Blogging so personally about mental health and your deep feelings about things and the precise thoughts you have on a daily basis, is the equivalent of giving yourself up to a human x-ray machine.
If you decide to blog about mental health, prepare yourself for daily full body scans of your emotionally naked stripped back self. The usual rules of sharing or hiding need not apply in the blog world. You bare all. People see all aspects of you in three dimensions. Maybe even four or five dimensions as you describe detailed thoughts and feelings as well as letting your whole physical body be seen.
You may not be one of those people who sits for hours in a overly heated airport, watching teddy bears sunglasses and magazines go through camera scans to check for sharp objects or liquids before boarding an aircraft. But instead you read summerSHINES and other mental health blogs because you are weirdly curious.
What does it feel to live with mental illness?
This isn’t fiction. This is truth. That is what makes it all the more compelling. The things I share on this blog are not fictional anecdotes crafted to perfection or deliberately written speeches written by professional speech writers who work freelance for politicians and all others who care how the public perceive them.
This is just me being me.
You are you, but you are you, in private. I am ‘me’ in public. It is my choice to do this. It is not always easy to cope with though. Lately the exposure has been harder to emotionally tolerate which is troubling me, and I guess my fears of exposure are even more reinforced as I await the TV screening of the mental health interview I did for regional news on Friday.
The difficult thing about blogging about something as sensitive and personal as your own mental health is that even if you think you are sharing something with a particular positive intention, you are sadly NOT in control of how anyone reacts to you. Something I might write, with an accompanying conviction that what I’m writing is reasonable and interesting and valid may NOT go down with the reader in the exact way I intend.
We all filter incoming information via our unique interpretative filters. Those filters are not factory filters. There is no way to re-boot to factory settings and be the same as everyone else and agree with everyone else and relate to everyone else. No. We are unique and our interpretative filters through which the world is analysed are utterly unique also.
My favourite song lately is ‘A Million Years ago’ by Adele which I will share a link to at the end of this post. The lyrics resonate so much with how I feel about blogging; and not only about blogging but how I choose to live my life in all aspects.
I am unusually honest. I am unusually ‘no filtered’ in the way I put my ideas across. I am both very strong and very vulnerable. I am both gutsy and terrified. I am happy and sad. Popular yet alone. Gifted yet riddled with personal deficits. I don’t give a fuck what you think, whilst also giving a massive fuck what you think. I want to be perfect, because being called up on mistakes hurts like hell. I overcompensate for feeling small, by taking up lots of room. I feel shy, so I speak in loud volumes. I had no voice. Now you can’t hear anything other than the timbre of my dominating bold brazen survivor voice.
I’m riddled with contradictions- as unpredictable in mood as it gets.
I bare my soul and lay out ‘still beating and bleeding’ hearts on emotion-stained sleeves.
I steady my breath because I know I could lose it at any minute. I push my shoulders back and look forwards and ahead praying I don’t come across a trap in my path and go plummeting down Alice’s rabbit hole of very un-wondrous depression.
I fight off suicidal thoughts like mosquitos. I was born with no mosquito net to protect.
My sleep is disturbed. My body is heavy. The only salt I have a taste for is the salt of my tears. I am a human sugar rush. A ‘rollercoaster-riding-on-brave-person’ who rides with their arms in the air whilst feeling completely scared shitless of living.
Mental illness is NOT predictable or “fun” or easily tolerated or taken in your stride. Mental illness is being knocked down in the ring several times in a day without a gum shield or umpire when you’ve had enough. Mental illness is brutal. People’s reactions to your illness can be brutal. People’s lack of understanding of you and compassion towards you can be brutal.
The more I share, the more I am handing you weapons to potentially beat me with. Twice recently I have had ex friends throw my mental health issues in my face like exploding grenades. Twice I had people score a ‘oh-so-clever-to-them’ point, by pointing out in me what they perceive to be my psychological failings….the ones I write about already day in day out, with bravery……Thanks people. Thanks for making me feel so “special”.
‘I don’t want people to be my emotional caretakers, I only ask you to please don’t hurt me.’
Soon this blog link will go out on the ITV Tyne Tees news. People who currently may recognise me by sight or vaguely know something about me will know mostly everything about me. My secrets will be airborne and fly around like fireflies on a balmy summer evening. Mums at the school gates will know I tried to kill myself and was admitted to St George’s psychiatric hospital. Neighbours and villagers will know I was abused and am a trauma survivor. Potential employers I am networking with will be able to assess me via my summerSHINES blog as well as in face-to-face interviews and judge me from the inside out as well as by appearances.
You can all get the heads up on what’s wrong with me straight from the horse’s mouth.
I hope very much that I don’t become a target for local gossip, though if I do, I can’t change that. All I ask is if people are going to attack me, please leave my children out of it. My children are as innocent as I am. I didn’t ask for any of this. Neither did they. But I am playing the hand of cards life dealt me as well as I possibly can and you can’t deny I’m working hard to improve and better my situation.
I am the blogger version of Adele. Her songs are about her heartbreak and pain. She hides nothing and doesn’t profess perfection. She has a strong voice despite the vulnerability of some of her lyrics. She can sing sweet songs in her velvety voice then swear like a sinner in her exaggerated Essex voice when she speaks and tell crude jokes. She can be all sorts of people all wrapped up into one person. She is full of contrasts, just like me…but she is loved by far more people than those (who choose for their own reasons) to hate her and put her down. I hope people will react to me as they do to Adele…but never ask me to sing :P
I’ll leave you with my favourite Adele lyrics, as they make so much sense to me and my emotional situation right now, then her song…….
I only wanted to have fun
Learning to fly, learning to run
I let my heart decide the way
When I was young
Deep down I must have always known
That this would be inevitableTo earn my stripes I’d have to pay
And bear my soulI know I’m not the only one
Who regrets the things they’ve doneSometimes I just feel it’s only me
Who can’t stand the reflection that they see
I wish I could live a little more
Look up to the sky, not just the floor
I feel like my life is flashing by
And all I can do is watch and cry
I miss the air, I miss my friends
I miss my mother, I miss it when
Life was a party to be thrown
But that was a million years ago