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.
I’m going to make a somewhat embarrassing admission. Well, it would be embarrassing if most people did not already know it about me. Ever since I was a wee gal, I have wanted to be famous. Specifically, a famous writer. Sure, I have entertained fantasies of being a rock star, or an Oscar-winning actress. On my especially bad days, I’ve contemplated what it would be like to be an infamous serial killer. But my dream has pretty consistently been rich famous writer.
I know, it’s a very difficult dream. Especially when you add the “rich” in there. I think it may actually be easier to gain recognition as a writer than it is to a make a comfortable living as a writer. But dreams are dreams. For better of for worse, we all have our big shiny pie-in-the-sky aspirations. Being a famous writer is mine–don’t get me wrong. I definitely have other motivations for writing what I’m writing these days. Reporting on stigmatized populations is not the most surefire route to fame or fortune…regardless of the practicality though, I’ve had big dreams since childhood.
I have not yet accomplished my dream of being a rich famous writer, in case you were wondering. But I have accomplished some success with my writing, which is a start! Betty’s Battleground was recently ranked number 26 on Feedspot’s list of top 75 PTSD blogs! HealthyPlace, which I also write for, was ranked #2. Pretty sweet! Writing for VICE was definitely a bucket list item; I just turned in my third assignment for their health sciences channel. I’ve had two widely circulated articles on Vox, both of which landed my subsequent radio spots. One of them showed up in my treatment counselor’s inbox as the title post for a mental health & addiction e-newsletter. I’m paying my half of the rent with my writing. Interesting people with blue checks by their names are following me on Twitter. There are still no guarantees on that fame, but it looks like I’m on the road to some form of success.
Problem is, this all doesn’t feel half as awesome as I expected it to. And it’s definitely because of my damn PTSD.
I 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?