Kiera Van Gelder and Amanda Wang, speakers at the National Alliance for Mentally Ill Convention. They spoke on the “Courageous Women in Recovery” panel.
A few months ago, I wrote about Amanda Wang’s courageous and brilliant project The Fight Within Us, a documentary she is producing to raise awareness about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a condition she was diagnosed with a few years ago. Amanda is training for a Golden Gloves bout, and using that as a living metaphor for the fight she faces each day to manage this challenging and sometimes debilitating mental illness.
I spent time with Amanda at the Public Words Speaker Forum at Harvard, and was so impressed with her desire to make a difference for the 16-18 million estimated people in the world who have BPD.
One of Amanda’s supporters expressed the importance of her message:
My story is simple, really. I am the mom of a daughter diagnosed with BPD. She is 24 years old, beautiful, brilliant, amazing… and so many of the things that you described in your story is so her. She has finally found the courage to work toward a college degree and is doing well… but doubts her ability to ever overcome her “limitations.” She doesn’t acknowledge BPD like you do — she is not currently seeing a therapist and she doesn’t speak freely about it — despite the diagnosis and several sessions attending Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
As for me — I want to see the stigma associated with BPD (especially with some clinicians, who can sometimes take such a fatalistic approach) gone forever. I want to see BPD understood. I want there to be more research. I want my daughter, and all of the other daughters and sons out there to somehow understand their inherent worth and to know the love.
Amanda, you represent a candle in the darkness (not to be cliche, but it’s true). Your hard work toward a very cool goal (Golden Gloves) is inspiring and someday, when she is ready, I want to share your story with my sweet girl. In the meantime, your goals of dialogue across social media about BPD will effect change. I just know it.
All of my clients face doubt and anxiety when launching a project, since that is part of the entrepreneurial journey. Amanda’s experience is magnified by her illness, yet despite that, she puts herself out there in a vulnerable way in order to raise awareness about the cause.
Which is why I think her fight has a powerful message for all of us: acknowledge doubt, feel fear, worry about what people will think of our ideas, and DO IT ANYWAY!
Today, Wednesday, July 28, we would love to get a good buzz going about the project so we can raise the remaining funds to reach the goal by Saturday, July 31.
Here is how you can help:
- Donate to The Fight Within Us on Kickstarter — every single dollar counts! If we get 5,000 people to donate $1 or 1,000 people to donate $5, we will reach the goal. Here is a link to the donation page.
- Post about the project on Facebook and Twitter.
- Let Amanda know if you have people or organizations who would be interested in the message. You can reach her on Twitter @RethinkBPD, or amanda (at) rethinkbpd (dot com).
Regardless of the outcome of this campaign, Amanda has already won.
Thanks so much for your support. May we all find the courage to make a difference in the world.
She did it!!! As of right now (6:09pm Pacific) on the final day of fundraising, Amanda raised $10,614.
Thanks to everyone for your support and generosity. I am inspired!