Kiera Van Gelder

Kiera Van Gelder, MFA, is a writer, artist, and educator diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

She attended Groton School, Bard College, Empire State College and Emerson College, though she only graduated from half of those.

An international mental health activist, she is featured in the documentary "Back From the Edge: Living with and Recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder," produced by the award-winning Lichtenstein Creative Media. Her poetry, fiction and essays have been published in numerous literary and mental health journals.

Currently she lives at a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center in Massachusetts and is at work on her second memoir, I'm Not a Sex Addict, You Are.

On a personal note

Kiera is one of the most amazing people I know. I admire her writing as well as who she is personally. I've only met Kiera once and that was for a week or two when we were first discussing the idea of ongoing DBT work (meaning finding a way to stay involved with DBT to help ourselves be accountable for our behavior.) Our idea of peer-led groups hasn't worked very well, but we have both continued on in our own ways.

As you'll be able to see, Kiera has a book coming out in July of 2010 about her experience as a  BPD 'consumer' (don't you hate that word?). The direction she took after our meeting turned out to be working extensively with NAMI. She became an advocate for people with BPD, and later it became a full-time job. Sometimes she makes my head spin with her energy and progress. Her personality is perfect for being a very public person. She's friendly, articulate, genuine and really puts people at ease.

Buddha and the Borderline

Buddha and The Borderline Reviews

Coming Out as Borderline

Middle Path visual definition of DBT


Don't get me wrong. It hasn't been easy. Like myself, Kiera was diagnosed with BPD and spent many years in the 'throws' of challenging her behaviors using DBT. It's not as if we did five years of DBT training and then we were cured. Just like everyone else diagnosed with this disorder, we continue to struggle, but much less so than before.

Thus, she is to be admired even more by the fact that she is doing all that she has done while still coping BPD. So go ahead and shoot for the moon! That's what Kiera did. She attests to the absolute validity of Marsha Linehan's phrase. Everyone one of us is capable of 'living a life worth living' and more.
- Lisa

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