I'd been receiving treatment for depression in the form of antidepressants for nearly ten years. I'd seen four different psychodynamic councillors in that time and the experience had offered me little relief. In November 2018 I experienced one of my worst ever lows which resulted in a proper assessment with a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with what I finally felt was an accurate diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Only after receiving an accurate diagnosis was I able to seek the correct type of therapy for my condition - that being DBT. My internet research soon revealed that DBT is not widely available in the UK which left me feeling very despondent. It was after I'd given up hope of finding a DBT therapist when I was randomly googling "what's going on inside the BPD brain" that I stumbled across an article Kevin had written which led me to his website. I arranged a free Skype consultation with him which I was nervous about after so many unsuccessful counselling experiences previously. But this time was different. Kevin immediately put me at ease with his friendly, informal, down-to-earth nature. Kevin's first hand experience of living with BPD is totally invaluable as it enables him to be completely non-judgemental and truly empathetic. One of the things I find the hardest about BPD is the lack of understanding from others (even those who love and care for you and who try their hardest to understand) and the mental loneliness this brings. Having Kevin on hand to speak to either as a regular 'top-up' or ad hoc when in crisis without having to explain the whys and wherefores of your emotions and actions makes you feel immediately understood, less alone and at peace. I would go so far as to say that along with many years of my own interest and research into psychology, challenging my depression diagnosis, some realisations about my relationship with my father and receiving an accurate BPD diagnosis, meeting Kevin has changed the course of my life for good. With Kevin's help I'm more able to manage my triggers, emotions, behaviours and stress at work allowing me to stay in employment. I'm more equipped to keep toxic people at a safe distance. Most notable of all, I've been able to obtain and sustain a healthy, loving relationship with a wonderful new boyfriend who fully supports and encourages my sessions with Kevin as he sees the benefit first hand. I still have moments of overwhelming hopelessness when life seems too hard to keep going but the skills I've learned with Kev help me to cope with those feelings (in a healthy way), ride the wave and come out the other side to continue my life which I now feel is worth living.
Hari, Bristol, 2019
By the time I reached out to Kevin I was in a state of desperation. Everyday I lived with unbearable levels of pain. All I wanted was some peace but my emotions made it feel impossible I'd seen multiple therapists, tried different medications, but still no relief. As a result of constant invalidation, I became emotionally unstable. My behaviours were out of control. I destroyed or self-sabotaged a lot of relationships. I lost my sense of self, and felt like I no longer knew how to communicate not only with other people but even with myself. Speaking with Kevin was a godsend for the first time in my life I felt validated. He understood me, and furthermore made me realise that it's ok to be 'good enough'. I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, or have the perfect family, if we are getting on with each other that's good enough for me. Kevin taught me so many skills, from how to handle intense emotions, to being mindful of distress; even the simple act of taking care of physical illness, or going out and having fun. It was like I needed permission, or at least someone to tell me I needn't feel guilty. Kevin helped me with all of this. I'm happy now: Yes I still have days were I feel intense pain. I think that's inevitable if you're an emotionally intense person. Nevertheless, life is so much better, I can't thank Kevin enough, he taught me a lot and now my life is so much better.
Janet, Atlanta, 2019
I reached out to Kevin after reading some of his articles on Medium, I was impressed with his knowledge but more importantly his own lived experience of crisis and recovery gave me the courage to pursue a life worth living. I saw that if he could 'recover' from intense emotions, and overwhelming distress I could too. It wasn't easy, I live in Bosnia and there's no help for these types of problems. I was living within a broken family, marked by violent fights and confrontations, I was struggling with employment due to high anxiety, at one point I was agoraphobic and was having difficulty leaving the house. Talking things through with Kevin was so helpful. Firstly we were able to problem-solve solutions to very real problems. For example, he helped me figure out how to approach job-hunting even though my area of work is quite niche. Secondly he taught me workable skills; so when I was scared to leave the house, using 'opposite action' allowed me to challenge my anxiety and fight back. Finally the module on mindfulness is invaluable, when your burning up with suffering, you want to run away from your demons, or chase them down instead. Kevin taught me just by stopping and observing, the pain would pass on it's own accord. Of course my problems haven't gone away, nevertheless I'm much better equipped to deal with them. Kevin's Skills training programme, has given me a toolbox which I can take with me wherever I go. So no matter how bad it gets, I'll always have something to fall back on. There's still work to be done, but I now believe I am healing, and I'm healing because he taught me to be my own healer. Sometimes you need that helping hand. When my life fell apart, I contacted Kevin and together we found a way forward
Felix, Berlin, 2018
When I was younger I suffered a lot of abuse; as a result in adulthood I was torn up by intense overwhelming distress. I felt broken, I felt unlovable, like I couldn't have relationships. Everytime I got close to someone, I self-sabotaged, or was too full-on so they backed away. I guess the reason I needed a relationship, because my sense of self was so weak. Kevin helped me with this. I was able to reconstruct my story. That meant looking at my memories (gently) and where possible rescripting them: If I could how would I have changed this situation. I was also able to learn emotional regulation skills; some were simple. For example, the ABC skills of Accumulating positive experiences, building mastery, and coping ahead had clear targets. Others like opposite action, required a lot of thought. I had to unravel a lot of myths, discard interpretations and realign myself to the facts. It was hard but overtime I made progress. Sometimes, I really felt on the brink of chaos, the distress tolerance skills helped me survive. I didn't make it worst. In fact I 'surfed the urge' and radically accepted suffering, turning the mind over and over to acceptance. Finally Kev helped me build some new relationships. I don't have a partner, right now, but I'm at least talking to people. I'm going out, trying to make friends using the new skills I have to build bridges. I believe now that I am on the right path. I feel resilient. I feel that life is worth living. It's going to take some time, but I think I'm on my way to recovery. I want to thank Kevin so much for being the most wonderful, kind and empathetic coach, and a coach whose skills, matched with his own experiences, made such a difference. With resilience coaching you can get better. This isn't the life I wanted, but with skills training I created a life worth living.
Elly, Leeds, 2019