And about other things, but as a person whose story includes many years of deep clinical depression with constant thoughts of suicide and quite a few years now in recovery and mostly free of it, I have no problem making this commitment. I hope someday to tell my story in a book – but so far have not followed through on that. I found out about this project a little while ago reading a post from Not A Punk Rocker. I think it’s a stellar idea.
From what I am gathering, the Blog For Mental Health Project blog and it’s mother-blog Canvas of the Minds intend to bring together various voices who blog on mental health related topics in order to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health. They are just getting started for this year – and they feature a blog-roll of participating blogs, where I imagine you could find many a kindred soul. I encourage you to head over there for a look.
“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”
A Little about my story – As most of you know, I spent years in the dark hole of deep depression, with constant unbidden thoughts of suicide gradually gelling further and further into an actionable plan, more with each episode, and I thought my life was hopeless. I believed I was just born deeply flawed such that no one could ever really love me – and the pain was unbearable. I had actually been a therapist actively working to help other people – but was somehow blind to my own illness.
How would I not know that constant thoughts of suicide indicated I needed more than a weekly therapy session? I never told anybody about those thoughts because they were locked safely away when I was “functioning” at work etc. It’s like they were compartmentalized.
Even my therapist never knew- because we talked about the problems IN my life, not the underlying cause of those problems – my depression. I did finally see a doc, but I was put on the wrong antidepressant for me (an SSRI) and I got much worse. I couldn’t function in any area of my life. The fog was so thick I saw no way out. I was lucky enough to be presented with an inpatient treatment program for depressed professionals at Sierra Tucson, though when I checked in I told them my case was hopeless, but promised I would not suicide while I was there.
I was there for 3 weeks – and about 10 days in, I felt the lights come on. There is no other way to describe it. So luckily my new meds were going to help – but I was hardly out of the woods. The fog lifted part-time, but now I was raw and open and very vulnerable. I still had a lot of work to do on myself, but with some new information and tools and a support group, I did gradually heal.
My marriage was over, I could not go back to my job (because I could not face it), so, after a very intense year in ministerial school where I crowded three years of study into one, I sold my home in Oregon back to my ex, moved to Tucson because I loved it here and started over. For the first 5 years I had episodes of what I called “breakthrough depression,” when I would sit and cry for absolutely no discernable reason. I did a lot of work on self-love, on forgiveness and self-forgiveness, on positive self-talk (that’s a forever battle but easier now), on releasing the stuff I had been holding in my body for years, and lots more.
Today I live a peaceful and happy life. I have a home, a 20 year relationship that works very well for both of us. I changed careers and wrote for a living, I raised a couple of extra kids who’ve since left home – then I got fibromyalgia and semi-retired. I’m working to overcome the chronic pain and brain fog and fatigue with a gluten-free vegetarian diet and it’s mostly working.
I want people who are depressed to know there is hope, though not magic.I want to shout it from the rooftops. I want families to know that their mother/father/don/daughter/spouse has an illness, no different than diabetes or heart disease, that can be deadly but can also be treated.
So, I easily make the pledge to blog for mental health. Maybe you will join me?