The more I regularly blog, the more grateful I am for the mental health blogging community.
Some of the issues I deal with have become more bearable now that I blog about them. On my blog, I’ve mentioned before that I used to visit a depression forum. I think the forum visits helped me endure through the big break. After a while, though, the forum jumped the shark for me, or I jumped the shark for the forum. I popped into the forum occasionally for a bit. I thought that I should help people out as much as I’d been helped there. But visiting the forum soon turned into more of a chore than an activity I actually wanted to do, so I drifted away. I felt guilty because I did want to help.
However, I found that going to the forum began to trigger me. It never had before, perhaps because I was too preoccupied with my own problems. But at this time I’d read others’ posts and feel the heart-wrenching agony that I was helpless to alleviate. I could say soothing words all I wanted, but I couldn’t force the person to listen. I wasn’t triggered to revisit some of my issues; rather, I was triggered because there was so much misery and at the end of the day, I really could do nothing. No matter how often I tried to help others on the forum, there’d be still others to help and so on.
I’m not sure how this is so, but the blogging community is different for me. Reading others’ blogs doesn’t trigger me. Of course, I care about all of the bloggers whose writing I read, but I don’t feel the same hopelessness about the situation.
Perhaps it’s because there’s a communal catharsis at work in this environment. We like to read others’ words and know they can relate. Others like to read our words and know we can relate. We often reach rock bottom, but we will write about it to educate others or perhaps hold ourselves accountable for our actions. We don’t write solely to ask for help, but to display the complexity of our lives with our ever-present issues.
And in doing that, we get the help we need. One aspect of blogging we like (at least that I like) is the knowledge that someone somewhere is listening and cares. We establish a dynamic rapport with other bloggers. This rapport includes more than shared experiences with mental health, although that’s at the heart of it.
Back to what I’ve noticed of the before and after of my blogging days. Having blogging as an outlet keeps me from bottling everything up so that it slowly builds up within myself. It makes my inevitable explosions less intense than they would be otherwise.
Therefore, I wanted to say thank you. Thank you to the welcoming, kind blogging community that has allowed me to join it. Thank you for giving me a place where I can let out what’s in my head and know that someone will listen to it. Thank you for giving me a space where I can speak about certain issues without censoring myself.
Thanks for being my friend.
© Angel Fractured and A Canvas Of The Minds 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Angel Fractured and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
What a great post! You echo many of my own feelings about our sensitive and caring blogging community. And like you, I find blogging to be an important way of working out my feelings before they get to the boiling point. Blogging forces me to think about what’s really eating me. In a secret sort of way, I think blogging actually does me as much good as therapy. Well, I guess it IS therapy. Logotherapy, I think, is the word that’s used for writing. Anyone know?
Ummm, and I’m kind of old 😉 so could you explain what is “jumping the shark”? xoxo
“Jumping the shark” would be when something overstays its welcome because it’s no longer relevant. The expression comes from an episode of “Happy Days” when Fonzie jumped over a shark. I was using the expression in a broader way than it’s usually meant, but that’s how I think of it. Wikipedia has a page on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_the_shark
I think blogging is therapeutic also. And thanks!
Jumping the shark also means when things just get ridiculous: Fonzie did jump over a shark… On his motorcycle. I agree with you about the benefits of the blogging community, and how everyone shares out of the spirit of sharing. WP bloggers are a supportive bunch. Blogging has helped me deal with anxiety and keeping a positive attitude about life.
Yeah, I think I was using the phrase in that looser sense. Yeah, other supportive bloggers have kept my mental health issues from getting too crazy, usually.
I didn’t know what jumping the shark meant either, so thanks for explaining. This post has been really helpful to me because you express a lot of things I’ve had wonderings about but haven’t found words for. Blogging is great in terms of the support from fellow bloggers and is quite different from the on-line forums that exist. I think you’re right that the difference lies in what we are here for. So thank you for being part of the blogging community too.
You’re welcome. 🙂
I knew I wanted to write a post where I talked about this issue, but this post, although it’s one of my shorter ones, actually took quite a long time. It’s really hard to put it into words, y’know?
I know the problem well. 😛
i have had similar experiences in the physical health world. every time i tried to connect with people with fibro all i found was whining and grizzling.
i left that kind of thing alone for many years. more recently i changed blogging platform and have a lot of connections here and on twitter – a community that ebbs and flows and is mixed up with other stuff. that seems to work for me. i did get involved in a painy group on google+ but found i was getting spammed too much from a snake oil saleswoman, and i couldn’t work out how not to get the notifications, so i bailed. at some point last year i started following migraine.com which has been great. this resulted in a whole month of blogging about migraine, which has been REAL but not WHINY. i’d happily do the same about mental health stuff, it was a great month.
