Prompt: Type an anonymous letter to a stranger detailing what you have learned in life. Leave a link to your post in the comments to share with others. Here is my letter:
I suppose I have learned a thing or two over my lifetime thus far. I’ve learned that most people can’t be trusted but a few can. I’ve learned that opposite phenomenons are going on all of the time. For example, people are altruistic because it makes them feel better thus actually making them selfish not altruistic. And parents hurt their children even though they love them intensely. And churches lie to their followers while preaching the Truth. I’ve learned to see the world in these grays, rather than in black and white. It has been my biggest lesson.
I’ve also learned that I can not like someone but still care about them. That I welcome eccentricities, but not insincerity. That someone’s ability to be open-minded shapes every facet of their being. And that it is quite rare to change an adult’s mind on his or her core values.
I’ve learned that some people are actually capable of unconditional love. That sunsets make the most beautiful photographs and children are the most difficult gift I have ever received. That a clean house, flat stomach, or big bank account doesn’t make a person happy. And that love and health are two of the most important things in life. Most of all, I’ve learned that I don’t know much and that I’ve got a lot more to learn.
There’s solid evidence that expressive writing can be good for your mental health. I was planning on researching and quoting and referencing articles and telling you why and when and the how does it of it all, like this one: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/boosting-your-mental-health-with-expressive-writing-0823185 but then I thought, you’re an adult. You’ve got the internet. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and regurgitate other people’s articles, which by the way is one reason I hardly write here anymore. I feel like, “Eh, it’s been said, why say it again.”
Anyway, you can look up why writing can be good for you. What I am going to do in the meantime here is what is good for me: write! Not about my life. No. That is for my personal journal which is private. Sorry. Not that type of blog.
So, what am I going to write about then? I have no fricking idea. I’m still figuring this out. But I have a book of prompts. That could be helpful. I also have a list of different types of journals that we could go through together. I don’t know, what do you think? Let’s see where this takes us.
I spend a large part of my day in bed. I’ll admit it right now, I do. I sleep at night and most of the morning and get up for the afternoon and early evening time to do some self care and house chores and back to to bed again I go.
Many of the morning hours are spent sleeping away migraine, of which I have chronically. Depression plays a role in my perpetual inertia as well.
It seems the more that is demanded of me, the more migraines I get and the more depressed I become. Therefore, it has become this catch twenty two of not doing because of the fear of becoming sick and being sick, so not doing.
It sounds like a fairly pathetic life if you’ve read how I’ve written it out thus far, but there are so many things I do on a fairly regular basis when I am out of bed. For example, I cook and clean and write and create art and raise children! I take pictures and participate in social groups and keep up with a multitude of doctors appointments. I am a dutiful wife, a generous friend, and a eager volunteer.
So many things I am capable of, but I’m only able to do them for short spurts of time with much rest in between activities. That I’m able to do them at all I so am grateful!
Mental illness and chronic pain have taken a typical life from me, but I still have a life and this is what it looks like.
Is your life with mental illness typical or atypical? Do you have trouble getting out of bed?
Have you ever been to counseling? Did it help? I have been many times and it has helped many times and other times it has not.
I don’t know if it is where I was at or where the counselor was at, but the times it didn’t work were in particular with this one therapist who didn’t seem too confident in herself. Quite frankly, she looked like a deer in headlights which surprised me because she was an older lady so I assumed she had years of experience, but who knows, maybe she was a recent graduate.
On the other hand, I was pretty sick at the time. My symptoms were out of control with much hypomania and anxiety going on, so many of her tactics flew in one ear and right out the other. It was probably more of a “it’s me not you” thing going on.
The times that therapy works, however, oh those glorious times…like today. I went in there wound tight as a watch and left walking a little taller, out into a world that seemed a lot brighter than when I went in.
My good therapist, rephrasing my feelings back to me, validating my emotions, asking insightful questions and providing practical and logical feedback. What a grand lady!
Tell me, has counseling ever helped you?
I have been blogging here for eight years now. I have written a lot of posts I am proud of and some that are so-so like the medical research ones. I say the are so-so because they are kind of fillers for the times I was taking a break from writing anything of personal substance because I became super paranoid that people in my real life were reading my blog and I didn’t feel like I could be as candid as a result.
My highest traffic years brought over 11,000 views and 9,200 unique visitors, which I know many people see in a month’s time, but for me this was good.
My subscriber count is just shy of 800 people. I have super slacked off on reaching out to other bloggers over the last few years and I took a year off from Facebook which hurt my page engagement, of course.
I’ve been back on Facebook for about six months now and things are finally starting to pick back up. It’s nice to finally know my messages of encouragement and hope are reaching more people again.
I’m fairly active on Twitter where people are really encouraging and friendly. I always enjoy sharing there.
I hope you find my blog useful and share its posts on social media and say, hi, and follow me on social media, too. I love to connect with other people and share ideas and thoughts.
I’ve started this place on my phone where I keep blog post ideas and rough drafts because I have so many bits and pieces of information flying through my head at one time that I get completely overwhelmed at the thought of sitting down and writing something out.
I attribute these rapid thoughts to my anxiety disorder or to possible depressive symptoms such as the inability to focus or concentrate long enough to organize disjointed ideas into a single theme.
Then I get to thinking, is this it? Is everything always because of my mental illnesses? Is my difficulty writing or remembering or socializing or driving or losing weight or parenting or making friends all due to mental illness? How do I distinguish that which is part of my personality from that which is my illness? Are they one in the same?
I’m not going to pretend to have the answer and quite honestly this is not a rhetorical question. I would love for some feedback here because I have read on numerous occasions well-meaning memes that state “you are not your illness” when I think sometimes maybe I am.
I’ve been closely tracking my moods for the past four months because I slipped into a depressive episode back in August of this year. I keep an online journal that is password protected so that I am sure it is for my eyes only. This allows me to be as candid as I want to be, which I find to be extremely therapeutic.
I typically write in my journal every other week or so, making note of my mood or state of mind and writing all about what is going on in my life with regard to myself and others and my feelings and thoughts regarding all of these things. I also write about my hopes and fears and goals as they come to mind in random ways.
It has been a rough couple of months as looking back on my journal entries will reveal, peaking with a practice-go at writing a suicide note. I didn’t plan on writing one, but I got to writing about all of the hard things I’ve been through in my life and it just kind of turned into one. Then the weirdest thing happened: the next day I felt great and my mood has steadily improved since then. It’s like I just had to get the bad thoughts out of my head and on to the paper for them to no longer have power over me. I can’t say that it will work for you like this, but for me, it just does sometimes.
I am going on two weeks of an upswing in my mood and I’m real happy that things don’t seem so bad these days. They’re not wonderful, but they’re not unbearable like before, and you can bet I am writing praises about that!