Books that have helped me recover

In a previous post I promised to write reviews of all the books that I have read that have helped me in my recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder and also severe depression along with many anxiety problems. Unfortunately, I go through spells when I just can't concentrate on reading at all and that is why I haven't been able to write the in-depth reviews that I hoped to. So, as a compromise, I have decided to create a new page and put up each book as a seperate post. I will write a short description of each and then if anyone has any questions about the book we can have a discussion there. Also if anyone has read the books themselves they can add their thoughts and even further recommendations. I hope that this will become a valuable resource for anyone who is struggling to overcome these illnesses/conditions and a good place to share more ideas in order to help everyone.


  1. The first book I want to talk about is The Highly Sensitive Person - How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron. The reason I wanted to mention this book first is because the trait of sensitivity seems to cause many problems for those with BPD and I often see people on twitter giving themselves a hard time for being 'too sensitive'. I may be wrong (and please let me know if I am) but sensitivity doesn't seem to be discussed a great deal in conventional therapies for BPD. I read a lot of books that helped me before I realised I had BPD, so I think I have a slightly different view of things than a lot of people and hopefully my perspective can help others.

    So, back to the book. Elaine Aron is a psychotherapist, university professor and researcher who has done an enormous amount of work on what has become known as the Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP. There is a test at the beginning of the book with true/false statements such as, "I find myself needing to withdraw during busy days, into bed or into a darkened room or any place where I can have some privacy and relief from stimulation", "I have a rich, complex inner life." and "When I must compete or be observed while performing a task, I become so nervous or shaky that I do much worse than I would do otherwise." She then goes onto discuss the HSP set of traits in detail, citing evidence from her research in order to assure the reader that what they have experienced their whole lives is a valuable asset rather than something to be resented and to feel bad about.

    She talks a great deal about the problems a HSP would have encountered growing up: not being understood by others, being made to feel inadequate, having a sense of 'not fitting in' and developing low self-esteem. The book covers different aspects of life such as relationships, careers, spirituality and parenting. There also sections on reparenting and healing 'deeper wounds'. Additionally, she talks about the issue of attachment in infancy and how that is particularly problematic for HSPs, which of course is highly relevant to BPD. The subject of boundaries in relationships is also covered and why this is also challenging for HSPs, yet another serious BPD issue.

    I found this book extremely helpful in coming to understand myself and accept these aspects of my personality as important and valuable rather than flaws. Benefits of being highly sensitive are things such as being able to pick up on others' moods and feelings and make them feel more comfortable; being able to appreciate all the wonderful subtleties in the world, e.g. in nature, music, art etc.; it is also an important component in creativity and when an HSP is in a good relationship/friendship the sensitivity adds a deeper dimension to that.

    There were a couple of things I didn't like about this book to be balanced, firstly I found the author's tone a little patronising although that's something I'm highly sensitive to in general (ironic much). Also, Dr Aron also seems to have the attitude that HSPs are superior to other people which doesn't sit well with me but it does make a change from being criticised for these traits!

  2. I love the suggested rephrasing of the judgmental thoughts that we can sometimes have as emotionally sensitive people as well as the benefits of being a HSP. Great review, Clare. ♥

  3. Thank you Debbie for your kind feedback :-)