Friday, March 16, 2018

On Calling A Relationship Quits

For all of you who believe those who get divorced were too eager to call it quits and throw in the towel on our relationships because everything isn’t “perfect” is some food for thought.

There are those of us who are survivors of intimate partner physical, mental, & even sexual abuse, who divorced out of necessity and we have some thing to say...

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, it's not about love anymore, it's about power & control.

It's waking up to a half hearted apologetic breakfast & flowers from your partner who'd put his hands around your neck in anger the night before.

It's receiving phone calls & messages asking where you are & demanding how long you will be.

It's not cuddling in bed until both of you fall asleep, peacefully at night. It's laying in bed or on the couch at night, feeling wide awake & anxious following a fight. Pondering suicide as a way out.

It's about holes in walls & items getting broken when they're angry.

It's a life lived in fear of when they're going to loose their temper again & how bad it will be.

It's someone who gives you threatening or  dirty looks when they don't like what you have to say & says demeaning/embarrassing things about you in front of friends.

It's marriage counseling where they silently sulk & make empty promises to change.

It's them stonewalling you & refusing to take responsibility for the hurt they've caused, & even turning the blame. Confusion & shame, leaving us wondering what we did wrong, never finding resolution.

It's coming home to the same person, everyday, because they refuse to let you go & shame, guilt, & threaten you for even trying.

It's feeling torn in two because you love them in spite of the abuse, but you can't take it anymore. Leaving someone you love & yet fear is hard, but the healing you gain is one of the best things you'll ever experience while traveling down the road to freedom.

Butterfly Angel is a survivor of a 5 year volatile marriage, having gained freedom in April of 2012.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Every Child A Wanted Child?

 Yes, I'm still sharing my thoughts here from time to time...

Once the rallying cry of the pro-choice movement, the slogan “Every child a wanted child” still makes an appearance from time to time. I am opposed to this phrase as an arbitrary & subjective label applied to a child based on the adult’s feelings (& consequently behavior) toward the child, rather than representing the child’s intrinsic value itself. By applying arbitrary labels & subjective value to a child, we perpetuate a culture in which humans, specifically children are  valued & treated in the manner of which they are labeled, in which the case of labeling children “unwanted” we perpetuate the poor treatment of these children based on their status in the adult’s eyes (A good example of this is Dave Peltzer’s biography “A Child Called It”*) Arbitrary values can also be used to demean humans to the status of commodities, wherein people are seen as no more than property to be sold, used, & disposed of, for example such as in the crimes of human trafficking and slavery. Also in past history, we once assigned arbitrary values to humans, in order to justify the poor treatment of certain populations.  See what I’m getting at? Every person is born with intrinsic value, dignity, & worth , which can't be measured or assigned based on others subjective view, for if we do, this is a slippery slope we begin to go down.

*As demonstrated in Mr. Peltzer's situation, resulting from an intended pregnancy isn’t any guarantee against a child becoming the victim of abuse. Once again, it has nothing to do with the child itself, but rather the adults chosen attitudes & behaviors towards the child. It is the adults who need to change their attitudes & behaviors towards children.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mental Health Stigma on Social Networking

Over the last couple of years "status tag lists" have become popular, circulating around Facebook. Status tag lists are a type of mad gab game, where you use the Facebook tag feature with a friend's name (instead of a random word). Most status tag lists are innocent fun & even some memes witty, however there are a few circulating out there which cross over into tasteless humor. I am specifically referring to those which innocently appear to be poking fun at "insanity" & "crazies" but in reality are perpetuating false and/or outdated stereotypes of mental health patients & contributing to stigma.

One such meme:

Status Tag Lists:
The first one begins like this:

You're in a mental hospital. Use the first six people on your friends list.
  • Person who drove you crazy:
  • Person who signed you in:
  • Your doctor:
  • Person in the corner drooling on themselves:
  • Your roommate:
  • Person who helps break you out:
The second one begins with:

"You and I end up in an Insane Asylum together. Using a sentence what would you say to me?"

with Facebook friends completing the sentence. An acquaintance posted this status today and received the following replies, which can be sorted into categories which unfortunately reflect the ignorance & stigma still in existence today towards mental health conditions:

Making Fun of Individuals with Serious Mental Health Disorder:
Nonsensical statements referring to & poking fun of "disorganized thinking" and "delusional thoughts" both  symptoms associated with schizophrenia, a serious mental health disorder.
"Peanut Butter cockroach" 
"Listen to the aardvarks... their secret lies in the carrot soup."
 "I'm a pretty princess lol"

To the individuals with these symptoms, the symptoms are no joke, they can be overwhelming and frightening at times, even to the point of disrupting their lives & relationships with others.

