PTSD Awareness Month 2017 Pt 2: “Through The Looking Glass”

A guest writer series about the ways we heal-on bettysbattleground.com

June is PTSD awareness month and this is the second half of a two part special about the complex truth of life after trauma. If you missed part one, please take a moment to read it first. This guest post by writer Genelle Chaconas examines the vast complexity of life after trauma, including the facts that not everyone with PTSD symptoms necessarily gets a PTSD diagnosis or clinical treatment, that those with PTSD can sometimes be abusive, that blame is a nebulous and overwhelming component of traumatic experience, and that healing can found in unique and unconventional formats. Part 1, “Down The Rabbit Holes,” was under the “Tales From The Other Side” header, because it focused on the effects of one man’s mental illness on his child. Part 2 is under “Healing Words,” and you will have to read it to see why.

I don’t want to take over Genelle’s post or introduction. I think this half is perhaps even more beautiful that the first with its candor and lyricism; however, I want to address one thing from my own life. A sneak peak into Wednesday’s upcoming post, I suppose. I am going through an emotionally trying time for a variety of reasons. I asked for support via inclusion in week 4 of my blog-share, “TRIGGERED.” Some people have joined now (and it’s still open if you would like to), a couple did notably respond, but for several days my request for support was widely ignored.

I’m not talking about the people who just didn’t see it. I’m not talking about anyone who said no. The people who hurt me are the ones who saw my request for support, or at least an invitation to join, and maybe “liked” it on social media, or re-shared it, but didn’t add anything and didn’t say anything. The people who hurt me are the ones who let me know they saw my request, but didn’t actually address it. Being ignored is one of my triggers. When people ignore me, I instantly revert to the “I’m worthless” line of thinking. I get hurt by rejection; I get hurt by being told no. But I get triggered by being ignored. Maybe the people who ignored me didn’t want to hurt me. Maybe they just have problems saying no, or something. But they did; I got immensely triggered, which was of course compounded by the fact that I was asking for a self esteem boost because I needed it. So I just wanted to say that. I get triggered by being ignored. If you need to decline an invitation or a request from me, please do so directly. I would far rather face the reasonable hurt of rejection than the unreasonable and unanswerable hurt of being ignored. I can control many of my trigger reactions now, but this one, this one I cannot. If I ask you or invite you do to something, and you just totally ignore me, I will flip out and turn that anger inward in a really harmful way. So if you care about me on even the most basic level, please just have the basic respect to respond.

Okay! Glad to get that off my chest. Now, let’s continue with Genelle’s incredible story of abuse and recovery.

Genelle Chaconas guest writes about life after trauma on bettysbattleground.comGenelle Chaconas is genderfluid, queer, feminist, over 30, underemployed, an abuse survivor, and proud of it. They earned their BA in Creative Writing from California State University Sacramento (2009), and their MFA in Writing and Poetics, graduate of Naropa University (2015). Their first chapbook is Fallout, Saints and Dirty Pictures (little m Press, 2011), and they are currently at work on a new chapbook. Their work has been accepted in over 50 publications. They are currently at work on their first full length work. They are a volunteer submission reader at Tule review, and they hosted Red Night Poetry. They plan to run their own literary publication in the future.

Part 2 of the Genelle Chaconas' guest post about PTSD on bettysbattleground.com

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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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