Parenting with Mental Illness: Andolina (Major Depressive Disorder)

Meet Andolina-on bettysbattleground.com

Parenting with Mental Illness, a feature interview series on bettysbattleground.comI am honored to introduce Andolina as this month’s Parenting with Mental Illness interviewee. She’s a beautiful young mother who lives with Major Depressive Disorder and moderate anxiety. She also lost her father to suicide. I can only imagine what that kind of loss is like,¬†and I thank her for her sharing her story here on Betty’s Battleground. It breaks my heart to hear about yet another woman whose birthday has been ruined possibly forever–this time by a tragic loss.

A person recently left a very interesting comment on my blog post about forgiving our loved ones who commit suicide. She (I’m actually not sure of the person’s gender, but am using “she” for the sake of clarity) noted that she had lost her spouse to suicide several years back. Then she asked me to re-write my post to exclude the term “commit suicide.” She informed me that there is now a movement to have people say “died by suicide” rather than “commit suicide,” due to negative connotations associated with the word commit, and the idea that suicide is an act for which the victim is not culpable.

I’m familiar with these kinds of language movements. There’s one also in place around the word “addict,” for which I’ve had several losing battles with editors on the titles and language within certain of my articles. My problem here is that I’m not sure I agree. I don’t agree that the word commit is inherently negative, nor do I agree that people who attempt suicide have no volition whatsoever. They’re ill, usually, but if we say they have no power, that can be dangerous to people struggling with suicidal ideations. Is our commitment stronger to the living, or the deceased? I do believe we should respect and honor those who lost their lives to suicide. I do believe in awareness. I don’t know how I stand on the language. Will you leave your thoughts in the comments?

And now, Andolina:

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Is Your Obsession With Grammar Hurting Your Writing?

Sometimes, proper grammar makes writing worse. Find out how, and how to avoid it, on bettysbattleground.com

As many of you are already aware, writing is a very important part of my life. If you check out the tagline, this blog isn’t just about PTSD and mental illness, it’s about living and parenting with PTSD. Living and parenting with PTSD means self-care, at least it should. And for me, self-care means devoting time each day to writing.

I’m saying all this, essentially, to justify what may seem like an off-topic post. It might be totally off-topic for you, but for me, and for recent guest writer Brandi Kennedy, writing is very much intertwined with life with PTSD. Today, the aspect of writing I’m going to discuss is grammar, and whether proper grammar equals good writing. If you think the answer is obvious, I urge you to continue reading. You may learn that the issue is not as black and white as we were taught in grade school…

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An Untold Story From 9/11

methadone dosing during 9/11-on bettysbattleground.com

When the first airplane hit the Twin Towers, I was thirteen years old. It was still early in Seattle, and I was getting ready for school. I heard about it on The End, the local angsty rocker radio station. It was still new, the events were still unfolding, and information was patchy. They said New York had been bombed.

I have family in New York, and in bordering parts of New Jersey. Several aunts, and my Abuelita, at the time. So when I heard New York was being bombed, they were the first people I feared for. When the records were corrected, when I learned airplanes had crashed into one targeted area, far from my family, I was relieved. That was the first emotion I felt in response to 9/11. Others would come, but relief and gratitude were my first.

A lot of people lost loves ones during these attacks. Every Muslim-American lost rights and dignities that day for which they still struggle. I don’t know exactly what happened that day. Was it a terrorist attack? Did the government do it? Or if the Bush administration didn’t actually plan the attacks, did they allow the terrorists in? We know for certain that they ignored intel that could have helped prevent or ameliorate the devastation caused. In the end, whatever happened, a lot of families were left irreparably broken, and our country lost the easy hubris upon which we’d built our empire.

Those stories belong to other people. I didn’t lose anyone to the 9/11 attacks. My city wasn’t directly affected; my skyline wasn’t shattered. I was too young to fully feel the impact on the nation, at least at first. The stories of loss and pain and heartbreak are not mine to tell, but while I was researching my recent article on dosing during disasters, Joycelyn Woods, executive director for National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery and long time New Yorker, told me a different kind of 9/11 story, which I’d like to share with you today.

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