I am aware that I don’t write so much about mental illness when I’m well. That doesn’t mean it’s not important to me.
As long as this blog exists, actually as long as I can write, I will continue to write about mental illness.
The Reasons Why I’ll Never Stop Writing About Mental Illness
- To help others who have just been diagnosed with a mental illness. It’s a scary and uncertain place to be. If one of my posts or publications helps, it will be worth it.
2. To help those who are in the thick of mental illness to know they’re not alone. Dealing with an illness of the mind is a lonely prison. It’s hard to escape from. Knowing others out there understand can show you that you’re not alone. I’ve been saved many times by a book or an article, sometimes literally saved.
3. Depression is confusing. There are so many symptoms; weird, wacky, and frightening. Sometimes it takes reading about someone else who knows those symptoms to understand it’s not us, it’s the illness.
4. As long as stigmas exist about mental illness I CAN NOT stop writing about it. Stigmas are breaking down but it’s so slow. You may think mental illness is always being discussed and written about. It may seem we are a forward-thinking society. As long as people still use mental illness terms as insults, employers sack mentally ill employees, the media portrays schizophrenics as serial killers, so-called friends reject mentally ill people, and trolls use mental illness as bait, I will keep writing the crap out of this.
5. Mentally ill writers need to know they are not the only ones. There are many of us trying to do this writing gig too, wondering each day if we will be robust enough to write. Writing is hard on the ego as it is. Try being depressed, anxious, and the like on top of that.
6. If I’ve had to be dragged down into the depths over and over, for 22 years with mental illness, I am damned if I will let mental illness win by being silent. I believe nothing is wasted, not even the truly awful stuff. I will write about my experiences because it has helped others and I hope it will continue to do so.
7. Social anxiety makes you feel like a freak, even though you’re not. Tell people you have it and you’ll be surprised how many others genuinely have it too. It’s encouraging, in a sad way.
8. I do it for me. That’s not selfish. This is my self-care. I am stronger for facing my past, accepting it’s an illness and not a personal fault, and for celebrating the good place I’m in now.
9. Until mental health provision is properly funded in this country as well as others, people have to keep it open to public eyes and ears. People die waiting for mental health intervention.
10. Too many people die from suicide. Too many is one person. No one should ever feel they have to die this way. It is not their fault they do. A suicidal person is the loneliest and most isolated being on this planet, even in a room of hundreds. Maybe knowing others understand that dark place can help them in their fight between life and death.
11. My heart breaks for those who are mentally ill. My empathy is genuine and not for effect, followers, readers or profit. I wish I could take it away from each and every one of you.
12. It’d not all doom and gloom. People need to know that. We have good, even great days. Some days, months, years, we win.
13. People with mental illnesses are the strongest people I know. Try having an internal battle 24/7. You cannot escape and yet you still make it through each day. You’re exhausted but you wake to another day. This fortitude deserves to be acknowledged. Mental illness is not a personal weakness.
14. There are still uninformed people who think mental illness is a choice, a defect, a sin, a guilt coming back to haunt us. Believe me, many of these people exist. They need to be better educated.
15. It costs me nothing to write about mental illness. Yes, it’s hard sometimes to dredge up the past but it’s not a sacrifice.
16. I will always advocate charities and helplines that help those who have a mental illness and/or are in distress. We all need to know there’s support out there.
17. My brother’s death will not be in vain. He died by suicide. I will honour the bravery he showed in his life by talking and writing of how it is to be a survivor of a loved one’s suicide. It’s a unique kind of grief where we sometimes need to connect with others who’ve been there.
18. I may relapse into depression again one day. I may need writing. It may be the thing that keeps me going.
19. Anxiety wants to keep me from writing, in fear of being judged by others. I will not let anxiety keep me from writing. My fears are there but writing will see me through.
20. Finally, this is what life gave me. I am not humble or a martyr. I would rather have lived a life without mental illness but I didn’t get to choose. I do have a choice about what I do with that. I choose to write.
Over to You
Do you write about mental illness? What are your motivations?
Do you feel encouraged, supported, informed or educated reading about others’ experiences of mental illness?