Sue Callori needs only to glance at her arms to remember the tools she uses when the going gets tough. On her right arm her tattoos read: “Challenge your thoughts,” “Radical acceptance,” and “Distraction,” and on her left: “This too shall pass.”
BPD is a condition characterized by an unstable self-image and a pervasive pattern of impulsive behavior, volatile emotions, and tumultuous relationships. The disorder is frequently misdiagnosed.
Callori is well-aware how difficult it is to receive a correct personality disorder diagnosis. For 17 years, she struggled with depression and anxiety.
At one point, she was told she had bipolar disorder. A severe case of Lyme disease added to her distress. She cycled in and out of programs and hospitals, took many medications over the years, and even had several courses of electroconvulsive therapy.
While she had periods of relief, they didn’t last long. “I finally hit the wall and decided I would do one more thing before I decided life wasn’t worth living,” she said.
A Correct Diagnosis and Top-Notch Treatment at Last
In the course of her research, Callori learned about The Pavilion at McLean, a residential program offering comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and treatment. It was there she received the BPD diagnosis and it fit, she said.
“I had the symptoms: depression, anxiety, feelings of abandonment, difficulty socializing, and lots of personality conflicts with people.” After her two-week stay at The Pavilion, it was recommended that she seek treatment at the Gunderson Residence, an all-female program specializing in BPD and other personality disorders. She agreed.
The program changed her life. And to show her gratitude, for the past six years, she has donated a sizable portion of every paycheck to McLean. But more on that later.