Today, I have the honor of publishing an interview with her about parenting with PTSD. I hope you enjoy her open honesty and quiet, powerfully direct way of communicating. I certainly do! One thing is different this time: I’ll be publishing all of her answers here. I’m just too terrible at keeping up with the newsletter, obviously. I still owe you the bonus answers from the past three months so you’ll get those, but from here on out these surveys will be published complete. You should still subscribe though, because I have some pretty amazing surprises coming up and you don’t want to miss them!
I also want to briefly draw attention to a past featured mama and guest writer here: Brandi Kennedy. Brandi’s beautiful family is struggling right now, and as a result she’s holding a fundraiser to try to make ends meet. I’ve been in that place before and it’s not a great feeling. If you know what it feels like to be unable to provide everything your family needs on your own, despite trying your best, I hope you’ll consider making even a modest donation to her fundraiser.
October is coming to a close, which means the holidays are getting started. Soon, we will all be in the thick of it. For those of us in recovery from addiction and/or mental illness, the holidays can be notoriously difficult. It’s not just the fact that alcohol appears at many holiday gatherings. Holidays are also typically associated with family gathering and bonding, which can be a touchy subject for those of us with addiction or mental illness histories.
Mental illness is so heavily stigmatized in our society that if you have anything but the most well-educated, open-minded, and compassionate family members, you have probably experienced some share of stigmatizing from the people who are supposed to protect you. Even if your family is lovely, your own erratic behavior during an active addiction or symptomatic flare-up may cause you to feel shame and embarrassment, whether or not your family did anything to contribute to those feelings.
Relapse doesn’t just mean taking drugs or drinking alcohol. It can also mean relapsing into a dangerous depressive episode, mania, or other symptoms of your condition that were in remission. It would be impossible to specifically address every single potential holiday trigger for every single mental illness. Instead, I’ve put together a list of ways to avoid having a major breakdown during the holiday season. It doesn’t matter what holiday it is–this can even be applied during your birthday–any time when you have extra social, familial, financial, and emotional stressors burdening you is dangerous. Hopefully applying some of these tips can help.
Today’s guest post comes from a young man who has gone through addiction and come out the other side. But he writes today to remind us that sometimes the “other side” is not as clear-cut as we may believe. Complacency can creep up on a person in recovery without her even realizing it. It’s something we all need to watch out for, and I think that counts for people in any kind of recovery, not just addiction. Don’t get too comfortable, because that’s where relapse hides.
One thing I’d like to note is that I enjoy sharing posts from people from a range of perspectives. Mental illness and recovery are umbrellas that cover many different experiences and perspectives. Sometimes I may not fully agree with everything a guest blogger has written, and that’s okay. Respectful disagreement is part of what makes this world so fascinating.
I’m not making this disclaimer because I don’t agree with the subject of Parker’s article. But he does make some references to Twelve Step programs. Personally, I have a bit of a vendetta against Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. Mostly because of their stance on medication (which is, essentially, don’t use it) but also because they pressure people to speak in religious or spiritual terms, to give up their own power over their recovery, and to permanently label themselves as “addicts.” But that’s just my opinion! If you think differently, I urge you to leave your thoughts in the comments.
Parker’s pragmatic, yet introspective take on substance abuse recovery bridges the gap between science and firsthand experience. He hopes to reach the struggling and the recovering addict where they are at through his writing and communication skills. Parker is currently the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Ambrosia in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.