Parenting With Mental Illness: Maria (PPD)

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

I have been putting together this series behind the curtains for a while now, almost as long as Betty’s Battleground has been live, and I am really excited and honored to launch it today.

“Parenting with Mental Illness” is an interview series featuring parents battling mental illness. Mental illness is an unparalleled struggle even without having children in your care, but when the pressures of being the caretaker for a beautiful young life gets paired with the battles of living with mental illness, the difficulties sometimes feel insurmountable. But they are surmountable. Those of us who live through it prove that everyday. We often live this reality in silence, however, feeling judged and ashamed by our circumstances. This series aims to lift some of stigma surrounding parenting with mental illness. My hope is that those on the outside will gain some compassion and insight toward what we deal with on a daily basis, and that those also living through this will realize it is okay to be who they are, and to seek help. Please remember: Shaming drives people further into the darkness. It is only through radical acceptance that people begin the journey of change.

Before I introduce you to the first brave interviewee, I want to say a few words about my Abuelita. She died one year ago today, at the age of 100. She lived a long and full life, so her death was no tragedy, but I still miss her every day. Sometimes my grief is quiet, like a murmur in the background of my day, and sometimes it wails and brings me to tears at random moments. My Abuelita was a beautiful woman. Born in Chile to a Cuban mother and British father, she traveled across Latin America during her childhood, before finally settling in Cuba, where she would marry the love of her life, an English teacher, and bear her five children. In 1966, amid the turmoil of a new government, she would leave her mansion home with the tadpole-filled pool in the back, and jasmine bushes in the front, to move with her family as refugees into a small studio in New Jersey. She would live in New Jersey the rest of her life, and though she would never regain the comforts she had known in Cuba, she would improve her economic situation enough to be a world traveler through her 80s. She was a vivacious, gentle soul who love to sing, write poetry, and read Agatha Christie. She possessed a rare, youthful beauty which did not diminish with age. She died one century and a handful of months after she was born. Though she had five children, she would be a grandmother to only one-a little girl who she would love unconditionally through all of the child’s various turmoils and disgraces. She would live to hold her eldest great-grandson, and to talk on the phone with her two younger great-granddaughters, all of whom she cherished.

My Abuelita was perhaps the only person who loved me no matter what, and I suspect I will miss her for the rest of my life.

Elizabeth Brico's Abuelita bettysbattleground.com

Stella Blair with one of her daughters, 1916-2016

And now, I present to you another beautiful soul: Maria, who mothers with Postpartum Depression.

Meet Maria: A Mother with PPD on bettysbattleground.com

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Fiction Fridays: A Small But Necessary Adjustment

Fiction Fridays on www.bettysbattleground.com

Hi Lovelies!  It’s Friday!

It’s been a big week, both for me personally, and for the mental health community as a whole. You may heave heard that Amy Bleuel, founder of Project Semicolon, ended her life this week. That is pretty big news for a lot of people who saw Amy and her project as an icon of hope and healing. My new blogger friend Sheila, wrote a touching and enlightening piece about the event that I consider a must-read.

In my personal life this week I lost a friend who I had known since high school; a comrade in PTSD recovering who I thought would always be in my life. But for the fourth time this short year she did something which made me feel like an afterthought. In this case, she completely mismanaged a project of mine which she had volunteered to make huge (I had asked her help for something much smaller) and ultimately canceled the whole thing one and a half days before production, effectively destroying a creative project of mine for the second time this year. I realized that this person, who is a competent creative when she cares about the project, regularly schedules me in her life between other, more important meet-ups, and has displayed a pattern of being totally unprepared for projects of mine which she agreed or even volunteered to help with. So I told her that I could not have her in my life anymore. My life is hard as it is. My self esteem is a dark pit without my own friends showing me that I’m not important.

The day after my ruined project, a day which passed heavy with angry regret, I had to meet with a Family Court Services interviewer who grilled me about the dates and intimate details of the worst instances of my abuse. By the end of the interview, I was freezing cold and shaking. My PTSD was triggered so badly by all of this that I am still feeling the effects; I woke up crying from nightmares last night, which had not happened to me in years. I will write more about my hell week soon (make sure to subscribe if you just can’t miss all the terrible details); all this is to say that it has been a rough week.

So this week’s Fiction Fridays I slid a little and I hope you’ll understand. This piece is borrowed from the world of what was supposed to be a longer novella, though I never completed writing it.

I am also excited to announced the Fiction Fridays #3 winner!

In case you missed it, the prompt was to choose a favorite book, and then tackle a problem or issue from your life in the style of the book in 300-1,000 words.

Here’s the winning story:

Dasha Buchanon is the Fiction Fridays #3 Prompt Contest winner on www.bettysbattleground.com

 

 

Dasha Buchanan has been writing since she could read and hopes to become a published author someday. Check out her blog: DKB Writings

 

 

Book: Winnie The Pooh

Unresolved Issue: Growing up

My old desk which once held paint splatters and pretend tea cup saucers now is covered in the college pamphlets and brochures sent to me by the most kind college admissions hoping to scrounge my every last penny. It didn’t hit me till this year that my whole life was about to tilt a little more forwards and a little more topsy-turvy than I am used to. Senior year was supposed to be the grand party with the hot boyfriend and good GPA but instead is barely even a hangover with a nasty headache, and what GPA? It’s like I’m stumbling through every step of this life-changing journey when I should be leaping for joy. It’s not as black and white as we are taught from a young age. You don’t just graduate and move out. There is so much more and it involves mostly numbers. The amount of money you have will get lower and the amount of credits you need will continue to increases like the freaking fountain of youth and you will think about quitting at least once a week. No it didn’t hit me how effed up this year was till I was cleaning my out my closet. Under an old pillow there, laying in the dust, was my dear stuffed elephant Eeyore. I remember the day I got that toy I was so excited. I saved every dollar and waited till mom would drive me to the Disney store 20 miles away from home. (I’m still sour that they closed it) Eeyore was my bear hug when my best friend wasn’t with me, he was my tear sponge when I found out my parents were divorcing, he was my sense of home when we had to move, he was my grandpa’s memory when he passed because Eeyore was sad yet his friends accepted him. I feel a lot like Eeyore. Even today at 18 years of age I can relate to a cartoon. A stuffed animal. A piece of fabric and stuffing. After all the crap life has in it something so untouched by the cruelty of our world can simply exist. Now as I’m holding him I think to myself either I have some weird complex like Linus and his blanket or I am just not ready to keep going. I don’t want to leave Eeyore in the closet again for another ten years and then pass him along to my child or find him and remember all the sh*t that happened since the last time I found him. No. Today I want to pause. I want to just hug Eeyore and say that everything will be alright. I want to have a tea party in the hundred acre wood and finger paint my worries away. I want to be content with the simple things in life and I don’t want to leave him behind. Who knows maybe you’ll find me and Eeyore taking on the world one hug at a time.

 

There you have it! The winning entry! Thank you so much Dasha for sharing your wonderful story with us.

Keep reading to see what this week’s prompt is and how YOU can be featured right here on my front page…

Fiction Fridays #4 www.bettysbattleground.com
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