Today’s Blogging 101 assignment was to answer a writing prompt. The one I selected was “Origins: Why did you start your blog? Is that still why you blog, or has your site gone in a different____________?”
Since I have been diagnosed with mental illness, whether that be depression, bipolar, or whatever, the advice has been to journal. Whenever I have read any self-help books trying to drag myself out of a bad situation or improve my lot in life, the advice has been to journal. As a matter of fact, when I was a teenager, the advice for anything was to journal. “Let it out on paper, you’ll feel so much better!”
When I was young, this literally meant letting it out on paper. We had no computers and not great access to typewriters. But we did have cool journals. We had all sorts. We even had diaries that had little locks and keys so your brother couldn’t get into them. (As if that flimsy little lock would stop anyone from anything.)
I tried several times to keep a diary. It wasn’t too meaningful. Mostly something like “I got an A in Science today. Rachel said hi to me. I want a red sweater.” I would write this kind of serious prose for a few days and then give up. I always envied girls that kept a REAL diary…the kind that had their feelings and their history and everything in there.
I was never much of a writer until I turned about 40 or so. Then I became manic and launched myself into a frenzy of writing a couple of long novels. If I do say so myself, they weren’t bad. The plots might have been a little formulaic, but hey. And one was autobiographical which seriously is still a tear jerker, to me anyhow.
Anyway, I came down from the mania and stopped writing.
I got seriously depressed again for a good two years and could barely move. I tried to drag myself back into recovery. My psychiatrist constantly said to me….”you need to write a book!” I said “no, already did that…have no desire.” Then my psychologist said “you need to journal”.
Now I like my doctors and trust them so I thought about what they said. But I knew a book wouldn’t work and I did not want to just keep a journal. For what? So I could read it? So my kids could find it and read it? So I had to worry about someone getting on my computer?
During my recovery I got involved on a psych website and I “met” another bipolar person. She had a blog. I loved her blog. (I still do.) I loved following what was happening in her life. I loved the way it seemed like she had some “friends” on her blog…people who were on there commenting to her about what she had said. I contacted her and asked her about blogging. One hurdle was the fact that I am not in the least bit able to handle technology. She assured me it wasn’t that bad.
So I set up a blog. It was about as basic as they get. And I started blogging. Of course, no one out there was reading it and it felt sort of funny writing into outer space. But I didn’t care. It was a new way to journal. I could say I was writing and keep everybody off of my back.
Of course my doctors wanted to read it. They weren’t insistent about it, but I said no. I tried to keep my blog fairly anonymous, except for my best friend. I bounce stuff off of her. But I like to be brutally honest about what is happening in my life and it is hard to do that when people you know are watching over your shoulder. So no Facebook or Twitter advertising for me.
I started picking up followers and views. I started getting comments, although that was slow going. (Still is, some days).
Although I started my blog basically to hear myself talk, I have gotten gratification from people who say it has helped them. I’d like to think it is making a difference somewhere but I don’t know that. There are days I wish I was one of those “fancy” blogs out there killing stigma about mental illness left and right. But I don’t have the energy to keep up with all the latest news and info. And there are already so many good blogs like that out there.
I haven’t gotten on my soapbox much about the way the mentally ill are treated in this country, although I probably should. But others just seem to do it so much better. I really am just talented at telling my own story, boring some days, humorous others.
One things I LOVE about this blog has been the varied audience. I NEVER thought I would have teenagers reading this this or frankly, men. I just can’t imagine we would have much in common. But I know now that mental illness transcends a lot of things. A LOT of things.
So have I gone in a different direction since I started? I would say no. I have told more of my personal history than I had planned to. I had no idea people would care about my Aunt Dorothy or my Thanksgiving dinner but those have been some of the most popular posts.
I still feel badly that my grammar and writing style isn’t up to snuff or manic in a good sense. My drugs do dull me, but I grind it out as best I can. Look at it this way, I never use any giant words that you can’t understand.
So there you have it, my prompt assignment from Blogging 101. Hope you enjoyed it. Especially you teens and men:)