Since falling into the depressive episode that sapped every last ounce of inspiration, energy and hope from my soul, I’ve had some catching up to do.
Although I have yet to break back into the world of Twitter (what? it’s scary!), get myself up to date with some of the blogs I follow (I’m working as hard as I can!) and my horrific record of email replying earned me a good talking to (and then some!) in my dreams last night, I’ve been fortunate to regain some focus in regards to my little blog.
Because of this, I can finally (and officially) take the pledge to Blog for Mental Health in 2013, an initiative of the brilliant Canvas of the Minds.
1.) Take the pledge by copying and pasting the following into a post featuring “Blog for Mental Health 2013″.
“I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 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.”
2.) Link back to the person who pledged you.
It was the inspirational Anthony on bipolarbeach who honored me with his pledge. If you’re not familiar with it, Anthony’s blog is a beautifully written account of living with bipolar disorder.
3.) Write a short biography of your mental health, and what this means to you.
Given my propensity toward rambling I’ve never been good at writing short biographies, but I will give it a whirl:
Mental illness has been part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. When my sister was twelve she was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and OCD, shortly after, both my mother and I fell into depression. At the age of thirteen I began self-harming, hearing voices and showing symptoms of social anxiety disorder. By my late teens I had begun to show symptoms of bipolar affective disorder. However, these conditions went undiagnosed until the early 2000s when a doctor started me on a course of antidepressants to assist what he believed was a major depressive disorder.
Although I continued being symptomatic for several years, my life was relatively stable until I found myself in an emotionally abusive relationship, a relationship that has since been described as “the final nail in your coffin” (by a psychologist in 2009) and seen by many to be the major contributing factor for the breakdown that decimated my life in 2007.
Later that year I was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder, a diagnosis that was re-confirmed in early 2008, and I began taking a combination of antidepressants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. Around the same time I was also told I was suffering from PTSD as a result of the abusive relationship and a serious sexual assault that had occurred in mid 2007.
Since then my life of (ex) homelessness and social isolation has been underscored by my daily war with bipolar, social anxiety and PTSD. A war that I am currently losing but continuing to fight as best I can.
After over a decade of keeping my mental illness as hidden from the world as possible, I decided to begin writing a blog revealing my battles to the world. For over five years I’ve shared my story as honestly as I can, hoping beyond hope that people who read it will realise they are not alone, that there is hope and that mental illness is not something to be afraid or ashamed of.
The only way to eliminate the stigma of mental illness is to speak out. To raise awareness of mental health and the discrimination that those living with it have to face on a daily basis. We are not our illnesses and our illnesses are not us. We are so very much more.
4.) Pledge five others, and be sure to let them know!
Given I am late in making this pledge, almost every mental health blog I follow has already taken it, so it seems silly for me to suggest they do so when they have already done so.
However, it would be remiss of me not to mention a few of my favourite mental health blogs:
- Pride in Madness (one of my all time favourite blogs on the subject of mental health)
- Sunny with a Chance of Armageddon (possibly the greatest blog title of all time)
- Anxiety Adventures: Chronicles of the Anxious (a superb blog dealing with an aspect of mental health close to my heart; social anxiety)
- Infinite Sadness…or Hope (a quite superb blog that should be on everyone’s to-read list)
- Far From Paradise (a beautifully written blog that has been a personal favourite for quite some time)
Please don’t feel obligated to do anything other than give yourself a big hug for being on this list. I name you purely because you are all an inspiration to me. Thank you :)