Dr. Marsha Linehan, long best known for her ground-breaking work with a new form of psychotherapy called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), has let out her own personal secret — she has suffered from borderline personality disorder. In order to help reduce the prejudice surrounding this particular disorder — people labeled as borderline often are seen as attention-getting and always in crisis — Dr. Linehan told her story in public for the first time last week before an audience of friends, family and doctors at the Institute of Living, the Hartford clinic where she was first treated for extreme social withdrawal at age 17, according to The New York Times.
At 17 in 1961, Linehan detailed how when she came to the clinic, she attacked herself habitually, cut her arms legs and stomach, and burner her wrists with cigarettes. She was kept in a seclusion room in the clinic because of never-ending urge to cut herself and to die.
Since borderline personality disorder was not discovered yet, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and medicated heavily with Thorazine and Librium, as well as strapped down for forced electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Nothing worked.
So how did she overcome this tragic beginning?