I have been asked more than once about my reasons for blogging about my challenges. People have wondered why and how I can be so open about my own struggles of the last few years when, for most, it is an intensely private issue.
Well, it’s actually quite simple. I write and post because it helps me. It helps me to think that people might read it and understand a little bit about what I deal with daily. It is also cathartic – as I write I release emotions that, otherwise, might emerge suddenly and with great force. It is better for me to release the emotions and the doubts, issues, anxieties, etc this way because it helps me to understand myself as much as I hope it may help others to understand me. It helps me to think that there is someone else out there trying to make heads and tails of their own situations and emotions that might read it and find something that helps them or makes them feel less alone.
I don’t write every day, because there are some days when I don’t need to express myself. I have good days and bad days, like anyone, and reserve my writing for times when I feel an almost overwhelming need. What comes out in my blog is a stream of consciousness – everything that is in my head at that moment – and I never revise anything before posting. It is raw and real because that is what my emotions feel like, and to revise it in any way would be to hide from the reality of my thoughts.
If I am wondering about what people think of me, or what they may have been told, it is in the post. If I am thinking about my family or friends, it is in there. If I am thinking about my past, my present, or my future, it is in there.
I lost a lot in my battle. I ended up in hospital for 15 days because of how overwhelmed I was by it all. I lost my marriage. I spent 5 months on Sick Leave because I had to learn to function again. I lost friends and found myself feeling like a pariah in certain situations. I felt uncomfortable in places that had been my refuge in times past. I have felt completely alone and lost.
And so I blog. I blog to express my fears and my challenges. I blog to shine some light on mental health issues and to de-stigmatize mental illnesses. I blog because I want to control my narrative, instead of letting others do it for me. I blog to get my truth out rather than having people wonder and not understand. I blog for me, but I also blog for those who can’t – those who cannot share their pain, or who do not know how to express it (I’ve been there, too), or who fear the stigma of being identified as struggling with their mental health.
A while ago, a friend approached me to tell me how much he appreciated my posts because they helped him understand the issues he faces and those a family member struggles with daily. He encouraged me to keep doing it and to keep being an advocate for mental health. He made me feel like I wasn’t lying to myself – that I had something to offer. I could help myself and others. He made me feel like I was a positive influence for even just one person.
And so, I blog.