At the beginning of May, I set out on a mental health mission. May being Mental Health Month, I wanted to dedicate a daily post to a condition of, treatment for, and/or living with mental illness. While my life is influenced by my own struggle with depression, and all of my posts are therefore colored by it, I wanted these series of posts to address mental illness and health dead on. And with the exception of one day, I did it! And learned some interesting things in the process.
What a month of blogging about mental illness and health will teach you:
- Focusing on your depression and what it does to you everyday makes you even more depressed
- I may have exhausted not only myself, but also those around me.
- Daily blogging (I had previously blogged approximately two times a week) made this ‘stay-at-home mom’ feel like I had a purpose, a vocation, a “real” job. I had set that schedule for myself and had to stick to it. I made writing – something I truly enjoy – a priority.
- Daily blogging made my house look like a pit. Making my writing a priority pushed nearly everything else to the wayside.
- I need to work on time management 😉
- If you write it, they will come – eventually
- There are a lot of super-supportive people who write incredibly thoughtful comments.
- ‘I feel your pain’, though overused, is not a pile of horseshit. It is extremely powerful to connect with someone who has, indeed, felt your pain.
- That I over-catastrophize (yes, I may be making up words again). I missed one day in my blog-a-day-a-month challenge and a bushel basket of chopped potatoes did not come crashing down upon my head.
- That given the chance to slack, I will. June 1 rolled around and I let the rest of life come rushing back in.
- That, sometimes to a fault, I engage both sides of an argument, an issue, etc. I’m forever writing that big pro/con list in the sky, which may make me come across as wishy-washy, fickle, not knowing my @## from my elbow (compare the two previous points!)
- That achieving balance is to continually adjust on the tightrope of life. Urgh.
- That telling your deepest, darkest fears and foibles makes you incredibly vulnerable – or at least feeling that way.
- That people like to know they’re not the only one feeling that way.
- That one month of posts is not enough to explore all there is to know about mental health and illness.
- That although I started the month of May thinking these posts would be a departure from my usual in that they directly addressed mental health and illness, there really is no separating out depression from everyday life. It’s the constant mantle on our shoulders, sometimes blowing lightly in the wind, sometimes soaking wet with rain.
So, now it’s back to operation ‘normal’, whatever the hell that is. I did miss writing about my crazy adventures and travails as a mom. I did miss writing something “positive” or life affirming (I tried during May, but felt like most of it was heavy). I’ll be glad to write something that doesn’t make you think I loathe my children and the life I lead. But I guess I won’t be giving up writing about mental health and illness; that is woven into the fiber of my being for better or worse. Maybe I’m finally learning to live with that.