Parenting With Mental Illness: Brandi (PTSD)

Learn how author Brandi Kennedy manages life and motherhood with PTSD in this tell-all interview on bettysbattleground.comParenting with Mental Illness, a feature interview series on bettysbattleground.comToday’s interview features Author Brandi Kennedy, a writer, blogger, and fellow trauma-mama. Her courage and tenacity shine through everything she writes, and I’m sure equally through everything she does, even when she doesn’t recognize it herself. I am honored to share her story here on Betty’s Battleground.

Before I get to the interview, I want to invite you to leave links to your posts and articles about depression and/or suicide in my current link-up. Off-Fridays converts to a blogger-built resource library once it closes, and this topic is really important, so I hope you will help make it as comprehensive as possible. Cover the topic from all angles!  Click here to get to the instructions page, and then click through to the drop page, or if you’re familiar with Off-Fridays, go to the drop page right from here.

Now, I invite you to learn more about what life is like for parents living with PTSD in this interview with author Brandi Kennedy.

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Tales From The Other Side: “Growing Up With An Untreated Bipolar Mom”

Read about one woman's experience growing up with a mom who had untreated bipolar disorder-on

Tales from the Other Side: A guest post series on www.bettysbattleground.comToday’s guest blogger, Christy, grew up in a household with a mother who had untreated Bipolar Disorder. I can’t claim to have the same experience, or anything remotely like it, but I do have an aunt who has untreated Bipolar disorder. We stopped speaking a couple years ago when she started calling me a bitch, excusing herself because of her own disorder, and then gaslighting my PTSD. Ever since then, I have occasionally seen rude comments about me that she’s left on other family’ member’s accounts. Anyway, she lives in New York so I don’t have to really bother with her, but I learned today that she’s coming to Seattle, AND she’s asked to see my kids. So I guess I’m gonna get to have another epic Tia A—- adventure!

Anyway, as annoying and borderline abusive as my aunt has been, it does not compare to Christy’s experiences. Please don’t misunderstand the intention of publishing this story. I in no way wish to demonize people with Bipolar Disoder. I previously hosted an interview and guest post by a Sheila O’Donnell, a lovely blogger living with BPAD. I published an author interview with Rebecca Lombardo, who wrote a book about her experiences being Bipolar. The late, and beloved, Carrie Fisher was a famous mental health advocate living with the disorder. However, all of these people also pursued treatment. Whether that means medication and talk therapy, exercise and self-care, writing and reaching out, or whatever-they manage their symptoms and actively seek treatment. Mental illness does not have to be harmful. Usually, it isn’t. But if a person has a serious mental disorder and a family, that disorder will affect her family. If she doesn’t get her disorder treated, it may harm her family.

We cannot silence true stories because they don’t fit the narrative we want to tell. I am a mental health advocate. I want people to understand that mental illness or injury doesn’t make people evil or abusive. But I also cannot lie and say that when people don’t pursue treatment of any kind, everything is OK. It’s not. Those of us with mental health conditions need outside support, but we also need inner drive. Christy’s story is an example of a family that was deeply harmed because their Bipolar mother did not pursue treatment.

Blogger Christy Zelaya opens up about growing up with a mom who had untreated bipolar disorder on bettysbattleground.comChristy Zelaya is 38 years old and lives in beautiful Bradenton, Florida. She lives with her husband Jose Zelaya, and their four children; two each from previous marriages. They also have two dogs who are their babies too! They have been living as a blended family for almost seven years. Jose was diagnosed with kidney failure in February of 2014 and is now on dialysis. They are hoping for a kidney transplant soon. Christy also lives with Rhematoid Arthritis, which is exacerbated by her weight issues. You can follow her journey at


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

A guest writer series about the ways we heal-on

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

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