A lot of people ask me why I blog about my mental health. It is after all very personal and something that some suffers find very difficult. Letting so many people – the majority of whom are strangers – know about the most difficult parts of your life and giving them the ability to judge and ridicule you can seem extremely daunting. But to be honest I never really thought of it like that. After a lifetime of suffering, I just felt the urge to communicate. Strangers can’t say things that previous friends haven’t already said and even if they did choose to be mean and rude it doesn’t matter to me.
More an more people are beginning to speak up about their experiences. Charities are trying to end stigma and normalise mental health issues. Everyone has mental health whether it’s good or bad and it’s important to know how to look after it. By sharing my story and adding to the voices already discussing the topic I can do my bit to make like easier for those who experience mental health issues that come after me.
It’s more than that though. I used to feel ashamed. As though there was something fundamentally wrong with me and because of that people had a right to ignore me, treat me like an outcast and walk all over me. That hasn’t completely gone away – in my darker moments that still creeps back in but I got tired of feeling that way. I realised that I do have the right to be heard and get the help I need. That there wasn’t anything ‘bad’ about the way I was feeling and that the only way I could change that feeling was to talk about it to anyone that would listen. I’m sure some people are sick of hearing it or cynically believe that it’s used as an excuse – trust me it’s not. I’ve done a lot of pretty rubbish things whilst ill that I am genuinely ashamed of but I’m trying to get to a place where I can heal and blogging is a part of that.
Being able to reflect on things that have happened and then articulate them in a way that others can understand has really helped me manage my mental health. Luckily so far I haven’t had any nasty or rude comments (touch wood) and have met some incredibly inspiring and supportive people through Twitter chats and online mental health communities. It’s made me feel less alone, has helped me through some rough times and showed me that my story can sometimes help others and I’m not always just nattering away to myself. Part of my studying this year has actually been on occupational storytelling which is essentially what I’ve just described and has reinforced that I’m on the right track whether people read or not.
I’d love to know what motivates others to blog – feel free to share in the comments