What defines being a blogger, specifically a mental health blogger? Must I write regularly or frequently? Must I always write about mental health? What if that is not my focus ALL the time? What if I’m so busy that living with bipolar disorder is not in the forefront of my mind? What if I’m overwhelmed by my life circumstances? What if I’m simply taking a break?
I’m not the most disciplined writer. Never been one for discipline; though, I do brush and floss my teeth every night. My house is a mess – dusty and cluttered. I bathe or shower (I prefer to bathe) at least once a week. (You are probably disgusted by this admission. I try not to move too much, so I don’t sweat and get stinky. Yes, I know I should exercise daily. And, eat better. Just because I know better, doesn’t mean I do better.)
Followers of my blog say they miss me when I write once a month, and not more often. Not sure if it’s nice to be missed, or if it’s stressful, if I have an obligation to write.
No, I have no obligation to write.
That’s why I blog.
It’s mine. All mine.
Yes, I interact with others here and enjoy doing so. I respond to those who comment.
Recently, though, I’ve been busy with life. My illness, bipolar disorder, hasn’t been the focus of my blog. I’m fairly stable. My symptoms are more or less in remission. But, the concepts of remission and recovery can mislead. Serious mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are chronic, lifelong brain disorders. You can live with them. Medications can help you treat the symptoms. But, the brain disorder remains.
To stay stable, I must be careful. I must plan for how certain circumstances affect me.
Last month I presented and next week I again will present as an individual living with mental illness for NAMI Provider Education at the hospital where over a decade ago (12 years now) I was treated two weeks inpatient and for a few months in their partial hospitalization program until I got bored.f
I get overstimulated in social situations and must recover. I cannot sustain that level of social functioning without paying a high price – psychiatric instability, hypomania and subsequent depression, mood cycling. So, I must keep in mind that I will need downtime afterwards – time to recover.
So… I started writing this piece wondering about the effects of my recent lack of “mental health” blog posts. I’ve also slacked off reading and commenting on others’ blogs. Sorry, folks.
I’ve been too busy doing taxes (scanning tons of receipts), driving my son to and from school and numerous doctors’ appointments (unfortunately, he isn’t motivated to get his driver’s license anytime soon & knows we didn’t get ours until we were 18 & 19), and making sure my parents are happy.
When I haven’t been busy, I’ve been exhausted – too exhausted to write, to read, to do anything verbal. Instead, I took up doing jigsaw puzzles on my iPad – enjoy that they are visual, non-verbal, and engage my mind.
[…] Am I Still a Mental Health Blogger? — 443 views […]
You are one of the best mental health bloggers I have ever seen. Keep doing such fantastic works and don’t forget to share with us.
If you mean more engagement – I’d say write what you enjoy writing and take an interest in other blogs/bloggers who have content you enjoy.
WordPress.com offers great advice through their Blogging University.
any ideas how to get more input and direction frm my blog
Thank you for sharing your blog link, Joel.
If anyone is after someone to relate to please check out my blog. I don’t care about followers or money etc, all I care about is that people read my blog and understand that they are not alone. please see http://www.behindthemask.blog
Welcome to the mental health blogging community!
Amazing! Staying positive is so tough to do all the time , look after your own mental health before anybody else’s, I am only new to this blogging stuff I literally only joined today! My first story is about mental health issues and how I coped with it, I would love for you to read it! I had the same concern that now I have posted one story I will have to keep talking about the same stuff but you have really changed my mind on that! Brilliant post X
Thanks! I totally agree.
I am new to this blog thing and realized I have the same concern. Though its your mental health so remember to do anything to better yourself if that means writing every day or writing twice a year.
Your Welcome. Take one step at a time. There is no rush..
Writing this poem, the act of writing, getting the words out of my head, off my mind, slowed me down. Thank you.
Life feels like a marathon. We all tend to live our lives by the clock. Slowing down helps. Staying positive and productive with stuff that is interesting. Mental Illness can be controlled simply by slowing down. Sometimes disconnecting from the internet and negative people help as well.
I started out thinking I will post ONLY cycling related posts! That soon changed, to My Blog, my stuff, my posts! Life is not all about one thing, so why shouldn’t our posts reflect that. Well done!
I’ve just started writing again. When I originally started my blog a few years back I was very focused on my mental health (I have schizoaffective disorder) but now I am leading a different life and things are much calmer generally, even if they’re not completely stable.
I have found though that just writing for half an hour a day is good for me. It gets me out of my little bubble and makes me contemplate the world beyond my cottage. I like to play around with words and challenge myself. Thank you for sharing a little about your life. It’s ok to focus on what you need to focus on. And you made me feel a bit better that my house is an absolute tip!
