Tales From The Other Side: “Growing Up With An Untreated Bipolar Mom”

Read about one woman's experience growing up with a mom who had untreated bipolar disorder-on bettysbattleground.com

Tales from the Other Side: A guest post series on www.bettysbattleground.comToday’s guest blogger, Christy, grew up in a household with a mother who had untreated Bipolar Disorder. I can’t claim to have the same experience, or anything remotely like it, but I do have an aunt who has untreated Bipolar disorder. We stopped speaking a couple years ago when she started calling me a bitch, excusing herself because of her own disorder, and then gaslighting my PTSD. Ever since then, I have occasionally seen rude comments about me that she’s left on other family’ member’s accounts. Anyway, she lives in New York so I don’t have to really bother with her, but I learned today that she’s coming to Seattle, AND she’s asked to see my kids. So I guess I’m gonna get to have another epic Tia A—- adventure!

Anyway, as annoying and borderline abusive as my aunt has been, it does not compare to Christy’s experiences. Please don’t misunderstand the intention of publishing this story. I in no way wish to demonize people with Bipolar Disoder. I previously hosted an interview and guest post by a Sheila O’Donnell, a lovely blogger living with BPAD. I published an author interview with Rebecca Lombardo, who wrote a book about her experiences being Bipolar. The late, and beloved, Carrie Fisher was a famous mental health advocate living with the disorder. However, all of these people also pursued treatment. Whether that means medication and talk therapy, exercise and self-care, writing and reaching out, or whatever-they manage their symptoms and actively seek treatment. Mental illness does not have to be harmful. Usually, it isn’t. But if a person has a serious mental disorder and a family, that disorder will affect her family. If she doesn’t get her disorder treated, it may harm her family.

We cannot silence true stories because they don’t fit the narrative we want to tell. I am a mental health advocate. I want people to understand that mental illness or injury doesn’t make people evil or abusive. But I also cannot lie and say that when people don’t pursue treatment of any kind, everything is OK. It’s not. Those of us with mental health conditions need outside support, but we also need inner drive. Christy’s story is an example of a family that was deeply harmed because their Bipolar mother did not pursue treatment.

Blogger Christy Zelaya opens up about growing up with a mom who had untreated bipolar disorder on bettysbattleground.comChristy Zelaya is 38 years old and lives in beautiful Bradenton, Florida. She lives with her husband Jose Zelaya, and their four children; two each from previous marriages. They also have two dogs who are their babies too! They have been living as a blended family for almost seven years. Jose was diagnosed with kidney failure in February of 2014 and is now on dialysis. They are hoping for a kidney transplant soon. Christy also lives with Rhematoid Arthritis, which is exacerbated by her weight issues. You can follow her journey at christyzspeaks.com.

 

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PTSD Awareness Month 2017: “Down The Rabbit Holes”

Tales from the Other Side: A guest post series on www.bettysbattleground.com

June is PTSD Awareness Month

I have been sharing a lot of stories about PTSD this month on my blog. I shared a couple posts about my abusive relationship; one on forgiveness, and the other on what it was like to date a sociopath. This month’s Parenting with Mental Illness interviewee is a mother living with PTSD from years of complex abuse. And the current “Book of the Weeks” is a memoir written by Rebecca Lombardo, who lives with PTSD and BPAD. If you haven’t read that post yet, it includes an exclusive author interview, so check it out!

Today, I will be sharing a very special piece for PTSD Awareness Month. This is the two part story of one person’s struggle to escape, cope. and come to terms with childhood emotional abuse. In this piece, they clearly state that their diagnosis is depression; they’ve never been diagnosed with PTSD. I think it’s important to highlight the fact that all of our statistics and various numerations and labels can never fully encompass all of the people who live in the aftermath of trauma, or who deal with PTSD symptoms.

