I’ve been blogging as Still Hopeful Mom for more than two years now. Using this pseudonym has enabled me to express myself completely without reservation. I’ve told the story of my son’s spiral into mental illness. I’ve documented the ups and downs of our turbulent relationship. And I’ve even revealed my own diagnosis of Bipolar II. But hiding behind the name Still Hopeful Mom has also continued to perpetuate the stigma that got me here in the first place. The stigma that led my son to make the choices that landed him in prison.
And I’m tired of hiding.
Recently, I revealed myself to my virtual friends on Facebook. This was a big deal for me. I was worried about how my colleagues and students’ parents would take the news. I feared they would judge me unfit in the classroom. I worried people would turn their back on me.
I was very wrong.
The outpouring of support was unbelievable. People posted thoughtful, encouraging responses to me. They sent me lovely private messages. And they thanked me for making myself public. No more hiding.
My name is Annie Slease. I am Still Hopeful Mom.
Below are two pictures: My son and me when he was a toddler followed by my son and me the last time we were together, Christmas 2012. He was arrested three months later and has been incarcerated ever since. We hope to spend this Christmas together upon his release late this year.