Cool. As I mentioned elsewhere, It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I find that there are two types of whiners: those who whine about those issues and those who whine that the others are whiner all the time. I must confess I probably did belong in the former camp. But blogging is different . . . it’s about sharing our experiences and using that to help ourselves and/or others.
i think when people talk honestly about what is happening to them it is something beyond whining. there is a real power in connecting with someone’s lived experience.
blogging has become a set of self selecting communities. there are plenty boring bloggers out there, but when someone talks openly about their experience it tends to be moving rather than annoying. but there’s a certain magic to hopping over the divide. good writing probably helps. and so does providing both light and shade. i tend to blog about things other than my pain and troubles, but this past month i have blogged nearly every day for migraine awareness month and i have gained readers rather than losing them. not just that but because of it i have read a lot of other people’s migraine blogs, and it has been brilliant.
not something i thought would happen!
And thank you for being here for me and us too.
I am also a member of a mental health forum and find that it often does me worse, whereas the blogging community is much different to that.
I’m also very thankful for the blogging community that we have.
Wishing you the best. X
I wish you the best, too. *hugs* And thanks.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees the difference between forums and blogs.
Thanks Angel. There is definitely a difference between blogs and forums.
On my forum experience, it’s often triggered me off worse by people telling me to get my s*** together and speaking very abruptly. Not enjoyable. *hugs back to ya Angel*
Yeah, and some people got mad at me for talking about certain things a lot . . . you’d think they’d be more understanding coming from where they do. 😦
Thank you for being here and sharing your words too.
I think the difference between here and a forum is this. People on a forum, they come and go. And most of the time, they only use the forum when they are going through a serious crisis where they need attention immediately. Here, we become a part of each others lives. Maybe I’m coming on too strong. But seriously, I talk to my husband about the topics we touch and sometimes what’s going on. Really, I talk like everyone I interact with are friends of mine. The truth is, you are.
We get to know each other. We build relationships. And instead of it being a trigger, it becomes something else. Sometimes, it’s a cautionary tale. In other moments, we recognize it as a cry for help, and are urged to offer our assistance. This is our support network, instead of a forum where people are coming and going. It’s hard to ask for help when you have to explain your situation repeatedly. Here, we have a record to refer back to.
Thanks for being a part of this support network. I’m really grateful.
Thanks for your thoughts about the differences between forums and blogs. I think that’s part of what I was trying to get at, but of course I couldn’t really think of how to express it. You do so perfectly! Although at the time I visited, there were some regulars in the chatroom that I talked to for a bit. Then there was drama, and I had a weird relapse (part of my trip to the ER) that alienated some people. I feel like blogging has kept my episodes from getting as intense as the one with the ER trip.
A great and earnest post. Support on the blogosphere has been more than I could have imagined. And I was pleasantly surprised by the amazing community I have found. Thank you for writing this.
Thanks! I was trying to think of a way to write this without sounding too sappy. I think I toed the line well, although I feel the last line might be debatable. Still, it’s necessary to express what I’m trying to say. I’m glad you can relate to this post!
Yeah, what Le Clown said.
I feel like my fellow bloggers are friends, and many of them are people I’d like to meet IRL. It’s definitely a supportive community, and for that I’m appreciative as well.
I’d like to meet everyone in real life, too! I’m always glad to know others concur with me.
Set a date and a place, and we can all get together for a chat! Only set it at least a few months off, as I am still paying off my last trip! 😉
Brilliant post, I totally agree with it! xox
Thank you! 🙂
This reflects my same experiences so well, I’m glad to know the way I perceive the blogging community is shared by you and others also. I have learnt so much since I started writing, and been given such kind support. A bonus I never expected from joining the blogosphere.
Thanks, Elyn ♡
I’m glad to know that others feel the same way . . . I wasn’t expecting nearly as much support as I’ve received. I’ve gotten to know so many wonderful people . . . it’s like a supportive and welcoming community.
This is so wonderful, Angel! And, well said too. I agree with what you say so much and just had to say thank you for posting this. I have a feeling you spoke the words that a lot of us feel. I also want to thank you for visiting my blog. I greatly appreciate your interest. I’m grateful that you did, because it has allowed me to now find yours. I look forward to following in your journey. Take care!
I look forward to exploring your blog as well!
I’m glad that others in the blogging community feel as I do about it. 🙂
Love it! Great post Angel. There actually IS a community here. That says a lot.
Yes, indeed, it’s great! 🙂