Four years and one month ago I got serious. I'd set up the blog a few months before I actually wrote on it because it took a while to get the courage. I started out with all these ideas about what could go on it, and really planned to limit what I told of my personal life. Instead, I found that writing about my actual experiences and sharing that with others who stumbled into this for various reasons was healing. During the first 9 months I was writing this my life fell apart in one of the worst explosions I've experienced, and was slowly glued back together as my relationship with Dr. Mind grew. Those months were when I finally had to face that I was doing better than might be expected, but that I still was very ill with precisely what one would expect of someone with my disorder. During those months I had to learn to let go of the idea I could control the entire thing, because I couldn't. I had to learn to let the Drs. Mind and Brain be in control. And truthfully, that is what this story is: learning to give up control then re-learning how to manage my own life with the illness included. Prior to that I had been essentially trying to live as Don Quixote, tilting at windmills without asking why what I was doing wasn't really working. More simply, I had to learn to believe I could live differently and well. Then I had to learn how to do it.
That theme has been repeated over and over as illness has thrown me to the floor over and over again. Each time I've had to return to letting my safe people guide me through the storm, and then restoring a sense of control to my life. Certainly that has been the theme of the last months, as I first had to choose illness that left me clinging desperately to Dr. Mind, then hope as the new med started to work, and now I'm moving on to starting to trust a life I thought I had no hope of living. It's weird when I think about how now sometimes the greatest frustration I have in a day is finding foods I can and will eat, when mere months ago the smallest frustration I had was that I was afraid of all the ways my life was spiraling out of control despite my having made the decision for that to happen. (I think I believed that if I decided to do it that it would be easy. I was very wrong).
This blog has been my best friend though many of these 49 months. There aren't many places I know of that I can go and talk for hours in great detail about every single minute of every single day I spent in a relatively long stay psych unit and nobody will judge me. The people in my life who know where I was and why mainly refuse to acknowledge it, so that it is just this uncomfortable zone I don't mind talking about but everyone else does. I have told every detail pretty much of that time, I have been explicit about life in a psych unit and the time leading up to it, and the recovery from it, right down to and including my taking large amounts of rather controversial drugs (ie taking 2 benzos together, high dose antipsychotics, etc) and I have not had one negative comment. In fact, in all these posts I believe there have been 3 or 4 comments that have been hurtful, and those came from the same 2 people. Considering I write nearly daily about things that our society prefers to ignore, I find you readers amazing.
I've come a long way from "keep it all hidden" Just Me, to "the only blog I can find with daily posts from the psych ward", much less the only blog I can find with the details I've given about it, and here's my real name and an idea where I live. And I haven't come that far because of me. I've come that far because of all of you, who have let me be who I am and have encouraged me beyond my ability to even comprehend. I find it interesting that we live in a society where mental illness is to be hidden, and yet this blog has gained the most interest since I took down all barriers between my experiences and my writing. I still am "Just Me", but I'm also Jen, the mentally ill occupational therapist, and I like that they are now the same person.
Thank you so much. Each of you, whether you speak up much or not, has let me grow and become a better person because you've let me relax and live a life as I am, not as who I think I'm supposed to be.
I can't wait to see where we are in another thousand posts.