Hi guys. Thanks for sticking with me this whole week. You’ve been amazing. I promise next week I’m going back to share some awesome outfits, some way lighter writing I’ve been working on, and a whole big post about my new dog (new=the one I’ve had since she was born, who has been living with my mom until a few days ago). Before all of that, though, I want to wrap up this week’s worth of writing. Again, thank you for your patience.
Why did I write The Allegory? Easy–because the words were already inside me, and needed to be recorded. Refusing to type them out would have been a futile attempt at denying their existence.
Why am I sharing it online? This one is harder to answer. The easiest, most evasive and casual answer is simply ‘because I felt like it’. Because I draw so much strength from other bloggers who share their hardships and journeys, and it makes me feel less alone. Because there is nothing shameful about what I am sharing. Mostly, though, because it’s the truth. Because I spent the past week in a horrible gray fog and the suffocating feeling of knowing I had nothing worth sharing on a blog only added (in a fairly trivial way) to the stress and shame of what I was going through.
Two blogs had the biggest influence on why I wanted to start one of my own. Dooce and The Bloggess. They are both, in their own way, amazing women and regardless of any controversy that crops up, their willingness to share their own journeys gives me a lot of strength, even though for a long time I never thought I’d share mine–not online at least. There’s no denying the level of comfort and strength to be gained from reading about other people who struggle with similar demons to your own, though, and thinking that I could help someone else is a very flattering thought. I love that my (in real life) friend Alicia is brave enough to be so candid and casual about her own diagnosis. Reading Rachele’s post on The Nearsighted Owl about her partner’s bipolar disorder was an unexpected and amazing breath of fresh air. Reading Sarah’s candid discussion about her anxiety disorder was awesome. Point being, the more I see others approach mental health transparency, the more I am encouraged by them and inspired to be more like them.
Wait, why am I sharing this?
Not as an invitation for conversation. This feels strange to admit, but I ask that you accept and acknowledge how very deeply personal all of my story is to me. You might be a complete stranger living in a different country; a person with whom I’ve had absolutely no interactions with. You might be my boss. My former boss. My future landlord. Most likely, you know me in real life. We’re probably facebook friends and get together for drinks sometime. You might even be a family member who’s known me since I was itty bitty. That’s okay–I’ve thought about all the faces who have told me they read my blog, and I’ve imagined what it would be like to say all these things face to face. It makes me deeply uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I would like to have the strength to say all these things face to face to everyone I come into contact with, if only because feeling like I have to keep it a secret is a suffocating trap I fall into. There exists a miniature and imperfect paradox, though, in striving to find the balance between being upfront and open, about not being trapped by stigma, and protecting one’s own privacy.
My mental health is no one’s business but my own, even if I chose to share it on the internet. The specifics, those little details are all mine. The overarching struggle, though, the one that keeps me paralyzed from sharing anything at all for over a week, that’s something I want to share. I don’t want to feel trapped by it. I also don’t think it’s okay for people to approach me and expect that I’ll have an open dialogue with them about what’s going on in my head, so don’t be surprised when I awkwardly sidestep around that conversation topic. Being bipolar is not something that I want to be known for. Writing about what a struggle it is is not how I want to be known, and for a while I thought it would be easy enough to just draw a large black censorship line across those periods in my life when it comes to what I write about online. This entire week of writing is how I acknowledge that, at least for me, that line of thinking doesn’t work.