Help for Phen

My partner, Phen, is brilliant, funny, sweet and beautiful but suffers from severe Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD.)  BPD is a painful condition; for Phen, simply existing is unbearable.

Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder live 18.2 years less than the general population (1), due in part to a tendency toward self-injurious and reckless behavior as well as a suicide rate of approximately 10% (2). Phen has attempted suicide many times, ranging from gestures to an overdose requiring ICU treatment, a motor vehicle collision, and a hanging attempt requiring CPR.  Phen also has a history of seriously assaulting others.  However, it is important to recognize how hard Phen has been working; Phen has worked very hard on their anger issues and has not been physically violent for 1.5 years and counting.  In addition, Phen has not used hard drugs in 10 months. 

Despite these successes, Phen still suffers daily with extreme anxiety, anger, sadness and self-loathing.  While treating BPD is very difficult, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is currently a highly favored treatment by mental health professionals and scientifically shown to be more effective than traditional therapies (3).   DBT was created by Marsha Linehan, who suffers from BPD herself (4).  DBT is usually administered in a group setting, however, Phen does not do well in group therapy.  I have found a DBT specialist nearby who studied with Marsha Linehan herself and offers individual treatment, but the treatment is not cheap.  Phen has a very supportive family who are able to help with treatment costs, even after having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on other treatments to date.  As Phen’s partner, I have been working overtime and want to pay for as much as possible, but it is still not enough. 

This is Phen’s best chance for wellness and peace. Please help us with whatever you can; it would mean so much to us.


(1)    Fook, M. L., Hayes, R. D., Chang, C., Steward, R., Callard, F. J., Moran, P. (2012). Life expectancy at birth and all-cause mortality among people with personality disorder. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 73, 104-107.

(2)    Pompili, M., Girardi, P., Ruberto, A., Tatarelli, R. (2005). Suicide in borderline personality disorder: a meta-analysis. Nordic  Journal of Psychiatry, 59, 319-324.

(3)    Öst, L. (2008). Efficacy of the third wave of behavioral therapies: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46, 296-321.

(4)    Carey, B. (2011, June 23). Expert on Mental Illness Reveals Her Own Fight. The New York Times.


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Joanna Carmel 
Brookline, MA
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