I can’t quite believe it.
This is my 200th post.
I’ve come to love sitting down in front of a blank screen, the little cursor blinking an early morning hello at me, and trying to convey either something that I have talked with patients about during my week, or an idea that might be helpful to someone who’s dealing with mental issues. Or just life.
About the time that I’ve been tired of getting up at 5:30 in the morning to write a post, and think, “Why am I doing this anyway?”, someone will send an email, with a simple word of thanks. And that’s all I need.
Just like a lot of things in life, I didn’t have a clue how all of this was going to change me. (Remember driving home with that baby in the car?) Giving birth to this website has had its growing pains as well.
Three things come to mind.
My world has expanded tremendously.
Many old friends have written and we have connected again, maybe a little, maybe more. That’s been very meaningful. I see other names regularly that “like” or “share” posts. I have no idea who they are or where they live, but it’s as if I do know them somehow. The comments on Facebook help me know how my words are affecting others, and I enjoy when a commenter will reach out to another, or disagree with me — make another very viable point.
We all have our own bit of wisdom.
And then there are the private emails. Hundreds of them by now. I have written back, carefully, because I have only a few facts, and I don’t want to say too much over an Internet relationship. But I have tried to give support, since they have honored me by asking a question or telling me their story.
I say “honor” because that’s what it is. I feel it in my practice all the time. And I feel it here.
I have opened up about myself more than I ever thought I would.
I didn’t necessarily intend to do that. But the more I wrote, the more I realized that I wanted to be a role model. If I can’t talk about my own struggles with mental illness, how can I expect others to come forward?
So I have talked about my history with an eating disorder. I have described my panic disorder. I am a therapist because I received really good therapy. (I also got some really bad therapy… you need to be picky…). I wanted to do for others what was done for me. I have never experienced major depression, but I have been on anti-depressants twice in my lifetime, once in my twenties and once during menopause, a fact that was highly welcomed at that time by both myself and my spouse. (Our joke in 2000 was that if food and water was going to become scarce or the world was going to come to an end, if I had my Lexapro supply for three months, we’d be okay…).
I don’t feel any shame for any of that.
I am not less strong of a person.
I was medically ill as a kid. Part of my brain didn’t function properly and I was on medication for years. I got better.
[tweetthis hidden_hashtags=”#stigma”]Whatever mental illness I have had carries no more stigma than being medically sick. [/tweetthis].
And I have grown healthier.
The third thing is more surprising to me.
Somehow writing has spurred me on to keep growing. I was asked the other day what was important to me, what kept me “going” so to speak. That’s a hard question to answer really. My first response was “laughter.” I couldn’t live without that.
But then I said, “curiosity.” I am still very curious about what life is going to teach me. I am hoping I have things to offer humanity that will be helpful, that might make a difference.
So here’s to tomorrow’s post. Number 201. I hope it will be helpful. Maybe make that difference.
Or just make you laugh.
My true gratitude to you for being a part of this journey.
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