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

Parenting with Mental Illness, a feature interview series on bettysbattleground.com

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 bettysbattleground.com

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 bettysbattleground.com

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 www.bettysbattleground.com

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Fiction Fridays: The Little Girl And The Copier

Fiction Fridays on www.bettysbattleground.com

It’s #FictionFridays number 6, hooray!

As promised last week, I am not going to write a rambling prelude today.
Anyway, this story*is* new..I stayed up way too late last night writing it so be sure to check out this fresh-hot-draft!

I appreciate all the support that I have received since launching Betty’s Battleground last January. Truly, it has been incredible, and meaningful, and helpful.

Fiction is my baby. It’s the thing I loved before I loved any lover. It’s the dream I had before my abuse. Writing these posts is my way of making one day about something I chose for myself, instead of about the choices my abuser made for me.  Because of that, it is really important to me to have the comments focus on the fiction..either the winning story from last week’s prompt contest, my story, or something about the prompt itself. This is why I ask that if you leave a comment on Friday post, please make it related to fiction. That is the best way to be supportive, on FF posts :). If you truly have nothing to say about those things but feel compelled to say something, then please share the post somewhere that will help it be seen by potential contest entrants, and then leave me a comment letting me know where that was!

If you want to comment on one of the stories, but don’t know to give feedback, the “compliment sandwich” is a great guideline. This is how you do it:

-Give a compliment about the story. I like to go specific here and leave a comment about an aspect I liked, ie: “your dialogue is very realistic and convincing.” Try to avoid things like “it was good” or “I liked it.”

-Now, dole out your criticism. Criticism is helpful, but be respectful. A great way to ensure your criticism is helpful rather than rude is to avoid judgmental language (no “that sucked”) and to provide a way to correct the problem, ie “I was a little jarred by the flow of the narration. Try changing up the sentence structure. It may help to read it aloud to yourself.” If you truly have no corrective suggestions, then at least try to be as specific about your critique as possible, so that the writer can gain something from your feedback.

-Last step! Give another compliment. It can be about whatever you genuinely liked,but, again, try to avoid general statements like “Good story” or “I like your writing.” Those are great ego boosts, but they aren’t ultimately very helpful. I like to go more general here and say something like “I loved how varied your vocabulary is; you have a great command of language,” but that’s just a personal choice. The basic structure of this is “compliment, critique, compliment.”

Super easy! Personally, I have been writing for a long time so the “compliment sandwich” suggestion is mostly to help you feel comfortable providing feedback. If you’d rather give me a litany of helpful critique, that’s fine too. Keyword: helpful. I will still get annoyed if you just say my story was boring or something and give no corrective suggestions.

Finally, Here’s the Fiction Fridays 5 winning story and author!

Fiction Fridays 6 winner on bettysbattleground.com

 

Awesome Blossom loves to read, write, and code. Visit their blog at blossawe.blogspot.com.

Look At The World With Eyes Of Wonder

He woke up grumpily at the sound of the alarm and got ready to work. When he was making breakfast, his 3 year old kid came running to him and hugged him-or specifically his leg with all fours. That hug jolted him and he dropped some sauce on his shirt. “Great, now I have to change my shirt” he thought to himself and got his leg out of his kid’s grip with great effort. He got the kid ready which was a great feat in itself- getting the kid out of his clothes, washing him while he relentlessly moved everywhere in the tub, drying him, getting him into clothes and grooming him. He first fed the kid and then stuffed himself with some breakfast. He was already running late and he still had to drop his kid at day care. “It’s hard being a single parent” he thought. He walked his kid to daycare which was 2 blocks away from his home. All through the way, the kid kept jumping around and pointed his tiny fingers in every direction his brain got attracted to. The man only saw the road, traffic and his watch just kept ticking away. Finally, they were at daycare. He dropped his kid and was about to go, when the kid demonstrated his hugging skills again with even more energy. That breakfast was working well for the kid. Suddenly something clicked in his heart, he probably remember his childhood- when he was free, when he looked at everything with wonder. He was having a black and white day, but the kid saw his favorite person, had fun in bath tub, enjoyed every bit of his breakfast and discovered several things on the way to his daycare. The kid was living every moment, absorbing everything he saw and listened to. The man realized that however routine our life can turn into, one should always look at the world with the eyes of wonder. He hugged his kid back heartily, lifted him up and kissed him. He went to office smiling and spread his infectious smile.

The End

Aaaand here is my story. Don’t forget to look for this week’s prompt and contest instructions at the bottom of the page so that YOU can be featured next week!

Fiction Fridays 6 on bettysbattleground.com
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What About The Children?

What About The Children: A post about the inefficacy of the judicial system in regards to domestic violence

I spent yesterday afternoon at a parenting seminar.

Correction: I spent yesterday afternoon at a parenting plan seminar.  Because I am supposed to be preparing to design a co-parenting plan with the man who beat me, raped me, robbed me of the last few years of my childhood, and possibly even caused my son’s autism.  And I am supposed to be doing this because he feels like it.  And the fact that he feels like it matters because according to our judicial system, even a father who spent the last nine years completely neglecting his nine year old autistic son, who has never paid and still has not offered to pay a dime of child support, and who was charged with “Assault 4,” which  means physical assault against a pregnant woman, even that guy has the right to make claims on his biological child.

There are a lot of things to celebrate about our judicial system.  This past week, a judge from my hometown used the judicial system to salvage the lives and families of thousands of innocent people who were being detained and deported due to Donald Trump’s unconstitutional, anti-Muslim executive order.  My abuser spent four years in a state prison because of our judicial system, and although I believe he deserved much more time, there are some countries in which he would have received no punishment at all.  Some states, even.  So I will concede that the judicial system can do a lot of good.  But the lack of protocols in place to combat domestic abuse via Family Law court is an enormous failing, and one which is destroying my life.

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