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.
Hello! Happy Monday! It really is a happy Monday because I have the honor of publishing this amazing guest post, and you’re here reading it 😉
Last month August did me the great honor of hosting my very first published piece about being queer on her collaborative mental health blog, Survival Is A Talent. Today she has done me another honor: She has written a guest post for Betty’s Battleground, granting us readers intimate insight into her relationship. She discusses a topic that is dear to me: what it’s like to be in a romantic relationship with someone who has PTSD. What makes August’s story unique is that she also lives with a mental illness: bipolar type schizoaffective disorder. Neither she nor her now-fiance had their respective diagnoses when they first began dating. So this piece not only reveals the reality of life with a partner who has PTSD while combating her own symptoms; it also shows us what it’s like to discover that the person you love has a mental illness, while discovering that you yourself do too. This is a unique, beautifully written perspective on a very important topic, and I am proud to have the opportunity to publish it on my blog.
Oh also…if you think the title is unbelievably cheesy…don’t put that on August. The superb article is all her; the corny title is all me. Now to August…