Note to anyone concerned with content:

I received a note from a fellow writer who recently came out of hospital after a long stay during which time she learned she has Borderline Personality Disorder. She read some of Existence and then wrote the following:

"As someone in the early stages of recovering from BPD, I can absolutely vouchsafe that this is a brilliantly realistic look at the world through a Bordeline's eyes. The skill Judy has is such that I couldn't read most of Chapter 2 because it evoked such strong memories of my own dark times - she captured the depth of emotion and the kind of insane thoughts to a T. She has kindly told me which chapters are a bit more light-hearted and manageable for me.....I really wish her well with this book"

Thanks to this woman’s concern, I'm copying here a brief comment on each chapter so hopefully there won’t be unexpected or unpleasant surprises.

There are some minor spoilers.

Chapters One and Two describe the immediate events that lead to the MC, Alex's, spiral down and culminate with a suicide attempt.

Chapters Three and Four launch Alex on the road to recovery as she is psychiatrically hospitalized and begins to develop a relationship with therapist Dr.Frank.

Chapter Five continues in the psychiatric facility where Alex begins to sort out her thoughts and becomes aware that she really does have a mental illness. The realization is the beginning of her recovery.

Chapter Six - Alex makes further inroads in her developing trust in Dr. Frank. She resolves a personality conflict problem with another character in the story, and she begins the process of moving back out into the world, including arranging a new job. This chapter is upbeat until Alex, who spends a couple of nights at her friend, Shari's, house before going back to her apartment, has a major revelation about the roots of her mental health problems. She already knows her mother had a lot to do with her difficulties, but she had buried a horrific memory of one specific abusive incident when she was quite young. It is this incident that is at the root of her phobias. This part of the chapter, beginning when Shari heads off to bed, is a tough couple of pages to read if you don't wish to read a brief, but detailed description of an abusive situation. (It does provide a detailed description of how Alex manages to recover a memory of an early childhood trauma. If you want to read up to, but not including the trauma, stop reading with the paragraph beginning "One afternoon, while I was playing in my fort..." on page 79.)

Chapter Seven - quite a brief chapter, but describes the outrage Alex felt at the betrayal of her trust when she was very young. This chapter also makes it clear that as an adult, reliving the trauma, Alex can, with her adult eyes and mind, rethink what took place. She can understand what happened from a remote perspective, rather than from the perspective of the three-year-old victim. She recognizes that this new awareness of what happened to her is one of the most freeing experiences she has ever had and that it will go a long way toward enabling her to rebuild her world and regain her mental health.

Chapter Eight - Alex quickly learns that her recovered memory is not going to make her instantly well, but it does give her the tools to work with in her efforts to reclaim her life. Her new understanding of the roots of her paranoid phobias enables her to successfully sleep in her own apartment without impossible-to-manage fears interrupting her sleep. She begins her new job in this chapter, which is a positive step forward, and she begins developing a closer relationship with a young man she's been fond of for a long time. She also has her first out-patient appointment with Dr. Frank.

Chapter Nine - this chapter introduces Kim, a Vietnamese refugee with a very painful past. She and Alex discover some common ground and begin a friendship. There's some very painful material in this chapter, as Kim recounts to Alex what happened to her family in Vietnam when she was quite young.

In Chapter Ten we meet Jacqueline Moser, Alex's mother, and Alex learns that a friend is in the hospital.

Chapter Eleven - a real reprieve from the tougher parts of the book, this chapter is mostly devoted to a wild St. Patrick's Day party at the pub where Alex works. Alex also continues to get to know her new sweetheart better.

Chapter Twelve - a few setbacks throw Alex for a loop and she has difficulty handling the pain and stress, not having had much of a chance yet to get her bearings from the first fall. However, to her credit, she deals with the difficulties much more constructively than in the past. Dr. Frank is very supportive, and her knowledge that she can count on him is reaffirmed and strengthened.

Chapter Thirteen - a brief "retreat and regroup" and Alex is ready to launch herself back into the world. With Dr. Frank's help, of course.

Chapter Fourteen - Alex and her friends deal with the death of another friend. A sad chapter, but one with a fair amount of humor, as well. Coping with harsh realities has not been Alex's forte, but she handles this situation well, as well as anyone without mental health problems, and this is a triumph for her. Kim returns in this chapter, too, and arranges an adventure.

Chapter Fifteen - more conversations with Dr. Frank, followed by a confrontation with the perpetrator of the trauma Alex experienced as a young child. A very unexpected (and to my way of thinking, quite satisfying) resolution is arrived at. Additionally, Alex is treated to a rare conversation with someone who has known her mother for decades. This gives Alex a great deal more insight into her volatile relationship with Jacqueline Moser.

Chapter Sixteen closes the two-month window into Alex's world. She is embarking upon a new, positive, and exciting time in her life. With the help of Dr. Frank, the faith she has placed in her close friends, and above all, her commitment to recovery, Alex is on her way to a rewarding, fulfilling life. Something she never dreamed she would have.

Chapter Seventeen - This epilogue, told ten years after the events of the story, catches the reader up on key characters, particularly Alex, who is now living life on her terms.