A Real Affliction: BPD, Culture, and Stigma

A Real Affliction: BPD, Culture, and Stigma is an interview podcast that explores how we live with, treat, advocate for, write about, and conceptualize borderline personality disorder, as well as common co-occurring challenges like complex PTSD, eating disorders, and substance use disorder, all of which I’ve experienced. My guests and I will also discuss how literature, film, television, photography, dance, philosophy, the history of medicine, feminist and disability studies, nature, and bioethics reflect, illuminate, and impact the experience and cultural perceptions of BPD. The podcast’s goal is to increase access to effective, compassionate care. Episodes are released twice a month.

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Episodes

4 days ago

Why do we need a generalist approach to treating BPD? Because there are nearly 6000 treatment-seeking people with BPD to every certified, specialist clinician in the United States. In this episode, Dr. Sara Masland explains how she is helping to simultaneously reduce stigma and increase access to care by training others in Good Psychiatric Management. Dr. Masland is a clinical scientist, licensed clinical psychologist, and professor at Pomona College, whose research explores such topics as BPD, stigma, and epistemic trust.   
Trigger warning: This episode mentions suicide.
Resources for this episode:
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
Alyson E. Blanchard et al., “Testing the Hot-Crazy Matrix: Borderline Personality Traits in Attractive Women and Wealthy Low Attractive Men Are Relatively Favoured by the Opposite Sex”
Lois W. Choi-Kain et al., “What Works in the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder”
Emotions Matter, “Supporting Students with BPD: A Guide for Educational Professionals, Parents, and Students”
Ellen F. Finch et al., “A Meta-Analysis of Treatment as Usual for Borderline Personality Disorder”
John Gunderson et al., “Good psychiatric management: A Review”
Evan A. Iliakis et al., “Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: Is Supply Adequate to Meet Public Health Needs?”
Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
Sara R. Masland and Hannah E. A. Peeples, “People with BPD Need Compassion Yet Even Clinicians Stigmatise Them”
Sara R. Masland et al., “Destigmatizing Borderline Personality Disorder: A Call to Action for Psychological Science”
Sara R. Masland et al., “Longitudinal Course of Borderline Personality Disorder: What Every Clinician Needs to Know”

Saturday Jun 01, 2024

Why create a children's book about BPD? This is the second half of my interview with Jessie Shepherd, who is a writer, licensed clinical mental health counselor, licensed professional counselor, and director of Blue Clover Therapy. We talk more about her book for children and adults, Millie the Cat Has Borderline Personality Disorder, and muse on the power of children's literature to combat stigma and stir sympathies. 
Episode notes:
Jessie Shepherd, Millie the Cat Has Borderline Personality Disorder
The first part of my interview with Jessie
Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse
Susan Stewart, On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection 

Wednesday May 15, 2024

What are some of the gifts of BPD? Find out from an adorable cat named Millie. Here, I interview Jessie Shepherd—a licensed clinical mental health counselor, licensed professional counselor, and director of Blue Clover Therapy—about her book for children and adults, Millie the Cat Has Borderline Personality Disorder.
Jessie Shepherd, Millie the Cat Has Borderline Personality Disorder

Wednesday May 01, 2024

What kind of impact can a small organization make on BPD—in its province and globally? In this episode, I find out by interviewing Baylie McKnight, a co-founder of the BPD Society of British Columbia who has lived experience with the disorder, a master’s degree in social work, and a private practice. She tells me about the extraordinary efforts that the BPD Society of BC has made to expand treatment access and support in BC and around the world through online DBT courses, peer support groups, and other programs.
Trigger warning: The diagnostic criteria for BPD mention about suicide.
Please follow the podcast here or on Instagram so you don’t miss an episode: https://www.instagram.com/a.real.affliction.bpd/
Resources for this episode:
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
Website for the BPD Society of BC: https://www.bpdbc.ca/
You can find the criteria for BPD in the DSM-5 here: https://www.bpdfoundation.org.au/diagnostic-criteria.php

Friday Apr 19, 2024

Why do we need a revolution in the way borderline personality disorder is perceived by the medical field and wider culture? In this first episode of A Real Affliction, host Dr. Cynthia Gralla introduces the interview podcast and her upcoming guests, shares some of her experiences from her decades-long fight with BPD, and explains what needs to change if we are to better support people with this wildly misunderstood disorder.
Trigger warning: This episode talks about suicide.
Resources for this episode:
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources. 
You can find the criteria for BPD in the DSM-5 here
Ron B. Aviram et al., “Borderline Personality Disorder, Stigma, and Treatment Implications”
Caroline Walker Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women
Anne Boyer, The Undying
Rebecca Byerly’s NYT article about a marathon runner with BPD
Georges Didi-Huberman, Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpêtrière
Sara Rose Masland and Hannah E. A. Peeples, “People with BPD Need Compassion Yet Even Clinicians Stigmatise Them”
Sara Masland et al., “Destigmatizing Borderline Personality Disorder: A Call to Action for Psychological Science”
Marie Ociskova et al., “F*ck Your Care If You Label Me! Borderline Personality Disorder, Stigma, and Self-stigma”
Christina Vanvuren, “The History of Hysteria: Sexism in Diagnosis”
Simone Weil, “Human Personality”

Wednesday Apr 03, 2024

The trailer for A Real Affliction: BPD, Culture, and Stigma introduces this interview podcast about borderline personality disorder and features clips from guests Ellis Amdur (a writer and psychotherapist), Jessie Shepherd (a licensed counselor and author of Millie the Cat Has Borderline Personality Disorder), Paula Tusiani-Eng (co-founder of Emotions Matter), Baylie McKnight (co-founder of the BPD Society of British Columbia), and Dr. Sara Masland (a researcher, clinical psychologist, and professor at Pomona College).

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A Real Affliction: BPD, Culture, and Stigma

My line-up of guests includes Jessie Shepherd, author of Millie the Cat Has Borderline Personality Disorder; Dr. Sara Masland, a leading researcher of BPD and how stigma creates barriers to care; Paula Tusiani-Eng and Baylie McKnight, co-founders of Emotions Matter and the BPD Society of British Columbia, two non-profits supporting people with the disorder; videogame designer and mental health Plushie Dreadfuls creator American McGee; Dr. Jessica Peters, a researcher who studies the relationship between BPD and the menstrual cycle; Merri Lisa Johnson, author of Girl in Need of a Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality; Courtenay Stallings, author of Laura’s Ghost: Women Speak About Twin Peaks; Nina Shope, author of Asylum, a historical novel about 19th-century hysteria; psychotherapist Ellis Amdur; and bioethics expert Lucy Yanow. If you have experience or expertise that would fit the podcast’s focus and would like to be interviewed, please feel free to reach out to me at cynthiagrallabooks@gmail.com.

I'm a writer and teacher with a history of BPD, and I'm currently writing a memoir about living with the disorder. I'm the author of The Floating World (Ballantine) and The Demimonde in Japanese Literature (Cambria Press), and I've published fiction and nonfiction in Michigan Quarterly Review, The Mississippi Review, Salon, Electric Literature, Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, and many other publications. I earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and teach literature and writing at the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University.

 

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