Waiting for today...: Why a Blog?

Tuesday, April 8

Why a Blog?

As of 2012 there were an estimated 31 million bloggers in the United States (Blogging Statistics, Facts and Figures in 2012 – Infographic).  HealthyPlace, Psych Central and Psychology Today are just a few behavioral health websites, in addition to the many blogging platforms, that are home to both professional and personal mental health bloggers.   One thing that I have learned since seeking treatment is: no two sufferers of mental illness are the same.  Yet we share similar motivations for blogging.  Below are a few motivations of my own.


“Writing has always helped me cope with stress...”

Way out of my comfort zone and out of touch with my peers, I used my writing as a means of coping when I moved to Philadelphia as a school-aged child.  I would write the lyrics of new songs I heard and the scripts of new movies I saw.  I eventually found friends in the neighborhood and in school but writing remained a hobby.  Eventually I realized that I had the creative capacity to write my own lyrics, stories, poetry and even a play.  It was in highschool, however, that I began keeping a journal.  This was a very trying time for my relationships and a time in which I began to experience the most stress.    Entering college, I was met with a different type of stress and my journaling continued.  For a time, blogging also became part of my stress relief.   

“I often have a difficult time finding and focusing on the core of my issues...”

My therapist has encouraged me to continue journaling as a positive coping method.  At baseline, my mind is often filled with make believe and tends to race which impedes all efforts to think clearly.  My journaling is predominantly free flowing thought, rambling even and very emotional.  And like my mind, those entries can be much disorganized.   Writing helps me organize my thoughts and make sense of the circumstances that cause me distress.  I began my second blog, for milk~and~water, for this very reason: to help me make sense of why I was sabotaging my college career.  It was helpful for a time; while I had focus.   Journaling definitely has its place but blogging is more of a systematic approach to the above, rather than an emotional one.   

“If I am to be well, I cannot continue to internalize but I also cannot 
project onto others ... ”
As I approached therapy, I knew that I would never achieve an optimal level of psychosocial health if I kept everything bottled up.  I thought that if I exposed all of the ugly  for exactly what it was and for all to see, I would somehow be free.   As mentioned earlier, I am not all that open to sharing those things with certain individuals in certain of my circles.  But although I am writing anonymously, I feel as though I’m forced to be completely honest; as if I will be held accountable and especially in times when I want to run and hide in denial.  Completely honest?  Yes.  But brutally honest?  No.  The truth will be painful to myself as well as others. Nevertheless, truth is a necessary element in the healing process.

“I now have a better understanding of my purpose...”

I don’t consider myself an experienced writer much less an experienced blogger.  This partially explains my failed attempts with past blogs: three total.  A short time after being introduced to blogging, I found myself caught up in the hype of the blogosphere.  Even with for milk~and~water, which had a honest and humble beginning, I tried to compete with fellow bloggers.  I would write reviews for movies, television or music in effort to appease the perceived interests of those that would follow.  What’s more, I began using my blog as a daily journal to keep up with the bloggers who would update their site several times per day.   I lost sight of my purpose trying to be something I clearly was not.  My personality has never craved the spotlight or competition; it was all vanity and screamed in deaf ears “you don’t know who you are”.  But now, I hear. Now my path is illuminated.

As I go through this journey, learn more about myself and of the things that has poisoned me, I’ve looked to others in the mental health blogging community for support.  And because I don’t want my journey to be self-serving, I’ve also tried to be supportive and encouraging to others who may be in denial or in hopelessness: Five?  I  recognize that social support from those in similar circumstances is most helpful. And sometimes sharing your story is just as liberating to others as it can be for you...

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