This is a vivid, stirring, deeply informative book about coming to terms with a mother with a devastating mental illness. Kathy Ewing writes with grace, generosity and—always—heartstopping candor.—Marian Sandmaier, author of Original Kin: The Search for Connection Among Adult Sisters and Brothers and The Invisible Alcoholics: Women and Alcohol
Compelling and beautifully written.—Barbara Finn, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Menlo Park, California
I never understood why my mother, who died in 1995, was so unhappy; why she wanted to be the unluckiest, poorest person in the room; why she was so closed off, so harsh, so absent. When I had children of my own, her dismissive comments and coldness seemed even more troubling and inexplicable. I wanted to understand her and hoped ultimately to forgive her.
Then, in helping a friend diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, I made the connection: I began to suspect that my mother had had BPD. Missing describes how my father’s physical illness—he became a paraplegic in the early ’50s—may have triggered my mother’s BPD. It shows how learning about BPD has helped me understand, and ultimately forgive, my mother’s enigmatic and frustrating behavior.
Searching for information about BPD, I have read a great many academic tomes and a few reader-friendly volumes, but I found no memoirs specifically about mothers with BPD. Now, I hope my book helps fill that gap for others.
BPD is still relatively unknown, compared to depression and schizophrenia, but it is on the increase. A recent Time article calls BPD our age’s “signature crack-up illness.” It cites a recent study estimating that 18 million Americans suffer from BPD, over three times the number of Alzheimer’s patients (and more than double the number I found when I first began researching two years ago). O Magazine featured BPD in August, 2005—a sign that BPD is coming out of the shadows. These sad statistics, I believe, indicate a growing market for books about BPD.
In addition, a profound stigma is attached to the disorder. My book attempts to demystify BPD and to dispel many misunderstandings about this mental illness. Family members as well as sufferers will find Missing to be a compassionate introduction to the disorder and a useful source for discussion with therapists and support groups.
I am currently seeking a publisher or literary agent for Missing.