Tales From the Other Side: “My Letter to My Sister After Her Suicide”

Tales from the Other Side: A guest post series on www.bettysbattleground.com

“My Letter to My Sister After Her Suicide” is the first installation of my Guest Post Series: Tales From the Other Side

If you have been following my blog, you know that I write about my experiences as a mother who lives with mental illness, specifically; PTSD and (recovering) co-morbid substance addiction as the result of surviving severe, prolonged domestic abuse. There is a lot of stigma around mental illness, addiction, and abuse. I think it is important that those of us who have lived or are living with these conditions speak out so that the world can see what we go through, and also that we are human. Relatable, real, maybe even (gasp) likable humans.

We are not the only ones affected by our conditions, however. The people who live with us, love us, work with us, and know us are also affected, often deeply. Last week I wrote about my recent(ish) suicide attempt.  I shared the letter I didn’t write, but would have written if I had been able to communicate my thoughts and feelings at the time.  This week, I want to share with you the letter written by one woman to her sister whose suicide attempt was successful.

This letter is raw, heartwrenching, and even funny at times. It is, ultimately, honest. I am so honored to be able to share it here.

Another issue that the letter briefly mentions is possible witnessed PTSD; sometimes the people who come in contact with our conditions inherit similar conditions themselves. Witnessed PTSD is less understood than experienced PTSD, but it is the same disorder as mine except that it arises from witnessing a traumatic event, rather than directly experiencing it.

One last thing I would like to say before I share the letter and some details about its author: I have been suicidal. I know that feeling worthless and unloved comes hand-in-hand with wanting to die. And now, having lived through it, I also know that the feeling is a delusion. You don’t have to be popular and constantly surrounded by people to be loved. If you are feeling suicidal, please just know, just believe that there is someone out there who will write a letter like this to you if you leave them. Chances are, you even know who that person is. Chances are, you love them too. Please think, truly think, about the real consequences of your decision before you make it.
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Relationships: A PTSD Post-Valentine’s Day Special

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Hey readers, here is a special post-Valentine’s Day treat. You get to learn all about relationships, and just how extra screwy they get when dealing with PTSD!

I don’t really participate in Valentine’s Day. I consider Valentine’s Day to be an invented holiday, one which both upholds and is upheld by capitalism; one which aims to make the single and the poor feel inadequate, and encourages the wealthy and coupled to spend.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I had fun helping my daughters craft glittery, sticker-crowded paper hearts for each other, but that is about as Valentinesy as I get.  My husband spent the evening of the 14th cooking meals for other couples (and probably making bank in tips), and I messed around on social media and Netflix after putting the girls to bed.

Nonetheless, there’s been a lot of social media talk about Valentine’s Day.  And a lot of pink, heart-shaped decorations everywhere.  It is not really possible to both live within society and completely ignore Valentine’s Day.  So, while I did not particularly celebrate, or want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, the atmosphere this week has me thinking about relationships.

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