Making Light Of Mental Health Disorders and the Seriousness of Need for Hospitalization:
Treating Hospitalization as If It's a Vacation:
"I knew we would end up here but I'm glad we are together"
"did you bring the music"
"Welcome back!"
"I knew we'd eventually end up here; good thing this isn't my first rodeo!!!" 
"Can I have your red pill?
"Told you it was a short drive to crazy!"
"lets find sexy men to play house lol"
"Did u bring your camera"
"It was bound to happen, it's in our genes"
"So [name redacted] pranks finally made u crazy enough and you snapped huh?"
"Well, isn't this some CRAZY sh*t?"
"I know you should be here, but why am I here!"
"Do you like strawberry or grape jelly?"
"To hell with that diet...lets eat!"
"This is a vacation"

lthough my experiences on an inpatient unit weren't bad, it's hardly a vacation, you have little freedom & are on a structured hospital food, need I say more?

Making Fun Of Individuals with Mental Disability

"dont lick that window anymore?"

This derived from the slang "window licker" which originates from focusing on and stereotyping one particular behavior of some individuals with intellectual/mental disability and is considered as offensive as calling someone "retarded" You'd find it pretty offensive if someone referred to your brother or sister as "retarded" wouldn't you? Then don't do it to others. Treat others as you'd want to be treated.

References to Escape:
"Let's get out of here"
"How are we escaping?"

I think this refers back to a sordid time in mental health history when doctors struggled to understand the cause of and treat serious mental disorders such as psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety disorders as well as developmental disabilities and therefore attempted a variety of treatments and used restraints which would be considered cruel and inhumane by modern standards (sources 1 and 2). This along with mixed with Hollywood movie portrayals such as those in One Flew Over the Coo-coo's Nest are what forms this colloquialism and negative attitude. Mental health treatment and care has improved dramatically (in countries such as the U.S. and Canada) and while mental health facilities are no fun place to be, many patients seek care voluntarily for the sake of their health. The issue of patients prematurely leaving both voluntary and involuntary treatment is becoming an issue due to the influence of the anti-psychiatry movement in the U.S. and abroad (source).

 Crime & Mischief:
"I told you badddddddd idea ." 
"I should have known not to listen listen to you!!"
"Look what you got us into now"

Another misconception. Nope, sorry hi-jinks aren't going to get you an involuntary stay in a mental health facility.  Legally, there are typically two ways it can happen: 
1.) The treatment is court-ordered. (For example, if the person is brought into the legal system, and a judge decides a psychiatric treatment center is more appropriate than jail.) 
 2) The treatment is imposed by a mental health professional when a patient is deemed a “serious risk of physical harm to themselves or others in the near future.” In both scenarios, it is supposed to be considered a “last resort.”

Talk About Straightjackets:
 "This new coat is so comfy. Lol"

The negative connotations of the straitjacket as an instrument of torture come from the earlier Victorian era of medicine. Physical restraint was then extensively used both as treatment for mental illness and as a means of pacifying patients in understaffed asylums. Wearing an institutional straitjacket for long periods of time can be quite painful. Blood tends to pool in the elbows, where swelling may then occur. The hands may become numb from lack of proper circulation, and due to bone and muscle stiffness the upper arms and shoulders may experience excruciating pain." (source) Not so funny anymore, is it? 

Talk About Psychiatric Medications:
'we'd probably be drugged so probably something like this "fyhblohdsfhnnl" '

You may be thinking about TV and movie portrayals of out of control patients being given knock-out shots and of patients sitting in chairs on a ward semi-conscious and drooling. Although highly sensationalized in TV & movies, prior to the 1960s, there were limited medications available to serious mental health disorders and of those which were available, they tended to have high rates of side effects such as sleepiness. However, since then, dozens of newer and better medications which are effective, have been developed, with fewer side effects. Still, yes sometimes those experiencing mania or psychosis need those older sedatives or anti-pscyhotics to help even out their moods, as a last resort when other newer drugs have been tried & are ineffective. Still, weighed against alternative of serious symptoms of their disease, these medications, when taken properly can  change the lives of people with mental health concerns for the better and may make other kinds of treatment more effective.

