I was so excited to learn about the Blog for Mental Health 2013 Project on A Canvas of the Minds! It is an effort to raise awareness about what it is like to live with mental illness, from the perspectives of people with mental illness. It is also an effort to end suffering in silence, bringing people with mental illness together in a community of dialogue and support.
In other words, it’s pretty much exactly what I want my blog, a day with depression, to be: sharing my experiences, both for my own healing and to help others – whether through educating them about mental illness, or by letting them know they are not alone. By sharing our experiences and insights, perhaps we can help each other heal – or at least cope. Perhaps we can create a world that works with people who have mental illness to help us live fully in society.
And so I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.
I chose to take the pledge after reading about it on Disorderly Chickadee.
My Mental Health Biography
I remember a childhood that included having anger management issues, feeling like I couldn’t express my emotions safely and effectively, and feeling isolated from my peers. I often daydreamed as a coping mechanism; later I would have difficulty paying attention even when I wanted to. My father physically abused me at least once; I have carried the guilt, shame, and fear of others’ anger with me, believing he was justified in how he treated me until very recently. His fight with lung cancer and death 15 years ago left me devastated.
I received psychotherapy / talk therapy a couple of times as an adolescent. I don’t remember it being very effective. I focused primarily on my schoolwork and had some friends and extracurricular activities; I was functional but often felt grumpy, out of place, and misunderstood. Around the same time, my mother started depending on me to fill her emotional needs, often at the expense of my own.
My freshman year of college had its ups and downs, but mostly I remember it as a good time in my life. When I returned for my sophomore year, I felt like something was wrong. I felt sad, isolated, like I wasn’t ready to be back. Spring 2005 was the first time I was diagnosed with depression; that fall was the first time I took medication for it (Wellbutrin). The medication seemed to help; I decided to stop taking it and terminate therapy the following spring. Despite the depression, I tend to think of my college years as the best time of my life.
I graduated magna cum laude and worked for almost 2 years before matriculating as a graduate student. At work, supervisors noticed that I had low energy. I felt tired, sad, and frustrated much of the time (at least partially because of work, but I believe there were mental health issues as well). I felt another depressive episode coming on in early Spring 2010 – my second semester of graduate school – and though it has waxed and waned, it has never fully lifted.
I began receiving music therapy as a client in Fall 2010. My work has focused mostly on self-esteem, assertiveness, expressing emotions (especially anger), and overcoming anxiety. The first psychiatrist I saw in late July 2012 diagnosed me with dysthymia and prescribed Wellbutrin; my current psychiatrist (whom I’ve been seeing since mid-December) diagnosed me with a major depressive episode and prescribed Zoloft. The Zoloft, continuing music therapy, and writing in this blog seem to be helping.
Take the Pledge!
Participating bloggers are encouraged to pledge 5 other people to the project. I’m not sure whom to pledge, so consider this an open invitation.
Visit the Blog for Mental Health 2013 post on A Canvas of the Minds for instructions on how to pledge, including how to be included in their official blogroll.
If you decide to take the pledge, please comment with a link to your “Blog for Mental Health 2013” post and I’ll gladly feature it here. If you do so, please consider using this post as your link to the person who pledged you.
I’m so glad you have decided to join in this campaign, I especially like the intro you wrote.
And just so your readers have all the details, if they want to take the pledge, they can check out this post: Blog For Mental Health 2013, which will provide them the info they need to get listed on the official blogroll and have their posts shared through Canvas.
Thanks Ruby! I edited my post to let readers know to visit the post on Canvas for full instructions on how to pledge and be included on the blogroll. I hadn’t thought to do that before because of my own experience learning about the project, so I appreciate the clearer instructions in your comment.
I congratulate you, I lost a brother through depression and love the idea you can be a light in the dark for others. I write poetry sometimes to help me through the tough times.
Thanks I will be following you, we need more awareness out there, keep up the beautiful writing and inspire others to carry on.
Thank you for your comment. It means a lot to me that you see my writing as an inspiration for others. I hope it will be; I most certainly will keep it up.
Thanks for taking the pledge – the more of us that speak up, the harder we are to ignore. I had some similar early experiences, and I’m glad you’ve found strategies that are helping you feel better.
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I just took the pledge myself and I’m now visiting my comrades blogging for mental health.
I look forward to reading more of your posts. Perhaps we can encourage each other.
Awesome! Thanks for taking the pledge! 🙂
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