*For those of you who are wondering, there was never a step 1. It’s 1 a.m give me a break, coming up with titles is getting hard.*
Anyway, there comes a time in a bloggers life when she has to sit and think:
What do I really want my blog to cover?
I’m sure we all remember the string of days my wit was impeccable and my sarcasm impenetrable. We all remember the early days of my blog when I took such gracious pleasure in ripping a new one into Alex Gorsky, the C.E.O of the company Johnson and Johnson for receiving his “man of integrity” award for being an outstanding “corporate leader with a sense of social responsibility”. Don’t know who Alex is? Don’t know what post I’m talking about? Well then I say hello to you and welcome to my blog, what took you so long to get here? There are cookies in on the table in the back.
There are two things I enjoy most in life: making people laugh and making people think.
When I first started this blog I never believed I’d even reach fifty followers. I barely even understood what a follower was and wondered if I could make them do my bidding.
I just knew that I loved to write and I loved to have people read my writing.
My first blog I was going to focus only on social anxiety. I wanted it to be planned, well thought-out and I wanted the posts to be articulate and informational.
Then I got bored. I mean fall-asleep-at-the-keyboard-and-drool-on-the-keys bored.
And I think we can all agree as bloggers and writers if you are bored by your writing, chances are other people will be too.
So I aborted that blog. It’s still somewhere out in the internet ether, floating around unmanned and essentially doomed.
It wasn’t until I started ignoring how my words fell onto the screen that I realized how therapeutic of a process blogging could be. I’ve learned a lot about myself over this last year from this blog alone and from the people who took their time to comment and read my words. Many of you have stuck with me through all the ups and downs and zig-zags and I’m thankful for that. It’s always nice when you’re twenty feet in a hole with two broken legs and thorns in your head from the time you thought you could run naked through the forest of Cacti without ramifications to wake up in the morning and see that little notification on your phone or your computer with an encouraging comment from someone.
Blogging has blown up with the internet. I remember this was a thing I used to make fun of: blogging? Who the fuck sits there and rants about themselves for a thousand words?
I guess I only came across narcissistic posters.
I was amazed at the variety of people on here: the artists, the lawyers, the health coaches, the doctors, the psychiatrists, many of whom I was surprised they even took a glance at my site, let alone click the “like” button. Them following me was like I won the lottery for a little blogging/social media newbie.
There are blogs on WordPress who are absolutely astounding, who I feel should get much more attention than that woman Amanda Lauren who claimed her friend’s suicide was a blessing.
What strikes me about many of you wonderful people is your ability to be real and open. You’re not trying to pull wool over anyone’s eyes, not even your own. You’re not trying to sound like anyone but yourself and I admire that.
Now I must admit, there are some of you who are unbelievably friendly. You have smiley faces all over the place, your photos are fucking unicorns flying around in rainbows, you address all of us as friends and such, I don’t know how you do it. I mean let’s face it, I’m one hilarious freak, but I can come off pretty cold and detached.
The great thing is no one seems to give a fuck, so thanks for that.
If there’s one thing that gets lost in the mental health system is our voice. A lot of people don’t have a say in their diagnosis, they can’t view their records, and even something as “simple” as going to therapy can feel like a trap. I know I’ve had therapists who have basically coerced me into agreeing with them. That’s when I was a teenager.
Little did they know I had eyes and, shockingly, a brain that could process a lot of information very quickly in the form of medical, pro-psych and anti-psych books. So when a physician tried telling me a side effect I experienced of a medication I was taking didn’t exist, I argued until she shut up and took me off the medication. And she was one of the nicest ones I’d been to.
When the hospital staff in the critical care unit shot up my dad with Ativan to stop a seizure and he started hallucinating, having delusions, and being extremely confused, in and out of consciousness and they said “Ativan doesn’t cause that reaction” without even batting an eyelash at the situation, I looked them dead in the eye and stated clearly:
Long story short, because of me and my threat to bring up research, after they knowingly let him wander out of the hospital after he’d spent thirty minutes rolling on the floor laughing and pointing at hallucinations obviously not in his right mind, he’s listed as “allergic” on their records
It’s not smart to assume everyone who walks through your hospital doors has no knowledge of your medications and practices.
If you’re someone who can’t do those things, who doesn’t want to spend seven or eight hours a day reading medical research and books I did as a teenager just to argue with a couple doctors, the ability to have a blog and get your voice out into other’s eyes and hearts, is priceless I think.
Because your voice matters. What you experience matters. Doctors are humans too, they make mistakes and you’re the only one who is an expert on you.
I love websites like The Mighty that empower people like us to get our voice out there and connect with others and share with others. I think that’s beautiful.
It would be more beautiful if we could reach the medical community in that way.
It would be more beautiful if we had people like us in the system.
I fully admire and endorse that one medical student who was very open and honest about her mental health struggles despite the panel that degraded her for her “weakness” and almost cost her medical school.
I was amazed when a mental health magazine based in San Francisco read my blog and loved it and asked me to feature one of their info-graphs in a post of mine. I was amazed by the overwhelming support I’ve received from you all, from magazines and websites, from organizations and everything in between. All of it just serves to remind me that I’ve always wanted this blog to not just be a voice for me, but for all of us in a way.
It serves to remind me that I can never forget where I’ve come from. No matter my degree title, no matter the day when I finally get to write M.D behind my last name, I’ll never just be a representation of the medical community, I’ll be a representation of those of us who never got or get the chance to have a voice within the medical/mental health community. I’ll be a representative of those of us stuck on the streets without food or a roof (been there, done that), those of us who struggle day after day, night after night lost in our heads without hope (been there, done that), those of us who harm ourselves and those around us (been there, done that), those of us barely aware of reality (been there, done that), those of us too aware of reality (been there, done that), and everything in between.
We all have so much to say, so much we’ve experienced. I love the level it’s at now, I love the blogging, the websites, the social media . . . but I want to take it farther. I’m sure many people do. And we can if we do it together.