Lately I have been feeling the weight of not contributing to Canvas as much as I had originally planned. Even on my own blog I have barely had the time or energy to sketch, post and read updates from others. But not posting on my own blog burdens me less for some reason.
I keep quiet mostly about my illness, a stupid male pride thing. But on Canvas I found a means to express and share – partly to help myself process some thoughts and feelings and also in the hope I may be able to help others in some small way by sharing.
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” ~Aristotle
Recently something happened to me that lifted that burden almost immediately.Something happened which made me realize posts on Canvas and other mental health blogs are like pieces of art, hung in the “Cyber Gallery of Mental Health” for all with interest to see.
Not all pieces of art displayed in the gallery of Mental Health are pleasing to the eye. Some just seem like incomprehensible scratchings, others are works of beauty, some cry out in pain, other express strength or victory, many offer guidance and encouragement if we look closely enough.
“Art is the triumph over chaos.” ~John Cheever
Canvas is such a good term to use for the platform provided here for so many
Authors Artists. It is also a good term to use for anyone posting about mental health on their blogs. You all begin with a blank post and then cover it with honest and deliberate splashes and strokes of you.
Okay … getting to my point!
My point is this: It doesn’t matter whether we post once, twice, or 1000 times about Mental Health. What matters is that we DID post … we DID share … we DID reach out … and we DID give a face and voice to mental health issues.
Like paintings and works of art, as long as these posts remain hung on the wall of the Internet, others will see them. Whether we paint once, regularly or frequently … our words exist and remain there to be seen and shared.
A week ago I received an email out of the blue. The person who emailed me began with these words (I hope they don’t mind me sharing):
“I wanted to tell you that I stumbled across some of your blogs in “A Canvas of the Minds”. How did I do this? You wouldn’t believe it, (or maybe you would). In my absolute desperation to find someone else in this world who feels the same way I do about health anxieties, and how they are coping with it, I was googling various phrases and words related to this….and in the list of google results, up came a blog entry that you had written: Dead Man Walking – Health Anxiety Strikes Again!”
We talked more and over a few days exchanged emails and information about our health related anxieties, fears and strategies. Ironically, by the end I believe they may have helped me more than I helped them.
I share this not to boast, but to encourage those of you who do blog more than me about Mental Health, either here or on your own space. To encourage those of you who feel some guilt or pressure when you have periods with nothing to say or post. To encourage those of you who may have only ever written and shared once.
Your words remain. Spoken every day to anyone who cares (or needs) to Google.
“An artist never really finishes his work; he merely abandons it.” ~Paul Valér
Okay. One more story!
Whilst catching up on my Reader, one particular post really caught my eye. See the link here:
Graham is one of the few brave men I have found who share so openly on their blogs. In this particular post he includes a very brief video of himself.
You will notice in the comments that a few people refer affectionately to the way he lifts his eyebrow towards the end.
Graham would have no way of knowing this … but half of my face is paralyzed by an illness that struck me over 10 years ago. It was also the starting point for my journey and battle with mental health. So whilst I have one eyebrow that behaves quite normally when I laugh, smile, talk or make any kind of facial expression – the other one stays still, making the normal one seem a little out of control.
Our struggles are different. He has a courage greater than me when speaking out about his mental illness. But in that post I saw a guy (like me), with mental illness (like me), and even a wayward eyebrow (like me). A simple post, that connected with me in more ways than I am sure he intended, but it made me feel not so alone.
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ~Mother Teresa
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