The following is a review by Kathleen Vogtle, Communications Coordinator at the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI):

Remnants of a Life on Paper: A Mother and Daughter’s Struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder

Mental illness is like a ripple on a pond.

The waves are most well-defined and cause the greatest disturbance near their origin, rocking family and friends the hardest even as they maintain a tight cluster around their loved one. As the ripple widens and spreads outward, the waves soften, yet still leave a distinct impression on an untold number of people. The displacement of the water also draws unknown and unpredictable elements to the surface, which may then influence the direction, spread or even the longevity of the ripple.

Bea Tusiani felt this ripple effect first hand when her daughter, Pamela, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Remnants of a Life on Paper: A Mother and Daughter’s Struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder is a moving, impactful account of their family’s journey through symptoms, medication, healthcare issues, government agencies and lawsuits, and in-so-doing, urges others to reach out and seek help.

Remnants of a Life on Paper immediately draws the reader in through its structure. Each of the 12 chapters begins with a series of question-and-answer sessions that took place between Ed Davis, a lawyer, and Pamela’s mother and father, Bea and Michael. These excerpts provide not only a lead-in to each chapter, but also how Bea and Michael’s perceived their daughter’s thoughts and actions at the time and the understanding they gained after the fact.

The content of each chapter is presented in a unique way, with excerpts from Pamela’s diaries—her artwork, poetry and inner musings—alternating with her mother’s recollection and viewpoint on the same [...]