Parenting with Mental Illness: Sheila (CPTSD+Bipolar Affective Disorder)

Parenting with Mental Illness, a feature interview series on

It’s Monday, and today Monday means yesterday was Mother’s Day, and now it’s over.

Is anyone else glad about that?

Don’t get me wrong…it wasn’t a bad Mother’s Day…my husband made me fancy-ingredient gourmet waffles and changed (most of) all the diapers; my mom and son came over for Cuban congri and yuca (and pork, for them) that didn’t quite match up to what my Abuelita would have made, but it had the general flavor. So overall it was nice.

Vegan yum on

Some grubber with chubby fingers can’t wait for strawberries

I don’t want to ramble too much on a post that really isn’t about me, but let’s just say that holidays in general give me problems, and holidays in which I am the sole or partial focus give me even greater problems. So externally, it was actually very nice, but interally, I still had a difficult and depressing weekend. I’ll miss the gourmet meals and lack of poop cleaning, but I won’t miss the soul-sucking, vertiginous depression.

Sweet moment with Mama and son on

Happy Mother’s Day <3

Today we continue the celebration of mothers with Sheila from Parallel Dichotomy. You may also remember her as the author of the Trauma Informed Care piece I ran earlier. In that piece she talked about a positive model for trauma treatment. In this one, she gets more personal, discussing what it’s like to parent after trauma.

Sheila has been through a lot of really serious trauma. Trauma can’t be quantified by length of experience-we hear that all the time-but I do think the fact that most of her life has been in an abusive environment plays a factor in the extent of her trauma. She struggles a lot, understandably, but in this interview she also demonstrates a host of coping skills and the ability to talk about her experience in a cogent, intelligent manner. I was able to relate to a lot of her answers (a lot), but something I could not relate to was the level of self-support she has, and most especially, the level of outside support she has.

As a society, we applaud trauma survivors who care for themselves; who pick themselves up and heal and get themselves to the place where they can feel and behave and react appropriately. And that’s a great place to aspire toward…but I think it’s really important to remember that as much personal strength and toil it takes the survivor to get there, and as much as she does deserve accolades when she does and while she tries, it also takes a lot of outside support. There is a huge difference in outcome between trauma survivors who have caring, sustained support, and those of us who don’t.

In this interview we see the struggles of a woman who has experienced much, much more than her fair share of hardship, and who is still learning how to be a mom while caring for herself properly. We also get a glimpse as to how trauma survivors should be supported. Hopefully, reading this will help people understand the importance of support in healing; as well as the need for compassion towards mothers who have experienced trauma.

Meet Sheila on

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Blogger Recognition Award-2017 has been nominated for The Blogger Recognition Award 2017!

Once again Maria, the mama with PPD who I interviewed last month, has proven herself to be a rare and amazing new friend.

I woke up from a nap on Friday evening, loaded on antibiotics and cough medicine, and did what I always do after waking: compulsively looked for blog comment notifications in my e-mail. And what did I find but a comment on my post “Why Did You Leave?” from Maria nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award!! It could not have come at a better time…I also recently attended the King County/4 Culture Poetry on Buses Launch Party as a celebrated poet! If you ride public transit in King County, keep an eye out for my poem “Words for Robin,” or just read it on that website I linked up thurr on February 23, 2018. That’s a while from now, but TODAY,  I’ve got the Blogger Recognition Award to share with you! It’s been just a little over three months since I started blogging and already I am being nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award. Wow. What a wonderful way to wake up.

Now, the Blogger Recognition Award is not, you know, something which involves a trophy and a big ceremony (although wouldn’t that be great; if we could all meet together in person and give each other ceremonious hugs and laptop shaped trophies to lug through airport security, haha) but it is a way for one blogger to say to another blogger: “I read what you write, I see how hard you work, and I appreciate you.” There is no gaudy trophy in this world that can replace the feeling of being appreciated. So, thank you, Maria, for nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award and showing me that my words, and I, matter.

Let’s see what this is all about.

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