It’s the first of October, the first of a month long dedication to all things mental illness. As with all things, the best place to start is the beginning. For me the beginning is why I choose to talk so openly about mental illness.
I first started this blog in April 2011, at the time I wasn’t even sure if I would continue on with this blog. I figured that I would bang out a couple of posts, get bored and then give up. I wasn’t banking on falling in love with the online space, of having my voice heard. I realised that I had an important story to share.
Over the last three and a half years I have definitely had my fair share of doubts about whether I could continue this space. I had my biggest identity crisis last year after Problogger because I wasn’t sure where I could go with my story. I was feeling boxed in by the mental illness tag and I was worried that the blog was exasperating my illness rather than being a help.
It was then that I first realised that blogging was about my voice, not just about the content and that I could write about anything I wanted. With that realisation, it felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I still wanted to write about mental illness, it’s what I know, but I had given myself permission to not be pigeon holed by it. Just like in therapy, I had come to a point where I realised that I was more than my mental illness.
I’ve been dealing with my mental health issues and by extension, the mental health system for the last 12 years. I have had ups and downs and I knew that I could use these experiences to help people. I wanted people to understand what it was like to have to navigate a system that is flawed, a system that is almost designed to punish it’s patients instead of treat them.
The thing that I most wanted from blogging, and is what keeps me going when I feel overwhelmed, is to educate those who still buy into the stigma. I want to show the people beneath the diagnosis, to show that we aren’t people to be feared. I enjoy being able to provide information in a way that is easy to digest.
I hope that by telling my story, I can encourage someone else to tell their story. It is only through sharing our stories that we can push through the stigma around mental illness. The stigma is still rife, and that is why I blog about mental illness.