This Mother’s Day, I am happy to support mothers like me, parents for whom mental illness can be an ever-present or overwhelming piece of the parenting experience. I wrote an essay about my own experience parenting through bouts of anxiety and PTSD episodes and held onto it for many months before reaching out to Stigma Fighters to see if they might want to publish it for Mother’s Day. I held onto it because stigma makes it difficult to speak up. Stigma Fighters knows this. They recognize the ways we are silenced and
Trigger warning for abuse. As a survivor of childhood abuse, it’s hard for me to accept compliments. Many people describe me as sweet and sensitive. I often deflect these compliments by crediting my mother or even the abuse I suffered. It’s easy to be nice to people so that you can feel that you’re not like your abuser. The problem is, though, I am sometimes like my abuser. I try to warn people about the beast within me, and they often refuse to believe me. Very few people have seen
I want to tell you how hard it is to know why I am this way. How hard it is to self-advocate. Admit I need to walk away. Tell you why I am this way. Tell you I am this way. Tell you I am triggered, or having a panic attack, a flashback, or any other trauma response.
I have a difficult relationship with Memorial Day. On the one hand, I have family and friends that were veterans of the United States military. On the other, I have family and friends that were targeted by the United States military. On that first hand, I have family and friends who regret being part of the military even while they commemorate their brotherhood with those who served beside them. On the other, I have family and friends who would not be joyful and free in their lives without U.S. military
I was the child of a difficult situation. I write most frequently about abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, and survival. However, I take care to infuse everything I write with the glow of hope that I learned from the first person who decided to interrupt the cycle: my mother. It may seem strange that I can write about physical and emotional trials and gratefulness in the same breath, but the truth is I am grateful. My experiences helped create who I am today. I am strong, full of courage and I
As Winter approaches, I am discovering the strength of my relationship with light. Winter is the season of quiet. Leaves have long since fallen from the trees, life is slowing, and the daylight is capped by late and early calls for sleep. While the ground has not yet hardened with cold, I feel the same foreboding that arrives every Winter. I am lost. I am trapped. I must wait, clawing at the ceilings as I search desperately for sunlight. In Summer, you will find me outside, face upturned during the
Three years ago, I sat in my therapist’s office with my face in my hands. I wanted to look anywhere but at her because she was looking at me, she was waiting for me to release whatever had me wound up and fidgeting. “I’ve been reading the news,” I finally said. Our sessions often opened with a long silence followed by me trying to connect with her life, her as a person, her as someone who was not me. She drew her eyebrows together in concern. “How long has this been
On 9/11, my husband and I stood in our living room. The TV was on and I remember trying to turn my body to force my eyes to look away. The second plane hit. My husband’s hand covered his mouth. He felt too far away. I couldn’t move closer. One of us was saying, “Those people. All the people. Why would anyone do this?” At that time, we were learning to be practicing Muslims. I helped my university Muslim Student Union set up interfaith dinners where we sat with college students and