The life of Bea Tusiani, a former Vice President of the PCLI, founder of the Long Island Writer’s Network, freelance writer, and author, was irrevocably changed when her daughter, Pamela, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at the age of twenty.

Photo courtesy of remnantsofalife.com

Photo courtesy of remnantsofalife.com

Borderline personality disorder, more commonly known as BPD, is a psychological disorder that affects impulsivity, instability, interpersonal relationships, and self-image among other things. Pamela suffered her first serious mental breakdown during her junior year at Loyola College. The diagnosis of BPD came as a shock to the Tusiani family and changed the course of their lives over the next three years.

As a way to help others battle through BPD, Bea wrote a book, Remnants of a Life on Paper. The book serves as a reminder of how deeply mental illness affects not only those it has a hold on, but their families as well.

Unlike physical illnesses where parents are encouraged to be part of their child’s care, with mental illness, they are often told to stand back, because they could be part of the problem, says Tusiani. This provokes blame and guilt, despite their very best intentions for the recovery of their child. Families should be viewed as allies, not enemies, in the communication process between the patient and analyst and need support of their own because they will be with their child when the doctors are not.

Chronicling the family’s journey through the diagnosis, symptoms, medication and other healthcare issues during Pamela’s journey, Remnants of a Life on Paper also advocates for those dealing with the disorder to not be afraid and reach out.

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After Pamela’s untimely death, Bea discovered diaries that her daughter had left behind, giving the reader another viewpoint of her journey. Each of the 12 chapters contains excerpts from those diaries, as well as Pamela’s artwork, poetry and inner musings, which gives readers a way to truly understand the battle of a young woman in an unknown world.

Paula and I took Pamela’s diaries and wrote a mother-daughter dialogue to make others aware that personality disorders exist and they start at a young age (adolescence), says Tusiani. We wanted to advise parents to trust their instincts: if their child’s behavior

Photo courtesy of remnantsofalife.com

Photo courtesy of remnantsofalife.com

seems awkward or at times makes them uncomfortable, get her evaluated by a professional. Should the child need long-term treatment, keep her close to home parents are their children’s biggest advocates and may be able to save their lives in an emergency.

Beyond sharing the heartwarming story of the relationship between mother and daughter, Remnants of a Life on Paper also promotes a deeper awareness of BPD, which Tusiani hopes will remind its readers of the obstacles that some in the world face.

Tusiani says, On the one hand, Remnants has given me closure in terms of my daughter’s suffering and loss, but it has also opened the door to start a conversation about a poorly-understood mental illness that has surfaced on the scene in modern times.

To purchase Remnants of a Life on Paper, please visit www.remnantsofalife.com

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