Monday, October 3, 2016

Book Nook: Her

I recently had a chance to review the book "Her," a rather interesting book that helps bring to life the complex mental illness known as Borderline Personality Disorder. The perspective of the book, as well as the way the story is told, really get the reader into the mind of a character that struggles with mental illness.

I had a chance to interview the author, Felicia Johnson, to learn more about Borderline Personality Disorder and the book.

Q. Why did you write this book?
A. I wrote this book not evening knowing that I was writing a book at first. When I was fifteen years old I lost my best friend to suicide. She struggled with BPD. At the time, I didn't know what BPD was. I struggled with Bipolar Disorder and I used to think that they were the same thing. I kept journals and wrote about my friend and what it was like to know her. She was most best friend I had ever had so I never wanted to forget her. I wrote all about her, from the color of her eyes to what it was like to know her, her friendship and life all the way through to her death and how it effected me. When I started college, I wanted to study Clinical Psychology and learn more about mental health issues, especially about BPD. All of the books I had read were text books. There wasn't anything available at the time that really put me into the mind of someone who struggled with BPD. I couldn't get the real raw emotion or feeling. I looked back at my journals I had written along with notes I had taken in school and I began to write my own book about a girl who struggles with BPD based on the life of my late best friend and my own survival through domestic violence/child abuse. What was born, is a book that really takes the reader into the mind of someone who struggles with mental health issues. It is real, raw and deeply emotional. It is a story that is written in fiction to tell a story that people can relate to with the heart of a text book to help educate people not only those who have BPD, but for their friends, families and loved ones to gain a better understanding.

Q. How does Borderline Personality Disorder affect a person?
A. In my experience, I had a best friend who had BPD. Although, she lost her battle by committing suicide, it effected me deeply as her friend. I loved her because she was a good, loyal and kind friend to me. She showed me what true friendship is by accepting me for who I am. I did the same with her. It hurt a lot when Holly took her life. But she did leave me with a lifetime of memories that I'll never forget. She was my first friend after my own abuse had ended. She was the first person of my peers who told me that I was not alone. 

Q. What are some things people should know if they have a friend or family member with Borderline Personality Disorder?
A. Friends, families and loved ones of people who have BPD should know that it is important to be supportive. This is necessary for anyone who deals with mental health issues. Support, patience and love is needed for recovery. It gets hard before it gets easier. Therefore, hang in there together. You are not alone.

Q. Why are mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder still so misunderstood?
A. BPD can be misunderstood when there is a lack of education and resources to help people in their recovery. It is easy to say things like "get over it", "be happy", and "just stop it". Those are the wrong things to say. If it was that easy to do those things, people who deal with mental health issues would do just that! I encourage people to educate themselves, receive and give support to those in need and share and connect with others who are in similar situations. This way, you don't feel alone or like all hope is lost. This goes for not only those who have mental health issues but their friends, colleagues, and families as well.

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