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To Save a Life, by Pascale Kavanagh


 Forward by Frederic Bien; President of PDAN

Several personality disorders are connected to depression, or have overlaps with it, during the lifetime of an individual. There can be a strong sense of isolation or inadequacy felt by people suffering from ailments, such as avoidant, paranoid, schizoid or schizotypal personality disorders.

 Some of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder include an unstable self-image, often associated with excessive self-criticism, or an impoverished, poorly developed self-image, and chronic feelings of emptiness. For people experiencing borderline personality disorder (BPD), mood disorders are often co-occurring, especially depression or bipolar disorder.

 Co-morbidity of depression (measured over lifetime) has been reported in 60% of BPD cases, and some studies go up to 71% and 83% of cases. ( where MDD = Major Depressive Disorder)

Suicidal ideation has also been associated with personality disorders. BPD, left untreated, is probably responsible for a fair number of suicides.

PDAN is delighted to present this text written by an advocate for depression awareness and a friend, Pascale Kavanagh. If you like this teaser, we recommend you buy the book (link below) which contains the full text of Pascale’s article, as well as 25 other stories of struggle, triumph and transformation from people of different backgrounds and experiences. Every story is different, and steeped in the core path of growth.



To Save a Life…pk side orig bw-3

Except of text by Pascale Kavanagh

The ‘why’ behind the project:

Depression doesn’t target one group or one type.

It isn’t limited to one experience or cause. Depression can be found everywhere. We aren’t always aware of it. People suffering in silence don’t talk about it. But it’s there.

Increasing awareness helps lift that silence. When many are talking about the impact of depression, the need to remain hidden is removed. There is strength in numbers. Increasing awareness provides a safe space to reveal the pain depression brings.

My story:

It was the middle of winter, in Chicago. A group of people had assembled in a cavernous room covered entirely in chocolate brown, for four days of intense personal development. The day’s topic was integrity. I got this, I thought to myself. I had basically written the book on it.

I was utterly prepared when the overly perky instructor asked me what integrity meant to me. I glanced over at the very young lady sitting next to me, who had been gazing at me adoringly, in this ‘I want to be just like you when I grow up’, kind of way. I stood to deliver my painstakingly perfect answer, ready to refer liberally to my extensive work on the topic. And my book.

I had been speaking openly about my soon-to-be published spiritual guidebook, a work of inspiration and beauty, which chronicled my adventures around the world and the many lessons from the mystic traditions I had been studying. I could hear angels sing at the mention of this book. Really.

What no one knew was that there was another book, a secret book. This one held the un-sanitized versions of these same adventures as well as a lifetime of rage, resentment and opinionated, judgmental, hateful despair.

Two books – one, a declaration of righteous living, of wisdom, of love, on which I was so proud to put my name. And the other… everything else, in a juicy, tawdry tome of a true human experience. But this one had to be published under a pen name, so as not to sully my reputation and my standing in the community. Ironically, this was the one everybody was interested in.

The journey to that moment had begun 10 years earlier, when my life hit a messy and painful patch. My father died, my daughter was born and both my career and my marriage became unbearable. I had become so adept at holding up a facade of perfection that no one wanted to hear about the reality of the mess. I wrote as a desperate act in an attempt to save my own life. These words were my therapy, my medicine, my salvation, but they were as dark and ugly as one could imagine. And they were my secret.

Five years later, I began to write publicly, for my community, works of inspiration, of light. I had a solution for every problem, clarity for any issue. Kindness, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude were my themes. I had distilled the human experience into only its positive parts.

Still, beneath it all, ran a torrent of disgust, lust and fear so intense to be nearly all-consuming.

So there I was, on that cold day in Chicago, contemplating integrity, when all I could feel was hypocrisy. I felt the stab of my schism as sharply as a tack under my heel. By openly perpetuating the myth of the holier-than-thou teacher and hiding my life as a human – a woman – I was joining the pretense.

All I could think was no. NO, NO, NO.


Read more

How to help:

To really increase awareness over depression and suicide, we need to reach as many people as possible. We’re glad we were able to reach you. So thank you.

We are serious about wanting to increase awareness. We want to help erase the stigma. We want people who are suffering not to have to suffer in silence. Because even one person suffering in silence is one too many.

We hope you will purchase the book and share it with others . Money generated from the sale of the book, after Amazon’s portion and any applicable taxes are deducted, is being donated to To Write Love On Her Arms.

If you are so inclined, you can also send out an email about this Project. Every email sent helps increase awareness. To make that easy, we have provided some sample emails on the website we created at:

And if you know of someone who wants to help, they can donate directly to To Write Love On Her Arms via our website at:

Thanks in advance for your generous support. Please keep spreading the word. Because each one of us is more impactful than we know!

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