Right off the bat: will you take a moment to click vote 10 times for my poem and essay in a contest?
Now, here’s the story…
Earlier this year I asked for your help. I asked you to donate so that my family could pay off our last month of rent in Seattle, and get to Florida in order to stay with my husband’s parents. If you follow my blog, you probably know my relationship with my in-laws has a…history. One that, looking back through the lens of the past few months, very much resembles the abuse cycle typically associated with intimate partner violence. There would be periods of unexpected, unwarranted gifts, intense generosity, and inclusion in family dinners and outings. Always followed by the inevitable gutpunch. Demands that I leave their home. Below-the-belt insults that prey on the vulnerabilities I was naive enough to express during times of peace. Shouting fits that ignored my children crying in the same room. Cruel gossip tearing me down to every other member of the family, ensuring that if my in-laws don’t like me, no one else will either. It was because of this that I wrote shortly after arriving, “I don’t know what the future will hold, but for now I’m going swimming.” Continue reading →
“Once an addict, always an addict.” This gem from the 12-step drug addiction recovery cult is one of the most harmful sentences to ever be wedged into our society, along with every other sentiment that mischaracterizes anyone who’s ever used drugs as a degenerate, selfish, walking disease. Families are being torn apart by the idea that someone who has struggled with addiction will always struggle with addiction. Families are being ruined by the misinformation that anyone who uses drugs ever is incompetent. My family is being ruined by drug use stigma. My life, my heart, and my soul are being torn apart by your blind miseducation.
I mean that, of course, as a general “you.” I don’t know who you actually are, you who are reading this. You could be the most enlightened person on this planet. You could be Shilo Jama, who runs the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance and has the most accurate views on drug use and addiction I’ve ever encountered. Or you could be someone who shares similar views. But “you” as a whole–society as a whole–are blind to the realities of drug addiction and drug use. Worse, society doesn’t care to fix it’s blindness.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stigma is alive and well. If you have PTSD, you’ve probably heard someone tell you to “just get over” your trauma. Maybe it was a well-meaning friend or family member, like my father who was frightened by my suicidal ideations. Or maybe it was a less well-meaning stranger, like the rude New Yorker who recently commented on my blog telling me to “grow up and take responsibility for [my] life.” Whether the statement comes from a place of love or stigma, it doesn’t make sense in the context of PTSD. Here’s why.