuse (although unintentional emotional neglect which to some extent draws some parallels). However, I felt that I really related to many of her experiences and thoughts. But more than that it offered me a lot of hope for the future, one where BPD wouldn’t be part of my life (thankfully unlike something like Bipolar, with the right help it’s not something I have to have for the rest of my life), and a future which wouldn’t involve sharing a house with the stinky man (did I mention the smell?!)

Rachel's Story

I have read a lot of autobiographies over the years, many of the ‘sob story’ variety. But this is certainly not a sob story, and Rachel Reiland is not in any way self-pitying, which is refreshing.

“Get me out of here” chronicles Rachel’s journey through mental illness, particularly aided by her psychiatrist Dr. Padgett, the Father at her church, and the love of her husband and children.

When Rachel first ended up in a psychiatric hospital she was 29, married, and with two small children. Her relationship with her husband Tim was strained, due to her severe emotional outbursts, and while she took motherhood seriously, inevitably her illness was having an effect on her children.

Over the course of the year she had two further stays in hospital, both as a result of her BPD and Anorexia. During her first stay in hospital she was fortunate to meet her psychiatrist with whom she spent the next 4 years in therapy – 3 times a week (although this diminished towards the end) for a 50 minute hour (typical in therapy) at the extortionate cost of $120 per session – and bearing in mind this was the early 1990s. Obviously few would be able to afford such luxuries. However one could argue that since it’s a matter of life or death (suicide rates in those with BPD are around 5-10%) then what price can you put on that? But still, it’s an awful lot of money!

Although to be diagnosed with BPD one only needs to meet a certain number of criteria (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderline_personality_disorder for further info), Rachel pretty much met them all – the black and white thinking (or ‘splitting’ as it is known’), intense fear of abandonment, self-destructive behaviours…the list goes on.

Rachel’s therapeutic journey is colourful and gripping to read. The highs and lows as she finally comes to deal with the issues from her childhood that led to her illness – and there are many setbacks along the way (which I can relate to). Her psychiatrist Dr. Padgett (while obviously well-paid) was clearly excellent at his job, and the reader (well, me anyway!) is filled with admiration for his professionalism, patience, and passion for his work. Their relationship is very intense and involves her ‘falling in love’ with him so-to-speak. Something which I can’t relate to my own experience of therapy (my counsellor is pleased to hear this) but can relate to other relationships in my life currently. Her story gives me hope that in time I will be emotionally dependent on myself. Although I am an adult, in many ways I am still a child, and I have a long way to go to being more emotionally self-sufficient.

In relation to my story – I am REALLY self-centred after all

I don’t want to say much more since I’d like to encourage you to read the book for yourself.

However, certain parts really struck a chord with me:
“Thinking came easily to me. But it also kept me at an emotional distance. It was as if I were watching a play, discussing the plot, finding the meaning, but forgetting that I was the central character, and that it was real.” (p.90)

I spend much of my life doing this. In fact, much of my time here has been spent thinking of this as an interesting chapter of my autobiography. As I write this another resident has just arrived. Now there are four of us. And I feel I want to go into the third person and say “Tonight Mary will be cooking bolognaise for the staff and her fellow inmates”. But when it comes down to it, as Rachel said, this IS real, and I am the central character in my story. It’s time for me to start experiencing how I am really feeling and in time to move forward in my life, much as Rachel does in her story.

It’s been an interesting experience in the crisis house and it’s given me a lot to think about – more than that it’s given me a chance to relax and be removed from ‘real-life’ for a bit (although being allowed to nip out into the community!) However, it’s not just the house and the staff here that have helped. Reading “Get me out of here” has really helped me, and given me hope for a recovery from BPD.

Finally

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys autobiographies, and anyone with an interest in mental health problems, especially BPD and Anorexia. Definitely read if you’ve enjoyed such books as “Prozac Nation” by Elizabeth Wurtzel and “Wasted” by Marya Hornbacher. Probably one of the best and meaningful books I’ve ever read, and that’s saying quite a lot. I was crying towards the end, but mainly happy tears for how far Rachel had come.

Technical Details

Published by the Hazelden foundation in 2004, this copy retails at $13.95. I get attached to books that have an impact on me or hold memories, so have kept the copy as a reminder of my time in the house. I have sent them back a new copy of the book - £7.56 on Amazon.

Definitely 5 out of 5 and a gold star from me (btw I got a Star Chart when I left the house, it was very exciting)!


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Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder - Rachel Reiland BPD book - Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Bo
Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder - Rachel Reiland
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Comments about this review »

LadyValkyrie 04.09.2011 19:11

This does sound gripping.

Gooseydyoo 21.07.2011 22:48

Excellent review. It's good to know there are books out there that help people understand mental illnesses better. Glad you have made a good recovery

jo-1976 17.07.2011 23:14

Good to know that reading about another person's experiences has had a positive impact. I like to keep copies of 'special' books too. One of the reasons why a Kindle doesn't really appeal to me x

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EAN 9781592850990
ISBN 1592850995

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This review of Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder - Rachel Reiland has been rated:

"exceptional" by (27%):

  1. Gooseydyoo
  2. Nar2
  3. Coloneljohn

and 28 other members

"very helpful" by (73%):

  1. silverstreak
  2. gradmepls
  3. Dentolux

and 81 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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