Although mentioned in fun, such humor is hurtful & contributes towards stigma for individuals w/ mental illness & their families.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Refuting the Pro-Choice "Forced Gestation" Argument & Additional Thoughts

I recently read a well thought-out secular pro-life article in response to the pro-choice "forced gestation" argument which can be summed up as saying: opposition to & restriction of abortion is akin to forcing women to continue pregnancies they don't want/forcing women to birth children they don't want & in the more extreme pro-choice viewpoint: akin to treating women as nothing more than brood mares. Haven't heard this argument? Well then you haven't met the likes of the mainstream online pro-choice community over at RH Reality Check. But I digress, the secular pro-life article I'm referring to can be read here:

I thoroughly agree with the premise of this article & the inherently flawed logic in the pro-choice "forced gestation" argument. In addition, to argue that women are inherently unequal due to our biology & unable to fully participate in society unless we deny our femininity & alter our biology (by chemically sterilizing ourselves or aborting our off-spring) in order to gain equality is to treat women as inherently second class citizens & seems to fly in the face of what our feminist fore mothers believed. Rather women should be truly valued for our traits as individuals with intrinsic value, not who we have to become to be valued or accepted as equal (& this also could be said of sexual orientation, skin color, appearance, economic status, cultural background, or religious beliefs).

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spreading Awareness About Down Syndrome

Rachael's Note: March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day (named for Trisomy 21, the condition which causes Down Syndrome). The diagnosis of Down syndrome often strikes fear and dread in an expectant mother's and father's heart. The Down syndrome diagnosis often brings forth images of mentally handicapped individuals unable to take care for themselves and partake in life in any real way, and the need to care for their child for the rest of their life. Also, many people still view Down Syndrome as "terminal illness" like cancer or heart disease, and the individuals with this condition "defective" or "broken." These and other misconceptions about Down syndrome are often based on worse-case scenarios, misperceptions, sterotypes, and ignorance, and further perpetuate these fears. I have been working in direct care for 7 years and have met and worked with individuals with a variety of developmental disabilities. Today, I will be sharing information, based on my own knowledge/experience as well as from professional/parent resources, to debunk many of the misperceptions and stereotypes about Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome it is a developmental disability. Down syndrome is a genetic condition that causes delays in physical and intellectual development. While there is no cure for Down syndrome, there are many treatments available for the problems associated with Down syndrome. Approximately 40% of the children have congenital heart defects. Some of the heart conditions require surgery immediately after birth/in early childhood, while others only require careful monitoring. Children with Down syndrome have a higher incidence of infection, respiratory, vision and hearing problems as well as thyroid and other medical conditions. However, with appropriate medical care most children and adults with Down syndrome can lead healthy lives. The average life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome is 55 years, with many living into their sixties and seventies. Unfortunately, for individuals with Down Syndrome, there is a higher chance of developing dementia and Alzheimer's, however this doesn't mean every individual will develop it.

Also, most people with Down syndrome have only mild to moderate mental retardation. More important than IQ scores is the fact that all individuals with Down syndrome are capable of learning. Most children with Down syndrome in the United States are “mainstreamed” into regular schools. They attend regular classes for some subjects and attend special classes for other subjects and continue to earn a certificate of completion or graduate from high school. A large percentage of adults with Down syndrome live semi-independently in supported living homes and assisted living facilities. Adults with Down syndrome often hold jobs and have romantic relationships. Some high school graduates with Down syndrome participate in post-secondary education. Many adults with Down syndrome are capable of working in the community, but some require a more structured environment, such as a supervised workshop.

It's important to remember that individuals with Down Syndrome are people too. They enjoy various hobbies and activities and have individual likes and dislikes like you and I. Also, people with Down syndrome experience a full range of emotions such as sadness, anger and happiness & they respond to positive expressions of friendship and they are hurt and upset by inconsiderate behavior, just like everyone else.

Disability rights organizations, care providers, and individuals and their families are seeking to educate the public and bring about awareness about Down Syndrome so that better treatments can be found, to lend to more education and understanding of the condition, and bring about awareness.

