Angela Klein sits in the closet of her home, trying to calm down from anxiety after her children left for a theater rehearsal. She was recently diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, but she has struggled her entire life. "I think I kept up the appearance of being really stable, even in my own mind, until two years ago maybe," she told photographer Matthew Busch in 2014. "Maybe a little bit longer. But then it was like life sort of felt like it was getting too heavy and I was crumbling. And then definitely a lot of things were going on inside of me that people didn't see."
Klein's daughter Lauryn checks in on her after she went to her bedroom. Klein and her husband have four children.
Klein keeps a razor in her purse in case she feels the need to cut herself. From an early age she has been harming herself, but she told Busch she hasn't done it since Thanksgiving.
Klein rubs lotion on her superficial wounds after she cut herself one night. In an interview later, she told Busch: "I had felt this rising up of ... I was going to explode from anxiety, and it was going to come out. So after that I think I just felt a release of calmness. But then of course all this guilt."
Klein's husband, Jeff, tries to snap her out of a dissociative episode. During these flashbacks, she relives a trauma from her childhood. She becomes fearful and disconnected from reality, and she does not recognize Jeff. He tries to bring her out of it by asking her to say his name, and by placing cold objects in her hands. Stimuli that are disconnected from her flashback help to bring her out of it. Usually the flashbacks occur at night when she's sleeping, but this time it came while the couple were in their living room.
Klein and her son Grant share a joke at a chemistry class they took together at a community college. Klein said she received poor care from a number of nurses during her time in treatment, and she vowed that she would work toward becoming one herself so she could help others in her condition.
While at work, Jeff receives a text from his wife about an earlier argument they had. He told Busch that sometimes their ordinary arguments can escalate quickly because of miscommunication. He said that he's had to rethink how he approaches some issues.
Klein and Lauryn laugh together during a trip to the mall.
Klein tears up in the car as she hears a story on the radio about the plight of sex workers overseas. "Angela doesn't let go of her empathy when she hears about the struggles of others; she connects to it and to them," Busch said. "Her emotional range can go from self-destructive to engaging and compassionate."
Klein, second from right, talks to another member of her church.
Klein attended a residential treatment center for two months. At the end of an alumnae retreat, they burn pieces of paper where they had written down things they want to let go of.
Klein and her husband joke with their son Grant at a local burger joint.