I’ve made it to fifty posts.
When I first posted my first blog on Blogger over the 25th January this year I never realised what a major part of my life it would become and what has grown out of it.
The first post was a way for me to explain to people to why I’d been off work for while. I never thought it would get the reaction it did. I had people getting in touch with me to show me support and to thank me for putting things into words that they could relate to.
I ended up setting up a closed Facebook group named after the blog too. Initially it was a place for my blog but it quickly turned into a support group and forum where people could go for help, vent or just share information. Now it sits at literally just under 200 members, just through people introducing others to it. I have gained some good friends from it as well as expanding the relationships I have with others. It’s become a strong community that stands on its own.
The blog has also adapted and changed as I’ve continued with it. I thought I’d chance my luck a little and thought I’d email the management team for Ginger Wildheart, who’s song The Order Of The Dog is where I took the blog name from, to see if he’d be open to me doing an email interview looking at his mental health issues. I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed to it and he became the first person to take part in an interview with me on the subject.
Since then I’ve been able to talk to a few people about their stories. I’ve really enjoyed doing these as it links you to these people and makes you realise that you are not alone. And that’s something that’s really sunk in over the past few months, the fact that you are not on your own in this. There are lots of people who are touched by this out there. By talking, by being open and vocal about what you’re going through means that you can help make these invaluable connections.
Another plus side to being open is the way you can help educate others in the condition. A few people who joined the group are people who want to get a better understanding of how mental illness affects people and how they can help others around them. This a prefect as it helps to create a culture of understanding, which is sometimes all we want in life.
Doing this has helped me reach out to others but it’s also helped me by teaching me more about the condition and the effects it has, not just on me but the domino affect I have on the people around me. Friends, family, loved ones, work colleagues – all of them were affected in one way or another by my incident last year. I’ve been able to talk about how it affected them and the impact it had with them. Hopefully this means in the future things won’t be as bad for us all. It has also meant I’ve been able to help others in similar situations. Sometimes it’s just been a case of letting someone know there’s someone out there for them. It might not sound like much but, trust me, it can mean the world. I know it does, I’ve been on the receiving end of it too. When you’re alone the slightest support you can receive means so much.
A side effect of me doing this was me rediscovering how much I love writing. The physical act of putting together words in a coherent sentence that people can understand what you’re trying to convey. I’ve really fallen back in love with it quite deeply. I’ve started writing about music and geeky things I like in another blog (I’ve got to try and balance how heavy this becomes at times). I have about three or four writing peices on the go at the same time. I find it therapeutic, it helps me focus.
Writing the blog has really inspired me. I can have good days and I can have bad days but I’ve come to realise they’re just days. They come and they go. They’re always transitional and nothing is forever. Bad day today? Tomorrow is a different day. And it has so much potential.
I’ve been able regain lost confidence, confidence I seriously thought I’d lost for good. I’ve been able to talk to people from various walks of life across the globe with mental illness as a thread that bind us. My own mental attitude had become healthier and more positive. I try to remain as positive as I can about everything which has helped my own approach to life. All because I decided that I needed to talk about this.
So, if you’re reading this and you’re struggling or you know someone who is, take a few deep breaths and talk. There are plenty of people around who want to help and will listen to you. It could be your partner or a family member. It could be a work colleague or a friend you meet for a coffee every now and again. Reach out to someone. If you don’t feel like you can talk to someone who’s part of your life there are organisations who can help. In the UK there is MIND and The Samaritins, as well as groups affiliated with your local health services (just Google local mental health support to check the results in your area). There’s groups on the internet you can take part in if that would work better for you. Just reach out.