Saturday, 16 May 2015
Welcome to Write Strong
The first issue though is well timed in introducing myself. Many people have commented that it has been so helpful that someone 'normal' has admitted to having a mental illness. That sentence could read as a contradiction in terms! But I know what they mean. I am not a celebrity, nor an elite sportsperson. I do not have social or economic disadvantage. I am intelligent and well educated. I am not homeless nor unemployed. I have had a long and successful career and continue to work and volunteer in areas of which I am passionate. I am not wealthy. I do not have an addiction. I have a mortgage. I am a wife, mum of 3, mum in law, and any day now will be a grandmother (unbelievably excited!!!!). But I also have a severe, chronic mental illness which I will have for life. 10 years ago I was diagnosed with severe, major clinical depression with psychotic features. The prognosis was "at best guarded". So yep! I am 'normal'. I am no different to the many, many, many other people who live with a huge variety of challenges.
So what makes mental illness different?
The shame. The guilt. The stigma. The secrecy.
So I am working somewhat backwards (how unusual!). I am starting with exposing the secrecy. This is in the hope that by doing this we will, in turn, be able to dispel the guilt and the shame. When that's all gone the stigma will also be a thing of the past.
Why the title Write Strong? Because Power of Words was taken. And I wanted something about words. Words have always been so important to me. From the moment I realised that those squiggles on a page could be woven to take me to another world I was hooked. I could never imagine not having a pile of books on my bedside table. And journaling has been a crucial tool in my recovery and survival. I have kept all my journals over the last 10 years in case I ever write the book that I have been told is a must. But those journals are all tied up in a bag with a note asking that they be destroyed unread if I'm not around and they still are!
With words we can change anything. A kind word can make someone's day. A harsh one can destroy a soul. Words have more power than anything else. Words dispel secrets. Words make or take away shame. Words can reassure or condemn. So, with words, we can grow strong. With no limits.
Words have led to the creation of this blog. The words that became mine after people read parts of my story. The words that didn't judge. The words that didn't blame. The words that didn't shame. The words that said I was okay. The words that said I was enough. The words that said I was loved.
So if you, or someone you know might benefit from being part of this process please feel free to share this blog.
Off we go! Stay in touch and please feel free to comment and make suggestions. I can't tell you how important your contributions are. Let's make a difference.
BUT please know - this is not a blog offering professional advice. I am starting a conversation. For help and professional support there are wonderful organisations like Beyond Blue, Black Dog Institute and Lifeline who offer 24 hour support and advice. They do this because help is available. There is support and resources. Mental illness can be treated. But only if we seek help.