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The “Blog for Mental Health 2012 Project”

As an author, one of the things that I do not do when I start a new book is read other people’s books.  It is a conscious decision that I take as I do not want my writing style to be influenced by anyone else’s.  As a blogger however, I regularly read other blogger’s blogs and have never really given a thought to my being influenced by their writing style.  I guess the difference is that blog posts tend to be very short and I do read quite a few different ones.

One of the blogs that I read is Lulu’s “As The Pendulum Swings” and readers of this blog will have heard me mention her work before.  Another’s is Fracturedangel’s “The Mirth of Despair” blog.  I have to admit that I have only just come across Fracturedangel’s blog but I am really pleased that I have.

Last night I began reading it and came across the “Blog for Mental Health 2012 Project” and I have to say, “Sign me up! I am in!”

The name pretty much says it all but here are the rules…

1.) Take the pledge by copy and pasting the following into a post featuring “Blog for Mental Health 2012″.

I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2012 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.

Ok Done that!

2.) Link back to the person who pledged you.

Well in all honesty I wasn’t really pledged so much as I pledged myself.  But isn’t linking back to yourself the first sign of madness?  Or is that talking to yourself?  What do you think Kevin?  Ooops!

But seriously I would have to credit Fracturedangel and Lunasunshine for my getting pledged and so here are links to them  “The Mirth of Despair” and “As The Pendulum Swings“.  My heartfelt thanks go out to them!

3.) Write a short biography of your mental health, and what this means to you.

Ok here goes…

My battle with poor mental health started way back when at a time when “someone’s pad” was something they wrote on, being “wicked” meant the opposite of what it means on the streets today, and when PMT or PMS was not so much a widely recognized condition experienced by women but more a week or so each month when husbands scurried around trying to work out how they messed up this time?

I am of course using a little humorous license here but what was not humorous is the way in which folk who experienced mental-health related difficulties were treated and the terrible stigma that was attached not only to the sufferer’s of poor mental health but also to their family.

Being a young child with poor mental health and who “heard voices” etc was both very confusing, very scary and very alienating.  So they, and society’s attitude to mental health, pretty much drove me into secrecy and seclusion.

As I grew older I of course became bolder and at the same time society’s understanding and attitudes changed towards mental illness – although it still has a very long way to go.  As I grew bolder I began to open up more and share more about my mental illness.  Although it wasn’t until 1999 when I had a complete mental and physical breakdown that nearly ended me and which certainly was instrumental in ending my marriage, when I could hide it no more and had to “come clean” as they say.

Over the years I have received numerous diagnoses including, Depression, Clinical Depression, Depression with Paranoia, Depression with Schizophrenia, Depression with Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Multiple Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder, Aspergers, Psychosis, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Nightmare Disorder,  Social Anxiety or Social Phobia. Suicidal Ideation, Suicidal Ideology, Suicidal Tendencies.

Nowadays, I find a complete reluctance on the part of the psychiatrists and mental health practitioners whom I see regularly to “label” my mental health issues and to be honest it is a reluctance which I share – albeit in my case it is more of a hesitance than a reluctance.

I simply accept the argument that “my ‘symptoms’ could indicate any one of several serious conditions and that pinning it down to one or the other could therefore be wrong and would be counter productive.”

I am not, you understand, saying that I accept this argument willingly or happily and indeed when my therapist said to me, “you aren’t happy with that answer are you?”  I simply responded, “Well, there are several ways in which I could answer that question and which would indicate how I feel about it, but pinning it down to one answer or the other could be wrong and would be counter productive.” 🙂

Thankfully, nowadays I am in a position where I no longer have to hide my mental illness and I apart from casual acquaintances I would think that pretty much most people who know me to any significant degree would also know that I suffer with poor mental health.

In short I refuse to live a life of secrecy or stigma when it comes to my mental health issues.

4.) Pledge five others.

Ok this one is going to be a little more difficult as I don’t really know other mental health related bloggers very well.

But if I had to nominate five other bloggers or blogs who I would consider good people to get involved with this project and whose work in this field I truly respect they would without a doubt be…

  1. As The Pendulum Swings
  2. bi[polar] curious
  3. James Claims
  4. livingwithablackdog
  5. The Mirth of Despair

And I think that pretty much covers it. But I did just want to include a statement that was also included in Lunasunshine’s pledge….

If you happen upon this without being pledged, I still pledge you. Feel free to take the pledge! Promote awareness!