Why I Write
It's possible that writing saved my life. Born to a mother who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, I spent the majority of my childhood scared, confused and with little emotional support. In my 20's, writing became an integral part of my healing process as the rage, terror, and sadness that my body had held for so long finally had an outlet. For the first time in my life, I began to experience some relief, however, I noticed that the deeper I went into my pain, the darker my writing became.
Fortunately, I was introduced to the writing of Henry Rollins and Anne Lamott. They said out loud the things I had only whispered to myself in the farthest places of my consciousness, hoping no one would hear me. At first, I was shocked by Rollins' raw emotion and in your face way of conveying his experiences, but I quickly recognized a craving inside me for this type of honesty and unedited intensity. Lamott writes about her struggle as an addict, her relationship to God and her experience of being a mother with a mix of candor and self deprecating humor that made me feel less freakish and less alone. Because of their courageous voices, I fell in love with my writing and therefore I fell in love with the most unwanted part of myself.
I am a writer, psycho-spiritual counselor and a certified Reiki practitioner. I recently moved to South Carolina where I am in the process of untangling my nervous system from the pull, the pace and the noise of New York City, my home for the last 14 years. My writing speaks to the different aspects of my life as a parent, as the child of someone with a severe mental illness and as a human being on a journey toward connection in a disconnected world.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Until recently, Borderline Personality Disorder was widely misunderstood, misdiagnosed and rarely spoken about. The friends and families in relationship to people with BPD often suffered in silence, especially the children. At present, there is a treatment developed by Marsha Linehan called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). While I am so grateful for the help that is available to individuals with BPD, I feel it is important that we continue to validate the experience of those in relationship to them and offer support. Many of my essays and poems are written from the lens of a child whose mother suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. I wrote these, not only for myself, but for all children living with a parent who is out of control as a result of addiction or mental illness. For those who continue to suffer, may you find your voice and your light amid the darkness.
To my husband, Lair, who has shown me what is possible with love. Who offered me protection when I had none. Thank you for showing up daily in our relationship with your presence and your heart.
To Julie Winter and Hugo Lilienfeld, who have shared their love, their wisdom, and their presence with me consistently over the past 10 years.
To Jana Johnson, your friendship grounds me. You are so brave and full of light. Even though you're half way around the world, I feel your presence daily.
To the Malloy family, for showing us what family can mean. To Jess Malloy, for telling me to wear shorter shorts so I can show off my "sexy little body". You taught me that a friendship between two women can actually be a safe, noncompetitive place. Beyond that, I have never met someone so beautiful on the outside that is equally or more beautiful on the inside.
To Elaine Millaire, my kindred spirit. Thank you for truly seeing me and for allowing me to see you.
To Kate Parrish of Aimingforokay.com, Jess Davis of FolkRebellion.com, and Missy Patterson of Simply-grateful.com, for their courage to create something unique and special. These three women, without knowing it, were beacons of light that guided me to the completion of this.
Copyright © 2015 by Ashley Torrent