Appearance Isn’t Everything–But Smiling With Confidence Helps

Smile Brilliant on bettysbattleground.com

When I was a kid, my mother and my orthodontist conspired to ruin my smile. Okay, okay, they conspired to fix my smile. I had a terrible overbite, crooked teeth, and massive crowding. So at the tender age of eight, I was fitted for braces and spent the next several years dreading my monthly visits to get them checked and tightened. The flip side of getting braces so young, of course, was that when most kids were getting them on, I was getting them off.

At the rebellious age of 13, my smile was beautiful. Seriously, I got compliments all the time. But the retainer I was directed to wear was one of those hard plastic ones. I was supposed to wear it any time I wasn’t eating or drinking–and it completely disgusted me. I thought it looked like my teeth had a seal of saliva over them at all times. And the idea of popping out that thing in front of my friends so that I could eat horrified me.

Maybe–maybe–a few years older would have provided me with enough perspective to understand that the retainer was salvaging my glorious smile. As it was, I never wore it during the day. Sometimes I wore it at night, but those occasions grew fewer and fewer. My teeth began to slide and crowd again, and the compliments lessened. Then I had kids, and began requiring numerous daily cups of coffee to function. So on top of crooked teeth, my teeth became stained. It’s hard enough to smile when you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, but when you’re also devastated by the thought of your own teeth, you develop a mastery of closed lips.

As of now, I still have the crowded teeth–maybe one day I’ll afford to fix that–but I was recently able to trial a home whitening product that changed my perception of my smile more than I honestly thought was possible without spending thousands of dollars.

This is a sponsored post, which means I received compensation in the form of money or trial products in exchange for an honest review–however, Betty’s Battleground is very selective about who I accept as sponsors (seriously–just ask all the PR people who constantly email me). This is still part of the same honest and relevant content you’re familiar with.

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You’re Probably Doing Positivity All Wrong

Positivity is not about excluding everyone who isn't happy all the time; it's about exercising compassion and discovering your best self--on bettysbattleground.com

Have you ever decided you needed more positivity in your life, so you go through your social media accounts and purge anyone whose posts read as antagonistic, depressing, or negative in any way? Maybe you also dropped that friend who was always angry, or who never wanted to go out with you? If you’ve never done this, I guarantee you know someone who has. Deleting or ghosting people with negative vibes has become a really popular way of embracing positivity. Problem is, it’s actually one of the most unhealthy things you can do.¬† Continue reading

When No One Cares Anymore: What It’s Like To Still Be Traumatized 10 Years Later

Find out what it's like to remain traumatized ten years after the event, when no one cares anymore-on bettysbattleground.com

A special post for PTSD Awareness Month

June is PTSD Awareness Month, and yesterday, June 27th, was PTSD Awareness Day. Although I feel annoyed that awareness months only last for one month a year; afterall, those of us with PTSD have to be aware of it nonstop, day-in day-out, I am also grateful that more people are taking the time to learn about the disorder. Combat trauma has headlined the PTSD discussion for years. Physical and sexual assault are finally getting some attention, with natural disasters and emergency workers beginning to get a share of notice as well. We are, however, still in somewhat of a dark age when it comes to emotional factors in PTSD. Earlier this week I posted a two part true story by Genelle Chaconas about how they overcame emotional abuse. Today, I want to discuss post traumatic emotional neglect, and my experiences with it.

We often think of emotional neglect as something which occurs between parents and children, or within marriages, but it can occur within any relationship in which emotional bonding and attention is reasonably expected. For those of us living with PTSD, support is crucial to recovery. When we don’t get the support we need, when we experience¬†post traumatic emotional neglect,¬†we suffer very serious consequences.

Often, emotional neglect is unintended. People are busy. Everyone, mentally ill or not, traumatized or not, experiences stress and disappointment. Although we take pride, as a species, in our empathic abilities, humans are also inherently selfish. It’s part of our survival mechanism. Sometimes emotional neglect is an intended tactic used by abusers, but often it just happens. Friends forget to reach out. Family members get overwhelmed by their disappointed expectations. Stigma takes over. And those of us living with a trauma history fall to the wayside.

This post isn’t about placing blame on anyone. It certainly isn’t about calling out my friends for not “being there” enough for me. I am as much to blame-if not more-for the distance between my friends and I. Even if you see yourself reflected within it, it’s not about being passive aggressive or calling you out. It’s about my feelings, and how emotional neglect and rejection exacerbate trauma symptoms.

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