Thanks to blogger Lulu, who asked the important question “what can I do?” we have Blog for Mental Health 2014.
When I read this WordPress’ blog post I realized I had to join in. I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 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.
This very blog, Art, Spirit, Nature, is named for the keys to my sanity, the resources I turn to for healing, inspiration, and strength. I created it for my own sanity: to connect with others, to create, to share the difficult beauty of living.
The purpose of Blog for Mental Health 2014 is to shine a light on mental health issues in our lives, to do our part as communicators to bring mental illness and its human toll out of the stigma closet, and help people who suffer or struggle gain a little, or a lot of hope. To maybe even save a life.
I live with depression. I take anti-depressent medication, and I must take conscious steps to stay out of self-destructive habits and thinking. I recently went through the process of acquiring a new therapist in a new healthcare system. During the intake process, the counselor asked me “How does your family feel about mental health care?”
After I recovered from hysterical laughter, I told her the story of my cousin, whom I shall call “Donna,” now deceased. “Donna” essentially died from untreated depression, succumbing to multiple organ failures at age 58. You could say she chose to lead her life in a way that destroyed her health by degrees, making choices that were increasingly deadly. Many people do this. They use substances, ignore their doctors, eat unwisely, fail to exercise. So I suppose the real disease might be called self-hatred, or at very least, self-neglect.
In my family, the stigma of mental health treatment out-weighs any imaginable benefit. For my cousin, there were some opportunities to intervene. Only a few, as she was stubborn and determined to have her way. I regret that I did not make a greater effort. I have distanced myself from family members for years when their choices prove toxic to my sanity and stability. We do not share a belief system, one that is a matter of life or death for me.
I believe in choosing to confront mental illness and be proactive for mental health. So that’s why I am Blogging for Mental Health in 2014. Every one of my posts is already an attempt to focus on the pathways in life that encourage my mental health, my strong and living spirit, my love of life. I’m just making it clear that there is a deliberate purpose to my blogging.
I hope you’ll share this post, this project, your story, any or all of these things.
Blessings for a beautiful day!