Some people like to say that everything happens for a reason, but when it comes to suicide attempts, that line of thinking suggests some lives are more valuable than others. That some people are more deserving of life than others. But there is no “reason” to mental illness and suicide. Life, death and the trappings that come in between are not doled out based on who deserves what.
Hello. Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone? If you didn’t, it’s okay. I forgive you…this time. Just because there were all sorts of holidays and excitement and all that. But it’s true. I have not posted in several weeks, which is the longest I’ve gone without posting since I started this here blog.
My husband is in the hospital. So that’s why I’ve been too busy to blog–or return emails, or do anything besides keep myself and my children alive. If you’re one of my guest bloggers, or anyone else who has been trying to get ahold of me, I apologize. I plan to return all emails by the end of the week. We’re also hoping my husband will be home by the end of the week, though that all depends on how he’s doing. In the meantime, I will be getting the blog slowly restarted, including re-launching my monthly “Parenting with Mental Illness” feature interviews. If you are a parent with a mental illness who would like to share your story on Betty’s Battleground, I’d be honored to feature you. Check out the guest post info page for more details and to find the links to the preliminary interviews. Since February is my birthday month, I’m thinking I’ll actually feature myself. But I thought it would be interesting to have YOU ask the questions for this. Interested? Guess I’ll find out. Leave a comment with your question or questions for me. I do reserve the right to skip anything, but unless it’s super creepy or requires me to disclose another person’s personal info, I probably won’t skip it.
As Halloween approaches, monsters, cobwebs, and black crepe streamers line our streets and stores. We stock up on horror films and scary stories, and ready ourselves for a night of fun and fright. It is my favorite holiday–the single one that still leaves me with a glimmer of excitement, even though as a low-income mother I don’t have the means to wear an extravagant costume or celebrate among adults. Even if I can’t go to a dance party or flamboyant costume party, I still get to dress weirdly without being judged for it, and watch all the kiddos run around in their silly costumes while traipsing my kids from creepy house to creepy house.
Among the fun and excitement of Halloween, however, I can’t help but think about the real monsters that walk among us all throughout the year. Monsters who, by their very existence, make this world a sadder and more fearsome place. These monsters come in all types and shapes. Some of them are sociopaths, like my ex, who care only about themselves. Some of them are narcissists, like Donald Trump–even my daughters call him “bad scary monster”–who are so infatuated with themselves they can’t see past the length of their own shadow. Monsters can be bullies, or rapists. They can be wanton cheaters or jealous manipulators. Or, they can be a “mental illness monster,” and walk alongside us within our community.
I was a mental illness monster for years. I still have some lingering attitudes and habits. When someone hurts me, I became enraged. I don’t take kindly to being abused (who does?) and I lash out. I am working on these things, if slowly. For that reason, I don’t consider myself a “mental illness monster” anymore. Because I am working toward change–but there are those among us who refuse to even try to change. And that is what makes a monster.