Thank you. Welcome to the blogosphere!
You shouldn’t ever feel guilty for not writing in your blog. It’s YOUR blog. If your readers are following your story and understand what you’re going through then they will understand that it’s not always going to be a priority for you to write about it.
I’m a huge mental health advocate and have recently started my own blog on the subject, but I don’t think it’ll ever be strictly mental health blogs, I think I’d run out of things to talk about! If that’s even possible! Ha!
I know the feeling. Sometimes it just takes too much to write about problems that are happening because of your mental health. Good post.
I guess overachiever describes me too. If anyone was set up for failure it was me.
Thank you. I was an overachiever. So, I suppose there is a bright side. I fail at being a good homemaker, but honestly, that’s never been high on my list. More interested in intellectual or artistic pursuits. Not in dusting and vacuuming.
That’s a hard feeling to live with and I understand it completely. We might be similar in that I suspect that you are also ‘driven’ to do and be your best. Your best at its best is probably better than most.
Thank you. Some part of me seems to always feel guilty, no matter what I do, I fail to do something else.
Oh, but Kitt, you’re not failing. All parents should have children as dedicated to their happiness as you are to yours.
Thank you for sharing!
Part of it, for me, may be that I’m always trying to please, and always feeling like I’m failing – carryover from relationship with my parents.
creative post, important words which is very valuable and important in our daily life.
Reblogged this on Art by Rob Goldstein and commented:
from Kitt O’Malley
It’s a feeling of ‘needing’ do something. I wonder if it’s my way of trying to fix myself. If I accomplish enough I won’t feel like such a case. Except that I am a case in world of undiagnosed cases.
Brilliant! This actually hits home right now and your quirky realness made me smile a bit 🙂
Anyone who loves dance is a true dancer, in my opinion. I was trained in ballet, but I also find free dance to be an especially wonderful way to express yourself (and creativity), and your emotions.
And dance! Just as your blog title suggests. I LOVE to dance. Free dance. I’m not a trained ballerina.
Wow! Could I completely relate to this post. I mean almost all of it, except maybe not writing a lot lately, and not yet doing my taxes. I just started a blog here yesterday. My very first post. I still have some glitches to work out. When I started it I had already made my mind up that it would not be strictly a bipolar blog. I too am stable (mostly) and want to thinking about other things. I know it will do me good. Actually, I crave other things to think about. After all these years on disability, the time has come. I have been a member of several online bipolar support groups. I have been cutting down on my posts there.
I’m still on disability. I’m in the process of transitioning back to a more regular existence (at least the way I see it). But I’m still not completely functioning normally. I need to discipline myself to do more self-care and get up earlier. And go for walks. And eat better. And…and…and. Well, one step at a time.
Yay! I wish you the best as you learn to take care of yourself.
“To stay stable, I must be careful. I must plan for how certain circumstances affect me.” –> I think this is very wise! I totally relate, and am learning to do this as well!
Thank you, Mindy. Focusing on peace is a natural extension of the work you’ve done as a writer and mental health advocate. Both are human rights. We all crave peace. Your therapist is wise. Life has always entailed both joy and strife. We can focus on our struggles, or we can be grateful for our simple joys. Enjoy the bubble of your retirement community. I tell my mother that now is the time that others care for her. She no longer has to care for others, specifically my father. Peace to you.
I’m hearing you say you’ve been caught up with “life”, and now you’re left wondering if you still see yourself as a mental health blogger. Is that something you want now? Or perhaps you’d like to tweak your direction or perhaps narrow the scope or even broadening it?
You have enjoyed years of knowing exactly who you are and what your direction and mission has been. But life changes. It changes the world, our life’s circumstances, and changes deeply withing ourselves. So many people make changes to fit who they have become. We all grow and mature.
I haven’t been as lucky as you in your gift of drive and direction. I’m still defining myself. So what’s holding me back? I have always been far from remission in my mental illness. That is one huge problem. Very long story. Lately, with all that is going on in our country and in the world, It dawned on me what I wanted to do. I’m not just a mental health advocate, I’m not just an aspiring author. I am an advocate for peace. It’s what I really want to do. I want to focus more on blogging where I can learn and grow for now. And I really am satisfied with the ideas that have come to mind. The writing prompts continue to grow in number.
