Parenting With Mental Illness: Mandy (Depression+Anxiety)

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

Hello! Thank you for dropping by this fine day in July! Or if you’re in the part of the world that says things like “fine day in December” (so weird), then thank you for dropping by this cold wretched day in July.

Today’s post features a mama struggling with depression over in The Netherlands. I completely feel for her and understand 100% the burden of being a mom and wife while having to also tend to your depression. Motherhood is often a very lonely job. I mentioned Summer in the paragraph above…Well, Summer used to be, hands down, my favorite season. I fiended for it all through the year, waiting with mounting excitement for the time when it would be warm enough to go out all day, when I could enjoy my favorite physical activity-swimming-and when I could feel happy enough to spend time with my friends.

Now, Summer is just another season to feel even more lonely and stressed. Don’t get me wrong: I love my kids. But without any help over here, I never get to swim. Never. They aren’t in daycare long enough for me to really enjoy anything; especially since I have to spend that time cleaning, shopping, or trying write marketable articles. Any outdoor excursion becomes an event. One which involves arguments over socks, inexplicable screaming fits, a monstrous stroller to haul, heavy bags loaded with diapers and snacks and extra clothes and diaper wipes…you get the picture. Nothing is carefree. Nothing is fun. It’s taking a toll. I can feel a very serious depression creeping up on me, wrapping its hands around my eyes again. I’m not built for a life where nobody cares for me. No help in sight. No end in sight. Just my lonely, burdened existence.

So I understand where Mom Mandy from The Netherlands is coming from. She is a gorgeous woman with a beautiful family, living in a country internationally lauded for its peacefulness. My reasons for saying all this are not to guilt Mandy for her feelings but to point out that Depression and Anxiety are, in fact, illnesses with biological causes. People can have the most enviable-looking lives…people can be in the middle of their favorite season…and still experience Depression. Just as beautiful women with loving families can get cancer or the flu, they can also get Depression and Anxiety. Let’s dive into this interview to see how Mandy experiences and copes with her illness.

Mandy Wijn from the blog Mom Mandy talks about her experiences with Depression and Anxiety on bettysbattleground.com

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Parenting with Mental Illness: Karin (PTSD)

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

It’s that time of the month again..By which I mean, of course, time for the monthly Parenting with Mental Illness interview. I am so grateful to the three mothers I have interviewed so far for being so generous with their stories. Maria, the first mother I interviewed, described the feeling and effects of Postpartum Depression with unabashed honesty, which is so important, because when we hide the most embarrassing or shameful aspects of our disorders, we perpetuate negative stigmas about what they “should” look like.

Sheila did not hold back in describing her traumatic past, or the obstacles which CPTSD and BPAD have placed between herself and her overarching goals. She also showed us the importance of support after trauma, which is a pet issue of mine, so I really appreciate her for that.

Today, we’ll meet Karin, a single mother who lives with PTSD. Like everyone who has PTSD, Karin has been through more than her fair share of hardship. The part of her story that broke my heart the most was when she talked about being strangled during pregnancy; I too was strangled by my former partner during pregnancy, so I know how much that experience robs you of security, sanity, and hope.

Yet Karin has persevered. She credits much, if not all, of her recovery to a treatment called EMDR. I was not familiar with EMDR before first talking to Karin. The acronym stands for “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.” It is a little confusing, frankly, as someone who has never experienced it or had it explained to me by a professional, but it is supposed to help trauma patients reprocess their trauma using “bilateral stimulation,” which involves eye movement and electromagnetic stimulation. It appears to be connected to REM sleep. Read Karin’s interview to learn more about her experiences with it, as well as her life as a mother with PTSD.Learn more about parenting with PTSD on bettysbattleground.com

 

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Book of the Weeks: 4/24-5/7/2017: “Shade’s Children”

Book of the Weeks 4/24-5/7/2017: Shade's Children

This post contains affiliate links. You can view my full affiliate links disclosure at the bottom of any and every page, but, basically, if you purchase this excellent book through the links I put in this post, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

 

Why does nostalgia have such authority over us?

I was recently talking to a friend about nostalgia; about how we will gleefully cram junk food into our gullets or delight over terrible movies and toys that break apart in our oafish hands that are no longer sized for play. All because these things, often shoddy and undeserving of our deep affection, ignite our nostalgia.

It is a potent balm, nostalgia. It brings us back to those times when we were innocent of the vast heartbreak that life often offers; when the sun seemed always to shine, and when we could feel the boundlessness of love, as palpable as a hand on our forehead when we were sick or a hug on the playground.

A lot of things make me nostalgic. Nothing quite so much as books.  I still have my favorite books as a child, tucked away in boxes; a few still on display on a bookshelf at my mom’s house; even fewer on display in my own bookshelf. When I sometimes pick up these books to re-read them, I feel their brilliance before I even peel open their much-abused covers. I still love reading, and delight in it, but when I was a child, reading was a portal to another dimension. Reading the books I loved as a child now is more like a time machine; it takes me back to the place where reading was a form of transportation. And that is wonderful.

One common phenomenon of nostalgia that I typically bypass when it comes to books, however, is the shoddy-quality aspect. From the toys to the movies to the foods I loved as a child, most tokens that cause me to feel nostalgic are pretty much junk from a non-emotional standpoint (oh but how could Tamagotchies ever be called junk). The books I loved as a child, with few exceptions, however, tend to still be quite good reads.

This weeks’ feature book was one of my favorites as a child, and one which I still recommend now as (and to) an adult: Shade’s Children by Garth Nix.
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