For more information on Down Syndrome and to listen to families and individuals with Down Syndrome share their insight and experiences, please visit:

Room for More: World Down Syndrome Day

Offers scientific research, information, education, and suuport to parents and families of children with Down Syndrome as well as awareness and education for the medical professionals and the general public. Written by parents of a child with Down Syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society Offers advocacy, outreach, education, and support and resources for families, parents, and medical professionals. Helpline: 1-800-221-4602

Support Organization for Families of Trisomy, a nonprofit volunteer organization offering support for parents who have had or are expecting a child with a chromosome disorder and education to families and professionals interested in the care of these children.

Recommended Down Syndrome Sites on the Internet
Compiled by Len Leshin, M.D.

Hidden Treasures: The Trisomy 21 Journey
Parents from all around the world share their stories.

Video: Dreams
Dreams features children and adults who have Down syndrome talking about their dreams and what they're proud of in their lives. This fun and inspirational video made by Scott and Julia Elliott celebrates the work of the National Down Syndrome Society and the larger Down syndrome community.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Letter to Abortion Providers

Today, March 10th is National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. Here are my thoughts in a letter to abortion providers (doctors, nurses, & clinic staff).

Dear abortion providers,
Although you ment well & were trying to help, there are many women who've been hurt by their abortion(s) in addition to those who've benefited.
As you may know, an abortion is often a short-term fix to long-term problem(s) such as poverty, homelessness, & limited education. Please re-consider your work & let's work together to find other ways to better address these issues & work together to strengthen & empower women. 
A pro-life feminist

Posted via Blogaway

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Taboo...Talking About Emotional Abuse

Domestic Violence Awareness Month
This is an issue which hits close to home for me and I'd like to share about my experience in a volatile and abusive relationship and the challenges I faced...but please understand this is difficult for me to talk about, although it can be cathartic and healing.

Verbal and emotional abuse is often occurs behind closed doors and leaves no visible scars (although the negative emotional and mental impact can be devastating).

I was married in volatile relationship for four years and we were together for a total of almost 12 years. We began dating in highschool, he  was 19, I was 16. He asked me to prom and we fell head over heels for each other. The first few years were great, we were so in love. He was a sweet, sensitive guy with a good sense of humor. We went on dates to the movies, out for frozen yogurt, dinners at each other's houses. We wrote love poems & cards to each other & slow danced to our favorite songs. Somewhere along the way things began to change. Love and affection became indifference & resentment. In marriage he was not the kind, sensitive boyfriend I'd been dating in highschool.

Looking back, now I see how the changes slowly happened & the red flags: Once in college, I was playfully tapping him to get his attention (looking back, immature, I know) & instead of asking me to stop when he was annoyed, he ignored me & let his irritation build up until he finally turned & slapped me across the face. I was so humiliated because we were in public at the student center & yet looking back I feel like I deserved it. Another time, we were having a disagreement over something on the way to church & he proceeded to then ignore me & walk ahead when I wanted to talk it out. I got frustrated by his ignoring me & his "whatever" attitude (which I now recognize as stonewalling or "the silent treatment") & I'm ashamed to admit this, I hit him across the back with my Bible case to get his attention. This is when our relationship began to decline, however nothing else  concerning  happened for a few years...
In 2006, I was diagnosed with major depression & made a couple suicide attempts as doctors & nurse practitioners struggled to find the right medications. I would definitely say these events had a damaging impact on our relationship & he came to resent me (or rather the way I treated myself) & began to emotionally distance himself. Still, he was supportive & remained by my side through it all.
A year went by, and my depression was finally under control, we had been together in a serious relationship for 7 years with family (& myself) asking when we we're going to get married, when he finally proposed to me. A few months later, I was helping him pack and move from his old apartment into the new two-bedroom apartment we would live in after the wedding, when he playfully (I think) slapped me on the back, which was hard enough it stung & caught me off guard, and I told him "Hey, that hurt," but instead of apologizing he made excuses. I felt upset and was nearly in tears, surprise by what had happened & his dismissing  response, when his parents saw I was upset and then went and spoke with him after I told them what had happened. Unfortunately that incident was a predictor of what was to come.

