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#SAWCMHA - A Client's Perspective on BPD

This year is one of the toughest challenges some of us may face as we learn to juggle our mental health, our work, our family, and our life in the new ‘normal’. People have lost their jobs, unemployment is at an all-time high, and 59% of Americans are one paycheck away from being homeless according to a survey done in 2019 by Charles Schwab

COVID does not discriminate and it does not have a time clock. We’ve all been challenged this year. That statement especially holds true for Michelle, a former resident at the Delonis Center. 

Throughout her life, Michelle has survived through family trauma, alcoholism, borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety, and an attempt to take her own life. In 2015, after losing her beloved nephew, her mental health deteriorated and she quietly suffered alone.

After hospitalization for her suicide attempt, she ended up at the Delonis Center where she received housing assistance and her mental illness was given a name: Borderline Personality Disorder. 

Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is defined by as:

“…a serious mental illness that centers on the inability to manage emotions effectively. The disorder occurs in the context of relationships: sometimes all relationships are affected, sometimes only one. It usually begins during adolescence or early adulthood. While some persons with BPD are high functioning in certain settings, their private lives may be in turmoil. Most people who have BPD suffer from problems regulating their emotions and thoughts, impulsive and sometimes reckless behavior, and unstable relationships.”

During her time at the Delonis Center, Michelle found herself starting to understand and recognize her disorder. “I would see myself in other people,” Michelle said, “I would see the anger, the lashing out, the hurt behind the words and I would tell myself, ‘you can do better, you need to do better!’” 

So she did. Michelle continued to work hard to get back on her feet. She learned how to deal with grief. She went to college to eventually help others just like herself. 

BPD is manageable. Borderline Personality Disorder is more common than most people think. According to these statistics:

“(BPD) affects 5.9% of adults (about 14 million Americans) at some time in their life, as well as 50% more people than Alzheimer’s disease and nearly as many as schizophrenia and bipolar combined (2.25%). BPD has historically met with widespread misunderstanding and blatant stigma. However, evidenced-based treatments have emerged over the past two decades bringing hope to those diagnosed with the disorder and their loved ones.” 

Michelle has been a pinnacle of hope for not only herself, but other clients who have walked through the doors of the Delonis Center suffering from undiagnosed BPD. She’s also consciously become an advocate for mental health awareness and homelessness. 

“The Delonis Center staff gave me another chance when I was all out of options,” Michelle said. “I truly don’t think I would be where I am today without them.”

If you or someone you know may be struggling with mental illness, please reach out to the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or

For more information on Borderline Personality Disorder visit these resources:

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