Emotional abuse doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. It can come in the form of emotional neglect, verbal abuse, gaslighting, manipulation, cloaked insults, outright insults, financial or other control, and aggressive unfounded accusations. Basically, there are a lot of ways to emotionally abuse someone without ever laying a hand on them. Because emotional abuse is often intangible, it can be hard to recognize. Many times, people relegate it as “less important” than outright physical abuse. As we will see in this account, however, emotional abuse often escalates into physical abuse. Even if it doesn’t, the damage is still enormous. Sometimes moreso than physical abuse because survivors are less likely to get the attention and support they deserve

Genelle’s essay also grapples with the phenomenon of abused abusers, and the ways that certain types of people can manipulate their own victimization into an excuse. This is how the piece fits into the “Tales From the Other Side” narrative; it’s the true story about how one father’s mental illness affects his child. It is easy to say trauma survivors deserve uniform compassion; it would be simpler to only talk about sympathetic victims. But we need to honestly address the complexity of trauma, and the various ways it factors into our world. Genelle’s essay does just that, and that is why I have chosen to present it as part of a PTSD Awareness special. This is a two part series, so hang on for the ride; it’s well worth it.

 

Genelle Chaconas is genderfluid, queer, feminist, over 30, underemployed, an abuse survivor, and proud of it. They earned their BA in Creative Writing from California State University Sacramento (2009), and their MFA in Writing and Poetics, graduate of Naropa University (2015). Their first chapbook is Fallout, Saints and Dirty Pictures (little m Press, 2011), and they are currently at work on a new chapbook. Their work has been accepted in over 50 publications. They are currently at work on their first full length work. They are a volunteer submission reader at Tule review, and they hosted Red Night Poetry. They plan to run their own literary publication in the future.

Read about Genelle's experience with paternal abuse on bettysbattleground.com

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Healing Words: The Power Of Touch

A guest writer series about the ways we heal-on bettysbattleground.com

Hello! Welcome to Friday. I am extra excited about today’s guest post. If you have ever visited my guest post info page, you may have seen mention of a series called “Healing Words.” For the past several months I have been gathering stories about healing and recovery from trauma survivors and professionals; today, I begin sharing them with you!

“Healing Words” opens with Stephanie, who lost her brother suddenly to a mysterious illness while he was overseas. In her story she talks about the intense, life-changing grief she experienced, and then walks us through her process of recovery. Now, she is a healer, who uses a combination of massage and talk therapy to help others struggling with trauma and grief.

At some point, grief touches all of us. It comes in many forms. We grieve the loss of  those we love, or our pets who have served as our companions for years; we grieve losing an ability due to injury or trauma; we grieve relationships that fail, and potential which does not come to fruition. Grief comes in many forms, and coping with grief is a normal human function. Sometimes, however, loss is sudden and traumatic, and grief overwhelms us. When that happens, we need help moving on. Moving on does not mean forgetting those whom we lost, and it does not mean “getting over” the loss; it means finding a place of peaceful acceptance within ourselves so that we may continue to live. Read Stephanie’s story to learn one approach to healing and moving forward from traumatic grief.

Stephanie HarrisRead a guest post on healing from traumatic grief by Stephanie Harris on bettysbattleground.com is a New Zealand-based writer and coach, specializing in grief. Raised in South Africa, she graduated with honors from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town with a diploma in somatology. She is a professional bodywork therapist who incorporates her knowledge of the physiological impact of grief into work with clients and ongoing research. Stephanie’s career has taken her around the globe, from the Maldives to Iceland, and Cambodia to the British Isles. She has swum with dolphins in the Caribbean and held baby crocodiles in the Amazon. Now, she lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her golden Labrador retriever, Knox. In addition to coaching individuals and groups, Stephanie is a frequent public speaker and contributor to numerous online outlets. Learn more about her writing and research at www.StephanieHarrisCoaching.com.

Read how one woman turned to therapeutic massage to help heal from her brother's sudden death-on bettysbattleground.com

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