Wednesday, November 29, 2017

You are not alone.

I thought I’d share about what taking 2 years away from blogging was like for me. 

It was sorrowful.

I began blogging in September of 2007 in preparation for Michael and Maddie’s arrival. I knew the stories would be funny and gross because that’s motherhood right? I grew up on Erma Bombeck books, my mother would read snippets to me amid gales of laughter. When I was older I read many of them myself—what a talent she was! 

I wrote to sort out my thoughts and to tell a story. I wrote for my kids. I wrote to inform others about Reactive Attachment Disorder. I wrote to find answers. 

I stopped writing in September 2015 when there were no answers, when few believed me, when there was no way to help my daughter and no way out. I like to tell myself, “I was on a break.” and I suppose in a way I was. It was a, “I can’t cope anymore.” kind of break. 

My daughter left our home two years ago, December 9, 2015. She was 10 years old. She will not return. (more on this later) She is in a place where she is doing well.

In these last two years I yearned for creativity but there was nothing I could do. I tried to write but nothing came out. I wanted to tell the story but the story was so overwhelmingly huge that I couldn’t comprehend where to even begin. I thought maybe I could go back to painting but even that eluded me. My mind was a big blank. Big chunks of the previous 6 years (the amount of time my daughter lived with us) was gone. I couldn’t construct linear stories anymore. I couldn’t even speak them. 

I was to soon find out that these are just a few of the symptoms of PTSD.

I worried that people wouldn’t understand what had happened but the vast majority of people I told actually did. I worried that someone would say something horrible and I would come unglued. A few did and I didn’t. Come unglued that is. I explained that children who had been exposed to trauma in their developmental years (0-3 years old) sometimes have been so severely harmed that they abuse their family. Yes, children can be abusive. Surprising to me, most people had a story of their own or a close relative where something similar happened--children who harmed others. Yet another instance where mental illness isn't talked about. 

I told myself, yet again, “You know, there wouldn’t be such a stigma if we could all speak out about this!”

Mental illness IS scary but when I expose it to the light it’s a bit better. My daughter has PTSD and RAD. My son and I have PTSD from living with her abuse. 

What do I want from writing this time around? Yes, I want to sort out my thoughts, a story for my kids, and to teach others about RAD. 

I also write to bring light to the dark corners of families who live with a mentally ill child. 

I write to find connection. 

I expose my story so others can find an inkling of hope. 

I write to offer support. 

I write so that you know that you are not alone.

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