I can remember the first time serious verbal abuse occured in our relationship. We had been married for just 3 months. I was laying on the couch, in a major depressive episode and almost in a catatonic state. I had been unhappy since our honeymoon (when he ignored my requests to stop & rest while we shopped/walked a tourist destination). It was hardly what I imagined marriage to be, he didn't always show respect towards me and communication between us was tense. He came home from working late and I was vaguely aware of his presence, paralyzed by severe depression. When I didn't respond to his greeting or his attempts to get my attention, he pleaded to know what was wrong and when I didn't answer, in frustration, he got in my face and yelled "What's your f****** problem, b****!?" in a demanding tone. This shocked me out of my stupor. I was blindsided, shocked, and deeply hurt and began to cry. I didn't even know how to react. The first words uttered out of my mouth were "I want a divorce" and I think equally shocked, he replied "No, no, no" and at that I point bawling, I told him I was depressed. This wasn't the way it was suppose to be, was it, with your spouse yelling hurtful things, when you needed him to be supportive? At that point, he took me into his arms and comforted me & apologized. He was the source of my pain and my comfort. Another time, I was taking an evening shower, getting ready for work, when I thought I heard him calling for me from the living room of our apartment. He continued to call for me, so I actually stepped out of the shower, with conditioner still in my hair and went to ask what was wrong, only to find out he was upset because the computer showed our bank account was overdrawn. It was after hours, there was nothing we could do until the next day, besides, he couldn't of waited until I got out of the shower to tell me? Another time, we'd had an argument & I asked him to leave me be in the bedroom (so I could cool off) but after telling him to leave me alone a couple of  times, he he attempted to come in anyways (why wouldn't he respect my need for space) & I yelled at him to get out, attempting to push him out of the bedroom & he pushed back, causing me to trip over our still unpacked honeymoon suitcase on the floor & fall onto the bed. I then kicked at him as he approached me, to which he verbally rebuked me & I told him I just want to be left alone (he finally left the room, with me huddling on the floor on other side of the bed wanting to just be left alone). 
This all in our first year of marriage. After that, no other major incidents occurred for a while but I had a sense things weren't right. I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, but I found myself beginning to try to fix him & our relationship. 
When I tried to address my concerns with him he would get defensive and shut down the conversation or visibly uncomfortable & change the subject, leaving me unsure as how to respond and frustrated my concerns went unheard.
(More coming as I feel up to writing)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Craft Project!

My dad and I recently completed a Father-Daughter project we had been working on in the evenings. He taught me basic carpentry skills while we turned an ordinary cat scratching post into a cat tree house (recycling extra scrap carpet, wood, & rope we had lying around). It was a ten hour project and every bit worth it, they love it!

Light Blogging/Tweeting This Week

Just to let my readers know, I'll be doing little blogging/tweeting this week, as I'm working 30 plus hours, preparing for my younger sister's upcoming wedding (which I'm a bridesmaid in), and visiting with family from out of state and country...I'm staying busy!

Friday, July 5, 2013

8 Reasons Why I Oppose Abortion (and you should too)...

1)One does not need to be religious to oppose abortion on the grounds that abortion ends the life of an new, individual, human being (this is scientific fact)

2) Abortion providers are poorly regulated and inspections/regulations are not enforced

3) Abortion Enables sexual abuse to continue undetected

4)Abortion enables irresponsible men to avoid taking responsibility for pregnancies& children they helped to create.

5) In addition, the whole abortion rights argument was built on a lie. First of all, Norma McCorvey, was an low-income woman who did not want an abortion but was lied to & used by the pro-choice lawyer to garnish sympathy for abortion rights.

6) The coat hanger abortion is a misrepresentation of abortion before legalization, only around 6% of abortions were self-induced (& those which were, were likely to be an acts of desperation & self-injurious behavior rather than empowerment), & the majority were done by reputable physicians in good standing at their offices & inhospitals. In fact, the maternal mortality rate for abortion had started dropping in the years prior to legalization.

7) Elective abortion (for any reason through all nine months) was made legal on the representation of abortion being necessary for rape, incest, & fetal abnormalities, although these only account for less than 3% of all abortion reported in a given year. In other words, it’s always been white, upper-class feminist elitists using disadvantaged individuals in their cause to garnish & protect elective abortion rights for themselves & not caring who they trample on in the process.