This post was written specifically for Sane UK and their recent launch of their ‘Virtual Dog’ Campaign. Sane work tirelessly to help support those that suffer, and end the ongoing stigma around Mental Health, and this new campaign is a great way of celebrating the wonder of social media and those of us that turned online for support and expression online. For more updates, check out their Twitter Feeds for up to date information and news.
I came across the idea of blogging very much by accident. I was investing in my inner geek (and in part of my job) and decided coding and website-building would be a rather fun thing to try out. (in hindsight, equally as confusing as it was fun, but definitely worth it!) Once I had scrapped one together of course, I was faced with the fact that now I had a blog, I really should start posting something. Anything. But what? The list of topics seemed endless, and I opted for the work theme and started writing about social media and marketing. Deep down I wanted to give it a little more substance, but was strongly advised against it by (my now ex) Manager that talking about anything personal was a strict no-go.
My writing fizzled and my internship dried up quicker than the Sahara in Summer. I felt.. lost. As someone with Bipolar Disorder II, I was (almost) used to the ups and downs that are very much a common occurrence with such a mental health problem. But this time it felt, different. I felt my life was coming to a standstill after a whirlwind few months, and I was struggling to find my feet and take any sort of step toward anything when all around me was the foggy haze of depression.
Amidst that mist, an email popped up on my screen. It was nothing really, server stuff for my blog. A general update, nothing of importance. But in that Nothing, became the formings of a certain something. An idea. It was the same day that the tragic news of Gary Speed had hit the headlines. And as much as I felt condolences for his family and their incredible loss, I felt something else – anger. All too often I had heard and seen the apparent shock when someone with any sort of depression takes that step off the edge after teetering on the cliff face for so long, not being able to cope, feeling so alone, without anywhere to turn or anyone to turn to. I had been there myself not so long ago, and sometimes I felt I would have more success banging my head against a wall than any one understanding a word I was saying and then wondering where it all went wrong.
So I took to my blog, with the thought that maybe, just maybe, getting my thoughts out of my mind and into to my laptop I would perhaps feel a little better. I hit key after key, and a blur of words and sentences strung out forming paragraph after paragraph. Before I knew it my first open and honest blog post about Mental Health sat in front of me. I took a deep breath.
I hit ‘Publish’.
I was overwhelmed with emotion. Fear. Excitement. Clarity. But soon I was overwhelmed with something else – responses. I knew that the odd person read and shared my blog, but it was a rare occurrence to say the least. I had hidden the real me for so long behind a well crafted professional poise, it was refreshing to hear that being me, that was kinda okay too. And whats more, people liked it. People could relate. Finally, people understood.
I found an online community of people that were just like me. Feeling all the same things, facing all the same problems, bashing their heads against the exact same walls. I didn’t feel quite so alone anymore. I felt, happy. And for the first time in a long time, I felt like ‘me’ again.
I guess writing for me is a little bit of self therapy, a little bit of self discovery, a little bit of self indulgence. But with all that ‘self’ that I so desperately needed, I found myself in a place where ‘self’ is a word best placed with a ‘less’ at the end. I thought by talking so openly about my life I would become secluded and segregated, but my life became the exact opposite. I have found and treasure so many new friends, and the support I received was, well, life changing.
So even on those darkest days, I can always look online to the light of my laptop, and think of it less of just a laptop, and more of a light in a not so never-ending tunnel.
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