Parenting with Mental Illness: Sheila (CPTSD+Bipolar Affective Disorder)

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

It’s Monday, and today Monday means yesterday was Mother’s Day, and now it’s over.

Is anyone else glad about that?

Don’t get me wrong…it wasn’t a bad Mother’s Day…my husband made me fancy-ingredient gourmet waffles and changed (most of) all the diapers; my mom and son came over for Cuban congri and yuca (and pork, for them) that didn’t quite match up to what my Abuelita would have made, but it had the general flavor. So overall it was nice.

Vegan yum on bettysbattleground.com

Some grubber with chubby fingers can’t wait for strawberries

I don’t want to ramble too much on a post that really isn’t about me, but let’s just say that holidays in general give me problems, and holidays in which I am the sole or partial focus give me even greater problems. So externally, it was actually very nice, but interally, I still had a difficult and depressing weekend. I’ll miss the gourmet meals and lack of poop cleaning, but I won’t miss the soul-sucking, vertiginous depression.

Sweet moment with Mama and son on bettysbattleground.com

Happy Mother’s Day <3

Today we continue the celebration of mothers with Sheila from Parallel Dichotomy. You may also remember her as the author of the Trauma Informed Care piece I ran earlier. In that piece she talked about a positive model for trauma treatment. In this one, she gets more personal, discussing what it’s like to parent after trauma.

Sheila has been through a lot of really serious trauma. Trauma can’t be quantified by length of experience-we hear that all the time-but I do think the fact that most of her life has been in an abusive environment plays a factor in the extent of her trauma. She struggles a lot, understandably, but in this interview she also demonstrates a host of coping skills and the ability to talk about her experience in a cogent, intelligent manner. I was able to relate to a lot of her answers (a lot), but something I could not relate to was the level of self-support she has, and most especially, the level of outside support she has.

As a society, we applaud trauma survivors who care for themselves; who pick themselves up and heal and get themselves to the place where they can feel and behave and react appropriately. And that’s a great place to aspire toward…but I think it’s really important to remember that as much personal strength and toil it takes the survivor to get there, and as much as she does deserve accolades when she does and while she tries, it also takes a lot of outside support. There is a huge difference in outcome between trauma survivors who have caring, sustained support, and those of us who don’t.

In this interview we see the struggles of a woman who has experienced much, much more than her fair share of hardship, and who is still learning how to be a mom while caring for herself properly. We also get a glimpse as to how trauma survivors should be supported. Hopefully, reading this will help people understand the importance of support in healing; as well as the need for compassion towards mothers who have experienced trauma.

Meet Sheila on www.bettysbattleground.com

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Off-Fridays Mental Illness Blog Share, Week 1: Mothers with Mental Illness

Mental Illness Blog Post, week 1 Mothers with Mental Illness Share bettysbattleground.com

Hey hey! It’s Friday! If you’re looking for the current Fiction Fridays prompt, check here. Last week I decided to make Fiction Fridays biweekly rather than weekly to give YOU more time to enter to be featured on this here front page, and to give ME more opportunity to actually do some new writing.

But I also promised that I would find something awesome plus interesting to add for the off-Fridays. That’s a tall order, but here it is! A blog share for mental illness blogs!

One of the best surprises blogging about PTSD has offered me is the ability to connect with like-minded, supportive people going through similar struggles. So far I have met a number of amazing mamas with PTSD, and other kind, intelligent, interesting, and brave mental illness warriors who are breaking stigma to smithereens every day. But it seems like almost every day I’m reading a blog post with a shout-out to ANOTHER amazing mental illness blogger, and, frankly, I can’t keep up. So I have created this link up! My hope is that we can use to this to come together, drop our links, connect, and create a big STIGMA SMASHING MACHINE! Orrrrr something of that sort.

Anyway, I don’t like rules so much. I find a ton of rules annoying. However, rules do have their use, and a few simple rules can help a thing like this run smoothly. SO, here we go…

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7 Soothing Mother’s Day Suggestions for the Mentally Ill Mama In Your Life

How to help the mentally ill mama in your life this Mother's Day-bettysbattleground.com

Today my daughter came home from daycare with paint on her hands. Not an uncommon occurrence and I didn’t think much of it, but when I was helping her wash it off, she looked at me with a big grin and said, “I was making you a Valentine’s card mom!”  Well….Valentine’s Day isn’t coming up…but I can think of one day that is…

It makes me smile to think of the sweet little cards my kids will probably be bringing home this Mother’s Day weekend; smudgy pieces of construction paper with writing that obviously came from their teachers (my 3 year old once brought home an especially clever Christmas card in which her teacher actually transcribed what she said…”This one/ Yeah/ I want my card”…it was fantastic). And I remember thinking back on the gifts that I gave my mom as a kid; crummy little handmade gizmos that I made with such care and they still came out like such crap…yet she still has them on her shelves.

Still…as wonderful as our hand-made kid-gifts truly are, the gifts that adults give to the moms in their lives are special in a totally different way. Like, they can actually be used. While I’m not going to speak out against the typical chocolates, jewelry, and flowers, mamas with mental illness have our own sets of special needs. If you want to go the typical route, I’m sure she won’t mind. But if you want to do something truly special for the mentally ill mother in your life, try one of these tips. Whether she’s your mom, partner, sister, daughter, or friend; whether she lives with PTSD, PPD, Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, or something else; these Mother’s Day tips from one mentally ill mama to you should give you some ideas of ways that you can really help her this Mother’s Day.

I understand that if you are economically tied to a mentally ill person, you may not have a lot of extra cash. For that reason, I have provided budget friendly alternatives to the more expensive suggestions, and several inexpensive-but totally awesome-options.

Please note: Like all of the other Mother’s Day guides floating around, this one uses affiliate links. You can read my full legal disclaimer on the bottom of any and every page, or in my Mission+Legal page, but basically: if you make a purchase via one of these Amazon links, you will be helping this mentally ill mother by gaining me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Woo-hoo!

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