Sunday, July 26, 2015

How Can a Pregnant Teacher Dismiss Postpartum Struggles

Recovery Quote
Some people just won’t take mental illness seriously! Surprisingly one of those people ended up being my psychology professor. You would think a pregnant psychology professor would be more sympathetic towards a new mom suffering from a mild case of postpartum depression, but no, not even a doctor’s note would make her sympathetic to my situation.

Being a new mom in recovery, I wasn’t going to self-medicate to make myself feel better just to keep up with her demands. What’s even more disturbing is that she continually made things harder for me and graded my work like she had a grudge against me. To this day I can only speculate as to what was going through her mind.

Was she thinking that postpartum depression was only temporary and common so it wasn’t that serious? Was she thinking the Doctor only had my word on how I was feeling and what I was experiencing so it was too subjective for her to take seriously? Maybe she thought I was exaggerating the situation or that I didn’t seem ill so it couldn't be that bad.

I guess some people think postpartum depression and other mental illnesses aren’t real. I don't understand why. Everyone's struggle is real for them. Sometimes we don't even know what's going on in our own minds so how are we supposed to explain it to someone else. I didn’t want to share my past with her and explain to her that I was a recovering addict and that made things all the more difficult for me. I seriously thought a doctor’s note would suffice.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Guest Post: Sober Meaning

Guest Post by Bren Murphy 

Silent, they were spread out, their legs splayed across the seats, eyes closed and the sunlight flashing across their faces as the train bore through the countryside.  The two older ladies across the aisle smiled and kept an eye on them as I let my ear on my shoulder and closed my eyes.  Lunchtime. Asleep on the train.

We have just spent the morning in Sydney, visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art and trying to make sense of the installations and being told not to stand too close or touch the artworks.  And then being reminded again.  And even followed by the staff for a while to make sure we got the message.  But it's like that when you're 6 and 8 and in the big city with your dad.  You just want to reach out and touch.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Letter to My Younger Self Before I Was an Addict

strength quote

I was told that writing a letter my younger self  can be a therapeutic way to put things into perspective and move on. Anyone with a tough childhood could probably benefit from this and having dealt with addiction and being a child of an addict I thought this was perfect for me. However, I changed things up a little bit and decided to write a letter to myself before I became an addict.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

How Falling in Love with a Hep C Patient Changed My Life

dont judge quote

I recently had a baby with a wonderful man suffering from hepatitis C, but not too long ago I was one of those people on the outside looking in. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding hep C patients. Even I stigmatized people with hep C without ever realizing it. Depending on the situation, I think most of us probably stigmatize people who are different from us and who don't fit in with the norm. When we don’t belong to a group and we don’t understand something it's easy to make assumptions or agree with society's view.

Even the new student intern who was helping the doctor in the maternity ward was making assumptions and stigmatizing my fiancĂ©e. She automatically assumed that I had hep C just because he had it. She didn’t understand why I’d want to have a baby with him if I didn’t. Why would I risk contracting the virus? Although Hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, one study found that the virus is only transmitted 1 out of every 190,000 instances of sexual contact. ( She made him feel like he was less than human and acted very clearly like he was tainted.

I wasn’t very different from this student at one point in my life I made the same assumptions. I always saw myself as an open minded and accepting person so when I realized I was stigmatizing Hepatitis C patients I was surprised and more than a little embarrassed. Just like addiction, if we've never been touched by it personally it can be difficult to notice when we stigmatize addicts. Seeing it from this perspective has made me realize that when I get stigmatized for being a recovering addict people aren't always being mean. They're probably just ignorant and without knowing any better believe stereotypes or false information.

dont judge quote

Sometimes we don't know how wrong our assumptions are and how much they negatively impact others until we experience it for ourselves. I was an outsider looking in, but once I made the journey from ignorant to sympathetic I was able to practice that in other situations. Having been stigmatized as an addict I became more compassionate but this situation was different because I got to experience both sides. I went from unknowingly stigmatizing them to noticing the stigma someone I loved was going through. I didn't get to experience both sides of the spectrum with addiction because I had parents who struggled with addiction it was always part of my life. Experiencing the shift between being the outsider stigmatizing people and then being the one stigmatized has open my eyes to my prejudice and has made me challenge my everyday assumptions more than ever.

Considering the society we live in my fiancĂ© is very strong and brave for being so open about his illness. When we met it didn’t take long for him to share how he contracted the virus. Being a hemophiliac he got more blood transfusions than most and when the local Blood Drive failed to screen for hepatitis C, even though they had the technology to do so, thousands of people contracted the virus, including him. I know for a fact it's not easy for him to talk about, nevertheless he chooses to be honest.

The struggles he faces are hard enough on their own without having to deal with the discrimination and stigma. People often assume that the hep c had to of been contracted from doing drugs and sharing needles which is often followed by the belief that the addict is to be blame in some way, therefore, less deserving of sympathy. It shouldn't matter how it happened all that matters is that there just like everyone else. No one wants to have an illness, no one's to blame. We should all be treated the same. I understand the contagious part being an issue but just educate yourself if you're not sure of the risk.


Sunday, July 05, 2015

How to Approach a Sponsor

sponsors wanted

Guest Post by Joy Anderson

Find a Sponsor, Get a Sponsor, Call em!  But what the heck does that really mean??

When embarking on this journey of recovery we hear things like, “ find someone who has what you want.”  It takes a minute to find someone you can take the journey with. This is a really big deal,l what you are about to do - take these steps everyone keeps talking about. And trust me they will save your life.  You will be changing  a lot.  A lot of “stuff” is bound to come up.  Your sponsor needs to be someone you can relate to on some level and someone you trust. Sometimes we don’t always find the right sponsor right away.