But for now, I’m recovering from the day-to-day trauma of watching our new government unfold. After that fateful day in September of 2001, with all these new phobias cropping up and panic attacks ruling my life, my therapist told me “denial is okay”. And that really helped! Here where I live, a retirement community, we live in a bubble which protects us. People don’t seem to know what is happening in our country. For now, I am going to go with denial while I recover a bit.
You’re at a crossroads, Kitt. At least that is what I’m hearing you saying. You’ll find your way. Stay curious, driven, imaginative, and the compassionate and caring woman we all know you are.
Excellent health blog. I love it
Yes, there is a depressive aspect to any interpretation offered by an analyst.
Thanks, RidicuRyder. My son and hubby used to ride MX on the Mojave. We’re back in the burbs nowadays, but close to mountain bicycling. My son is pretty proficient at downhill riding. Recently, he’s taken up snowboarding. He always had good balance.
Thank you, Susan. God bless you.
Kitty, we all do what we can while taking care of our health. I applaud you for taking care of yourself. Sending love and prayers your way. <3
Agree with the “TwentySomethingTenacity” comment, Kitt. Enjoyed all the questions in your first paragraph. I am not any trained mental health professional, but my analysis would be this is your “social interaction” format equivalent and it is far better for your resilience, wellness, and health. I have never really felt very comfortable with social events either. Too many mindsets and sometimes the events are excessively long. With this method of interaction, you can focus on the specific topic(s) your blog specifies. You have done well math geek and I know you have the ability an potential to train mental health professionals with the NAMI Provider Education classes. Yay.
Best Wishes !!!
I think the blog could round you out in interesting ways…not all directly related “mental health…although some gains will usually be made (sometimes lost) in certain endeavors. Good luck, let me know what I might contribute. 🐝
I agree. What’s interesting is that it may be healthier for me to focus on other aspects of my life and not just define my mission in terms of mental health or mental illness.
Thank you. God bless.
I don’t see you as less of a mental health blogger because you’re taking time away to take care of your mental wellness. Like someone (or maybe more) said before me; there is no quota. No one is sitting here thinking ‘oh that Kitt, she missed another deadline’ because there are none! You do what you need to do for you. If that’s writing, great; if that’s not, still great!
I love reading you and I also love when you take care of yourself, the two are not mutually exclusive 😀
Intriguing essays on psychotherapy. I was psychodynamically trained, but basically did “whatever worked” as a clinician. As a consumer, I find that my needs change over time. CBT helped me out a suicidal crisis at 18 and gave me tools I could use throughout life. My work in analysis allowed me to work through my issues with my parents, but also deepened my depression when I was severely ill. Supportive therapy has helped keep an even keel. Most clinicians use more than one theory and technique.
Thank you! Enjoy your wintertime puzzle. Sending you love.
Best wishes to you in your quest for a normal life. It’s boring but strangely fulfilling, lol. You may find my blog of interest in this regard – http://www.therapyviews.com Stay in touch?
I know so many with those pre-existing conditions that are very nervous about the ACA repeal. Let’s hope they come up with a humane replacement.
Love what you write whenever you write. Can’t think of a better reprieve than jigsaw puzzles! I happen to have a 1000 piece out on a table right now; a Christmas winter scene I wanted to embrace but didn’t until last week. Making up for lost time… 😉
Keep taking care of you, Kitt, and the rest will take care of itself. Hugs (if you’re a hugger…)
Indeed it will.
Thanks! My father “retired early,” too. Since my mom had lymphoma, her “pre-existing condition” cancer made it near impossible for my dad to take another job. He was insured by his previous employer until he became eligible for a new group policy. Once they got first catastrophic health insurance, and later Medicare, it was a real problem. As Trump rolls back the Affordable Care Act, I pray we still can get coverage for pre-existing conditions.
Thank you, Jess!
Just do you Kitt, your heart will thank you for it 😀
About those jigsaw puzzles…my husband became obsessed with 1000 piece puzzles right after he retired (early..not his choice). I didn’t understand why at the time. I do now.
Write when you feel it, Kitt. That’s the only time the work comes out organically, and that’s how it should happen.
Kitt I’m always here to read your posts. I think it’s hard to keep up with posting all the time especially when life gets in the way. Your true followers will always be there to read and comment and such. Take care of yourself and your family first and then come back and see us when you can.
In my opinion, you are what you consider yourself and considering yourself is of utmost importance. Do as you want….no obligations from me. ~~dru~~
I know that feeling! But any amount of anything is enough if that is what you are capable of in a given moment 🙂
Thanks! I always feel like I’m not doing enough, even as I do too much.
You’re right- no obligation and there is no post quota you need to fulfill…