Back in June of 2010, Margie lost her son Mitchell to an overdose. She literally went to bed one night and woke up the next morning to her son passed on the couch, TV still on, with the remote dangling from his cold hand.
Needless to say Margie’s world was changed forever that day.
During our conversation the topic of stigmas toward addiction came up. And Margie confessed that when she found out that her son Mitchell was using drugs she kept the horrors to herself.
She was afraid to tell her family and friends, so she lied to them about Mitchell being in jail.
She was so overwhelmed by the shame, brought on by stigmas, that instead of reaching out for the help she needed she tried to figure everything out on her own.
Margie’s story is tragic and unfortunately, not common in the world of addiction. Stigmas keep families silent and afraid at a time when they need to be more vocal than ever.
My conversation with Margie got me thinking about stigmas and the number of times I’ve kept quiet about my life – about my brother’s being in jail, my mother being an alcoholic, my cousin dying of an overdose and my abusive stepfather – out of fear of what other people might think.
And then I had to ask myself, how much could those stigmas and other people’s judgments really hurt me if I’ve already experienced the worst in my life?
The worst being, my abusive parents, an overdose in my family and my wrecked relationship with my brothers.
I asked Margie the same question. The worst already happened to her, she lost her son. So in that context could there really be any stigma out there, or anyone’s negative opinion that could do any more damage?
Compared to the loss of her son, does any of that nonsense even matter?
She and I both agreed that the answer to that one was a big, fat NO!
I’ve got more on Margie’s story coming up in an exciting new project I’ve taken on with mothers who’ve lost a child to an overdose. Keep your eyes open for that one in the next several weeks.
In the meantime, in an effort to step out from under the weight of stigmas and other people’s judgements, I’ve pulled together three of my most revealing essays about my life.
Below I share about why I can’t look in the mirror, the time my mom held me by my ankles out of a window and my suicide attempt.
My hope is that these essays will inspire you to ask yourself – If I’ve already experienced the worst, what harm can some old, outdated stigmas about addiction, domestic violence or mental illness do to me?
If you feel inspired to do so, please share this post with a friend or family member that needs a boost right now. I’ll bet they’ll be happy you did. Comments on the blog are also welcome.
Now onto the essays –
Why I Can’t Look In The Mirror – The abuse my alcoholic mother inflicted on me makes it impossible to look in the mirror.
No Matter Where I Go, Mom Is There – The earliest memory I have of my mother isn’t a pretty one.
The Suicide Option – The events that lead to my last suicide attempt.
Featured image courtesy of lovebryan.com