On the One Hand - text on palm of hand

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
– Anne Lamott

On the Other Hand - text on palm of hand

we ask that you keep confidentiality for anyone else who may have played a challenging role in your recovery journey. Even if you don’t mention a specific name,  be careful that the identity could not be easily inferred due to an immediate relationship, such as parent, etc.  This includes facilities and/organizations as well as individuals.
– DBSA’s Guidelines for Life Unlimited Stories

Then, there’s this: I have a tendency to exaggerate. I do not lie, but I am known to have a flair for the dramatic. So when my uncle read my piece about my father’s dementia, he became very alarmed, not knowing that my father is still quite sharp. My dad’s definitely still smarter than your average bear (Yogi Bear reference, for those not in the know). Both of my parents are smart cookies. Today, I use clichéd idioms. By the way, I identify with them both, and not just because they are intelligent (yes, I boast). My mother and I share personality characteristics. As a mother, as a mother struggling with a chronic illness, I feel compassion. When I was a teen and a young adult, I was brutal in my disdain for her. Motherhood is a thankless vocation.


35 responses to “Private? No, Not I”

  1. So sorry that Tom’s medical condition has been poor and has eluded diagnosis and effective treatment.

    Many spouses of those of us with mental illness struggle. Loving us is not easy. Have you read the blogger justplainolvic.wordpress.com? His wife has bipolar disorder, and her illness has put a tremendous strain on their marriage.

    I look forward to reading your posts in the New Year. Thank you for your support.

  2. Kitt – You are absolutely right about individual personality playing a part. I had no idea what reception I would receive when I first started blogging about Tom’s illness, mental health issues, the military and other topics I feel strongly about.
    I decided during the time I was away from blogging that my blog would take a slightly different twist in the new year. We’re now facing frustrating medical issues that seem to have nothing to do with Tom’s mental condition, yet doctor’s have been unable to tell us what’s going on. I’m going to be blogging about this openly and honestly.
    I’m also going to be talking more openly about some of the ravages of Bipolar Disorder and what my experiences as Tom’s wife have been. If I don’t put things out there I feel I’ll never have another opportunity.
    As always, this is a terrific post.

  3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Anne Lamott quote!!!!! Thank you for finding that gem! I went to hear her speak in San Francisco, and I was seated behind another of my favorite Bay Area writers, SARK. What a day – two of my fave writers in the same room. I almost passed out! 😉

  4. GREAT quote by Ann Lamott! Such a great writer, that chick. Thanks for sharin’ it! Happy New Year to ya, Kitt!

  5. Individual personality plays a part, as well. Some of us are more open by nature. Others, more private.

  6. Excellent post and subject matter. I firmly believe if we are to have an honest recovery and mental health we must be honest about who we are. Yes, there’s a fine line and what one might interpret as going too far with sharing, another might require more information to see the entirety of who we are.

  7. Fiddle music can be nice. Irish tenors do some lovely singing. Grew up being lulled to (and singing) An Irish Lullaby…

    Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
    Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now, don’t you cry!
    Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li,
    Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, that’s an Irish lullaby.

  8. You no like uilleann pipes? I dislike Scottish bagpipes I have to say. Irish folk music … fiddle comes to mind first.

  9. My fantasy is to get up on a piano wearing a slinky dress and sing jazz standards, so I’ll pass on the Irish folk singer. Bagpipes don’t do it for me.

  10. It is a good and memorable name and if the public speaking doesn’t work out, you could become an irish folk singer, or michael knight’s new irish car. And building a brand is just good forethought and sense.

  11. I would read it, too!

  12. I totally understand why many bloggers remain anonymous. I is a wise decision for most. My personality is open. This is just the way I am, for better or worse.

  13. Please do not take my statement that motherhood is thankless too much to heart. Motherhood is also a great gift. You so deserve the gift. You are blessed. I am so happy for you, Gertie.

  14. Wise. It’s my personality to be open, to have rather poor boundaries, to speak before I think.

  15. Started to get some unwanted attention on Facebook. A couple of direct messages claiming deep love (lol). Ignored and blocked them. So far, so good on my blog. Ever since I first designed a website and registered a URL back in the 90’s, I’ve imagined myself one day creating kittomalley.com. My name is just too Irish to not use. My parents basically named me a stage name. I plan to some day speak publicly, so I’m building something here, I guess I’m building my brand. Sounds terrible, terribly narcissistic, that is, but it’s true.

  16. Thank you, it means a lot to me

  17. Thank you for your support. May i read yours?

  18. Sorry, but I’m going to pass on the bloghop. They can be a great way to increase readership, but they overwhelm me somehow. Used to participate in TToT (Ten Things of Thankful) bloghop, but quit it. Thank you for thinking of me, though.

  19. Hi Meredith I have my survival story on my blog. It really helped to get it out of my head and on “paper”. I would read it if you wrote 🙂

  20. Reblogged this on Speak Through Your Heart and Your Mind Will Follow and commented:
    What do you guys think if I post my story of survival on my blog? Names would be changed but would you read it? Please comment as I’ve been struggling with this decision. Thank you!

  21. It certainly does protect those you love.

  22. Please do. That’s what the reblog button is for. I’m flattered.

  23. I do my best to not provide identifying details in my blog. All names are pseudonyms (and if I can avoid names by saying things like “my therapist”, I do). No locations are referenced, no organizations called by name. My friends and family are aware of where my blog is located, but I would never approve a comment that contains any identifying info.

  24. I love the Yogi Bear reference. Yes, being a mother is a thankless job and I am not a mama yet. I will be in a few months. In the case of anonymity I’ve told my story on my blog however I still remain anonymous. Kitt, as you know Gertie is my nickname I received as a child. Thank you for your support.

  25. I remain anon so as not to alarm nor harm those close to me. And to not share my business with those whose business it isnt.

  26. Cool selfie. And yeah we are hell on our mothers as adolescents. And re privacy, I was always open online about queer stuff etc, the only reason my blog is anon, is that I had a stalker. It’s freaking disempowering tbh, but time will iron it all out. I love your blog.

  27. Hey Kitt! I’m trying to build up my audience for my blog. I thought a bloghop would be a great way to start. I already added you to my blogroll, could you do the same for me? I’ll be making a button for the bloghop and you can put it on your blog that you were part of the blog hop!! Thank you for all the support you’ve given me!

  28. I have tried to be open and honest in my blog but for privacy I have yet to ever say a name or show a personal picture. No one in my family has access to my blog, though many know I write one.

    I think this type of discretion works for me because it allows me to express myself without worrying about repercussions in my personal life.

  29. May i reblog this? Ive been struggling with whether or not to post my story on my blog. I’ve been thinking about starting a new blog that would be password protected and a diary. I’m not sure what to do. I’m already transcribing my journal on my computer. The only thing i could say in favor is that if something were to happen to my computer, i have an online copy of my journal

  30. Motherhood really does change us and our relationships with our own moms. I didn’t respect my mom as a teen, but once I became a mom, she had 100% respect from me. I never realized how hard it was for her.

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