Last year, Lulu created Blog for Mental Health 2012. Now it’s time for the 2013 edition! As I primarily write about mental health, I am more than honored to take part in this wonderful project yet again! Hereby do I swear my pledge!
1) Take the pledge by copying and pasting the following into a post featuring “Blog for Mental Health 2013″:
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.
2) Link back to the person who pledged you.
I was pledged by A Canvas Of The Minds, natürlich.
3) Write a short biography of your mental health, and what this means to you.
Initially, I was going to recapitulate what I wrote when I pledged to Blog for Mental Health 2012. However, I think my answers would be different now, and some things have changed, too.
I probably couldn’t write a short biography of my mental health. In some ways, it’s bound to who I’ve been my whole life, like my physical health would be. I suppose I should go over some highlights.
I have been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Though I didn’t receive these diagnoses until I was 23, they’re both issues I’ve dealt with my whole life, since before I can remember. I don’t know how others experience social anxiety, but for me it’s like an instinct. Even before I started dealing with my later self-esteem issues, it’s been second nature for me to flee when there are people nearby, especially in groups. Responsibilities, deadlines, everyday life, trigger stifling anxieties, but none of those are as strong as my social anxiety. That’s not to say my anxiety problems are light; my social anxiety problems are just much more intense.
As for my other issues, explanations have been bandied about. Some that have been suspected include depression, Asperger’s Syndrome, and a personality disorder. Two that have recently become official are post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder.
I’m not comfortable with the PTSD diagnosis, or maybe it’s lain dormant for a few months. The PTSD diagnosis mainly stems from the fact that there are certain situations in which I’ll flashback to a childhood mindset or become incapacitated. For instance, if there’s intense arguing or yelling nearby, I freeze. When people sound angry, I’ll start crying, even if I’m not involved in the action, even if the action involves strangers. If someone wants me to mediate or take a side, I cannot do it. Before my parents divorced, they often got in heated arguments, and sometimes it felt like they turned on me when I tried to help. PTSD supposedly resulted from this type of childhood emotional stress.
Then there’s bipolar disorder, which seems more accurate the more I understand my experiences and mood cycles. I was skeptical about the possibility of bipolar disorder, but when I read through my blog posts as a whole, patterns seemed to emerge. I often still don’t understand my observations about myself or even how to articulate what’s going on.
This pledge means a lot to me. I hope I can help chip away at the stigma against mental illness, decrease unwarranted shame about mental illness. I hope I can one day eliminate my shame, stop feeling like I have a secret I must never let out, not even the tiniest whisper of it. I hope I can help people, both those with and without mental illness, better understand mental health.
I hope I can show there is hope for people with mental health problems, that our lives aren’t doomed. That no one is alone in this. That even if it takes years to understand our issues and find a solution to them, life is worth it, and we can lead meaningful lives.
4) Pledge five others, and be sure to let them know!
I think most bloggers I know have either already taken the pledge or been pledged by others. If you’re reading this and haven’t yet taken the pledge, I nominate you!
5) Blog for Mental Health 2013 Blogroll
Canvas has a blogroll of everyone who’s taken the pledge. Check it out! And if you’ve taken the pledge, leave a comment so you can be added to the blogroll!