Mental Illness Blogs and Frustration

Over the last month or so, I’ve talked to a couple of people about the possibility of setting up a web site like Freethought Blogs for people who blog about dealing with mental illness. I think it would be wonderful to have a community of bloggers with that common theme. With the common goal of making invisible diseases visible.

Today I realized that I know a friend who might be capable of putting together the back end that would be needed to start something like this. We got together and talked over what setting up a web site like Freethought Blogs for blogging about mental illness would entail. How much it would cost, how much work it would take to maintain, etc, etc.

The more I think about it, though, the more I think it’s not something I should attempt right now. I just don’t have the mental stamina to go all the way through with a project like that, or to administrate it consistently. Not right now. It’s too big, too much to handle, and the risk that it would be enough additional stress that it would impact my own ability to focus on resolving my own issues is too big to ignore.

I hit a really bad, close-to-suicidal spot just before starting this blog, and realized that I needed to jettison some of the things in my life to make room for working on recovery. I’m no longer in the relationship I was in then. I’m no longer the leader of a local social group that I helped start–probably the achievement I’m most proud of over the past few years. It was just too much stress to deal with.

I want, desperately, to be contributing something to the world. There are so many things I’d like to do. I’d like to be a group leader again, I’d like to do this blogging project, because I think it could really be a good thing to have, both for me and for others. I just can’t, though. It kills me. It kills me to know that there are these things that I can do, that I want to do, that I would be able to do if I were just a normal person, but I’m not right now. I can’t do those things. There are a lot of baby steps to be taken between where I am now and where I’ll be able to reliably manage a substantial project of any sort. That point feels impossibly far away right now, and it sucks.

Mental illness gives me a window into the lives of other people who are suffering from it. It gives me knowledge and tools that would help me make a project like a collective of mental illness blogs work. I can’t make it work, though, because of how mental illness is affecting me. It feels like, even in the ways that being this way could help me help other people, I can’t actually help.

You want to believe that there’s some value, some way that dealing with a problem this bad will enrich your life, empower you in some way. But the reality is generally crueler than that. Even in the ways this might enable me to help people, I can’t help, because of the ways it disables me.

Which sucks.

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5 comments on “Mental Illness Blogs and Frustration

  1. “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.”

    Geez, I just wanted to correct my typo.

    *difference

  2. I feel I should come out of the woodwork and comment on this. You may feel like you can’t possibly make a difference and help people now, but I just want to tell you that your time will come. Maybe not now. But you will be able to help someone that may be going through the same thing.

    I would like to share my personal experience, if you don’t mind. The worst of my depression and self-injury was between the ages of 13 and 16. I have been in various stages of recovery ever since, and I have learned a lot about myself and the mental illness experience. But I never shared it with anyone. I kept it a secret. Until my sister began struggling with depression and an eating disorder. I had mostly kept my depression-related struggles a secret from her as well. But when she needed an ally and a supporter on her side, I felt incredibly grateful that I could say, truthfully – “I understand.” This moment came almost 10 years after my initial struggle with depression. But by the end of one particular group therapy session, I was bawling my eyes out because I finally felt that my suffering had been worth something to others. That I could be there for my sister.

    So, you might not be able to help other people now. That’s ok. That can wait. I guarantee you that what you are going through right now will be worth a lot to someone, someday.

    • You’re probably right.

      I have to remind myself that that matters in a way, because there’s one frustrating thing about it. Having depression is important in that it helps you offer an understanding ear to others who suffer from it. That’s nice but also frustrating, because it feels a bit like saying to yourself, “It’s important that depression exists because depression exists.” And I find myself annoyed that there isn’t a reason outside of the fact that other people have to deal with this crap, too.

      But in any event, it does exist, so you’re right, it is something that can help people.

      • That was very recursive. 🙂

        I’ve had just enough depression to empathize with sufferers. Same with social anxiety and a few other things. From my perspective, having learned how to share more of myself over the years, the value of experience is intrinsic to sharing it. The very idea that someone else understands is incredibly helpful! INCREDIBLY. Words cannot express how much. Over and over I’ve had this same reaction to merely offering understanding, so I must conclude that it is key. We are each trapped in our own skulls. Connections can be difficult and discouraging. To find understanding is to find invaluable help.

        That’s why, when you asked my opinion, I encouraged you to write this blog. It is a way to help while your resources are still limited.

      • You’re not just offering understanding, though. You’re offering experience. And your own ways of dealing with it. That’s more than just depression existing, or you existing with depression. You’re not just existing. You’re coming up with your own strategies, and that can also be helpful to someone. Subtle different.

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