Recovery from mental illness often begins as an uphill battle. It doesn’t help that aside from difficult symptoms, those of us living with one or more mental illness also have to combat stigma and wide-spread misinformation–all while navigating a mental healthcare system that often favors the wealthy. Recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is saddled with some very specific barriers. In fact, treatment-resistance is actually a symptom of PTSD. If you or a loved one are struggling to recover from trauma, please hold back from judgement. There are reasons for treatment-resistant behaviors; you or your loved one are not at fault.
My three-year-old girl came home from daycare with a note.
Ever since our littlest has been old enough to walk and play, Anabelle, older by only a handful of months, has been a terror. Grabbing toys from her little sister for no reason, shoving the baby, shouting at her; in essence: being a bully. The professionals have all told us her behavior is normal. As long as she shows signs of affection too—which she does—and doesn’t do anything excessively violent—which she doesn’t— it’s okay. Still, some ideas have begun to form in my mind about Anabelle. Nothing solid, not yet manifested into words or actions, but a feeling, whispering, in the back of my mind. Like an aftertaste when I think about her.
My daughter might be a Mean Girl.
Earlier this week, I published a guest post by author Jasminder about her experiences with childhood and adolescent bullying. It was hard to read about kids calling her dirty and mocking her for having brown skin and dark hair. Harder even to read about how she internalized those experiences, and began to believe them. I know that feeling well; part of the reason I have difficulties with apologizing or taking responsibility sometimes is because (I’ve come to understand) my brother tortured me as a child by calling me a mistake who should never have been born. He treated me like an outcast in my own home. Because of that, I carry a feeling of wrongness in my body; a feeling like my very essence is a complete mistake. It’s hard, feeling that way, to admit to more mistakes on top of it.
The students who hurt Jasminder were kids, but their parents were adults–and those adults should have been more aware of the mentality their kids were adopting. Those parents should have actively included people from other cultures in their lives so their kids understood there was nothing wrong with looking different. Just as my father should have told his son that I was his little girl, not some random mistake clumped up behind the couch. That may not have happened, but those of us who are parents now have the opportunity to help stop bullying. How do we keep cruelty from growing in the hearts of our children?
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.