Fame, Fortune, and PTSD: Am I Enjoying My Success?

What is it like for someone with PTSD to experience success? Find out on bettysbattleground.com

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.

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Relationships: A PTSD Post-Valentine’s Day Special

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Hey readers, here is a special post-Valentine’s Day treat. You get to learn all about relationships, and just how extra screwy they get when dealing with PTSD!

I don’t really participate in Valentine’s Day. I consider Valentine’s Day to be an invented holiday, one which both upholds and is upheld by capitalism; one which aims to make the single and the poor feel inadequate, and encourages the wealthy and coupled to spend.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I had fun helping my daughters craft glittery, sticker-crowded paper hearts for each other, but that is about as Valentinesy as I get.  My husband spent the evening of the 14th cooking meals for other couples (and probably making bank in tips), and I messed around on social media and Netflix after putting the girls to bed.

Nonetheless, there’s been a lot of social media talk about Valentine’s Day.  And a lot of pink, heart-shaped decorations everywhere.  It is not really possible to both live within society and completely ignore Valentine’s Day.  So, while I did not particularly celebrate, or want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the atmosphere this week has me thinking about relationships.

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The Sick Week: A Tale of Effluvia

The Sick Week: A Tale of Effluvia www.bettysbattleground.com

For impoverished mothers living with PTSD, most blessings are oddly shaped and paltry.  This week, my first blessing came in the guise of my in-laws being here for the first and worst day that I acquired the stomach virus which my daughters lovingly brought home.

But let’s rewind.

The Sick Week began with Penelope, my youngest daughter.  She got the virus first.  I discovered she was sick when I was giving the sisters a bath.  I discovered she was sick by scent.  The scent of diarrhea.  Penelope, not yet two, is known to poop in the bath on occasion.  So, upon smelling feces, I immediately looked to her rump.  I saw no telltale caca blob floating in her vicinity and attributed the stench to a fart.  Nonetheless, I figured a true poop was coming, and turned to gather the towels.  I heard a second fart ripple through the water.  I turned, quick, ready to snatch the girls out if there was fecal matter, and was momentarily stilled by what I saw.  Floating behind my youngest daughter was a thin, translucent waft of light brown smudge.  It hung there for a moment, turning slightly like a leaf adrift in a breeze, before thinning, shaping tendrils in the drift, and then undulating toward the drain in diarrhea-jellyfish formation.

Then it was gone.  As though it had never been.  But for the lingering stench.  I realized that this is what had happened before, except the first time I had missed the ghost-poop-jellyfish.  So I snatched the girls out, wrapped them in towels, and began to drain the tub as quickly as possible.  Of course, as I was bending over to pull out the cloth we use to plug the drain, Penelope, my littlest one, my sweetie-pie, ran to their room, lay tummy-down on the floor before the foot of her bed and, little butt raised high in the air, completed her diarrhea.

This time it was not so mesmerizing.  This time it was projectile, and across the carpet, and the backboard of her bed, and pooling in the Mrs. Potato Head hairpiece that was under her bed.

This was the beginning of the Sick Week.

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