Parenting With Mental Illness: Tia Hollowood (PTSD)

Parenting with PTSD on bettysbattleground.com

It’s that time of the month again.. Meaning, time for the Parenting with Mental Illness feature interview. As we move forward through sexual assault awareness month on Betty’s Battleground, I’d like to introduce you to Tia Hollowood, who is my co-author/predecessor at Trauma! A PTSD Blog on HealthyPlace. She’s written some really important and interesting articles on life after childhood sexual assault on HealthyPlace like “I Wanted My Abuser To Suffer,” “Why Can Childhood Sexual Assault Lead To Promiscuity?” and “Living With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder During Pregnancy,” among many others. Tia Hollowood is also both a birth mother and a foster mother. In this interview she provides insight to both experiences, which is something new we have not explored here before.

Today, I have the honor of publishing an interview with her about parenting with PTSD. I hope you enjoy her open honesty and quiet, powerfully direct way of communicating. I certainly do! One thing is different this time: I’ll be publishing all of her answers here. I’m just too terrible at keeping up with the newsletter, obviously. I still owe you the bonus answers from the past three months so you’ll get those, but from here on out these surveys will be published complete. You should still subscribe though, because I have some pretty amazing surprises coming up and you don’t want to miss them!

I also want to briefly draw attention to a past featured mama and guest writer here: Brandi Kennedy. Brandi’s beautiful family is struggling right now, and as a result she’s holding a fundraiser to try to make ends meet. I’ve been in that place before and it’s not a great feeling. If you know what it feels like to be unable to provide everything your family needs on your own, despite trying your best, I hope you’ll consider making even a modest donation to her fundraiser.

Anyway, to Tia Hollowood…

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Sexual Violence Lasts Far Longer Than The Act

The trauma of sexual assault doesn't end with the attack. Learn more on bettysbattleground.com

I am shocked when I hear people telling sexual assault survivors to “just get over it.”

I don’t understand how someone can categorize sexual assault as a singular act; as though it is just the event that happened without any further reach. Because nothing that has to do with sex is a singular, inconsequential event. Our society, and frankly our biology, has made sure of that. When the sexual event is violent–and by violent I mean non-consensual, not just forceful–it is a violation of our bodily autonomy. That alone is bad enough, but for women it is much more complicated.

This world is so confused about how it feels about female sexuality. Female sexuality is at once a symbol of purity and rejuvenation, while also a source of sin, temptation, and destruction. Historically (and even today in some especially draconian parts of the world) women and girls have been killed for being raped, their value so diminished by the symbolic theft of their purity they are believed to no longer deserve to want to live. Even where these practices are no longer in place, we are still bound to that history. Sexual violation becomes a way of robbing women and girls not just of autonomy for a moment in time, but also of worth for her lifetime–at least that is the intended effect. This is why wartime rape is so prevalent; women’s bodies are more than just bodies. They are symbols.

As much as we try, our bodies can’t just be our own.

Beyond the psycho-social implications of male-female sexual violence, there is also the biological dangers that accompany rape–pregnancy, which has been politicized due to the abortion debate; disease, which takes months to detect, so that even rape victims who walk away biologically unscathed must go through a period of anxiety. Often there are other injuries that can take weeks or months to heal; especially rough attacks can lead to chronic pain. Even in instances where there is no physical injury whatsoever, however, the psychological pain persists.

Sexual assault has such a long legacy of torment and shame in our culture that I truly cannot understand how anyone with half a brain could ever tell someone to “just get over it.” But they do. It happens.

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Parenting with Mental Illness: Patricia “PTSD Wifey” (Secondary PTSD)

Find out about parenting with secondary PTSD on bettysbattleground.com

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but here in the Pacific Northwest we are fully embroiled in Autumn. The air feels crisp, my daughters are noticing leaves changing colors, and the other day when I walked beneath a beautiful oak, I smelled that cool, mulchy scent that means Fall. Ahhhh…

Mid-October also means it’s time for this month’s Parenting with Mental Illness feature interview. On a side note, I’d love to hear from a dad one of these days. If you’re a father with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or another mental illness, please fill out the preliminary survey¬†(that’s the PTSD link; if you need the general mental illness one, it’s on my guest post info page)!

Today’s feature is a mama who you may have seen around the PTSD blog community before. Patricia “PTSD Wifey” and I did a guest post exchange earlier this year. She wrote about secondary PTSD for Betty’s Battleground, and I wrote about PTSD nightmares for PTSD Wifey. Her blog also appeared on the recent Feedspot list of top 75 PTSD blogs, meaning three blogs that I’ve written on made the list ūüėČ She’s a vocal member of the PTSD community, and I am excited to present her interview today, in which she discusses her experiences with secondary PTSD, a lesser-known phenomenon that merits a ton more discussion.

Without further ado, let’s meet Patricia!

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