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My name is Annie. I am 41 and battle mental illness every single day while working at a mentally taxing job and overseeing e learning for my son. I’d been miserable my whole life and made it work just fine thankyouverymuch until I became a mom. The way I had been parented made me a bitter angry person, and I was determined to do the work it took to break the cycle of generational dysfunction and undiagnosed mental health issues.

Recovery has been rough. Brene Brown’s work with vulnerability and shame guides this process and does it ever suck. As I worked through my trauma and became a completely different person, my marriage fell apart. I was homeless for a bit while DCFS kept my child from me and I began a new job after admitting myself inpatient to the abruptlyclosed unit at Mercy on Rockton Ave. My recovery has been very cyclical and very all-encompassing these past three and a half years. I am recovery 24/7, and I probably sleep so much because being unconscious is the only break I get. Usually. Sometimes nightmares mess with that peace, too.

My life currently is really rough. I oversee e-learning for my sixth grader, work from home full time at a tough job, and often struggle to do basic things like laundry and dishes. My son’s family does not prioritize mental health like I do, and that provides a unique challenge to be the safe place where my child doesn’t have to be perfect. It means I end up taking a lot of verbal assaults from him in helping him work through issues only I, my close friends and fellow mental health warriors and his therapists help him address. Boundaries are vital, as hard as those can be to put in place with people who refuse to address their own issues.

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