Maybe

At the beginning of May, I set out on a mental health mission.  May being Mental Health Month, I wanted to dedicate a daily post to a condition of, treatment for, and/or living with mental illness.  While my life is influenced by my own struggle with depression, and all of my posts are therefore colored by it, I wanted these series of posts to address mental illness and health dead on.  And with the exception of one day, I did it!  And learned some interesting things in the process.

What a month of blogging about mental illness and health will teach you:

  • Focusing on your depression and what it does to you everyday makes you even more depressed
  • I may have exhausted not only myself, but also those around me.
  • Daily blogging (I had previously blogged approximately two times a week) made this ‘stay-at-home mom’ feel like I had a purpose, a vocation, a “real” job.  I had set that schedule for myself and had to stick to it.  I made writing – something I truly enjoy – a priority.
  • Daily blogging made my house look like a pit.  Making my writing a priority pushed nearly everything else to the wayside.
  • I need to work on time management 😉
  • If you write it, they will come – eventually
  • There are a lot of super-supportive people who write incredibly thoughtful comments.
  • I feel your pain’, though overused, is not a pile of horseshit.  It is extremely powerful to connect with someone who has, indeed, felt your pain.
  • That I over-catastrophize (yes, I may be making up words again).  I missed one day in my blog-a-day-a-month challenge and a bushel basket of chopped potatoes did not come crashing down upon my head.
  • That given the chance to slack, I will.  June 1 rolled around and I let the rest of life come rushing back in.
  • That, sometimes to a fault, I engage both sides of an argument, an issue, etc.  I’m forever writing that big pro/con list in the sky, which may make me come across as wishy-washy, fickle, not knowing my @## from my elbow (compare the two previous points!)
  • That achieving balance is to continually adjust on the tightrope of life.  Urgh.
  • That telling your deepest, darkest fears and foibles makes you incredibly vulnerable – or at least feeling that way.
  • That people like to know they’re not the only one feeling that way.
  • That one month of posts is not enough to explore all there is to know about mental health and illness.
  • That although I started the month of May thinking these posts would be a departure from my usual in that they directly addressed mental health and illness, there really is no separating out depression from everyday life.  It’s the constant mantle on our shoulders, sometimes blowing lightly in the wind, sometimes soaking wet with rain.

So, now it’s back to operation ‘normal’, whatever the hell that is.  I did miss writing about my crazy adventures and travails as a mom.  I did miss writing something “positive” or life affirming (I tried during May, but felt like most of it was heavy).  I’ll be glad to write something that doesn’t make you think I loathe my children and the life I lead.  But I guess I won’t be giving up writing about mental health and illness; that is woven into the fiber of my being for better or worse.  Maybe I’m finally learning to live with that.

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11 Comments

  1. I guess this is where I need to break MY silence to you.
    I began “writing” having no clue what I was doing here. In my “mental pain” and hurt and anguish and health, I am finding a healing of sorts. Here.
    I can not say how “Chopping Potatos” came to be on my blog or how I clicked like to your post. But I did. I remember reading and liking.
    I have fought a hard two years in my health. Along with the loss of one of my dearest friends. I have felt very responsible for some of her problems.

    You wrote. I read. I cried.

    One day, I commented. It was not until that day, the reply came up and behold, your name JENNIFER BUTLER.
    That was my friends name. I couldn’t breathe. How can this be. How do these things happen?
    You speak third person as if you are her.

    Don’t stop writing. It is your passion. You are reaching people more than you know. And greater than you realize. Your voice is large. Your heart is larger. And there are no coincidences in life. Thank you for being mine. And oddly enough…my jeni loved to chop Potatos.

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    • Jennifer Butler Basile

       /  June 4, 2013

      Quickening of heartbeat, intake of breath, hand on mouth, tears in eyes . . . I need to take this in! My goodness. I will come back to you

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  2. It takes courage and authenticity to reveal – wonderfully done

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  3. Powerful and real. Thank you for sharing Jennifer.

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  4. You have done such an amazing job throughout May of bringing attention to such an important topic. You have lent your voice and brought your experiences and put them on the table for all to view. I commend you on your openness, willingness to listen and ability to empathize with others, including myself. I hope depression is something that doesn’t burden you any further but if need be, you continue to face it with grace and great strength.

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    • Jennifer Butler Basile

       /  June 6, 2013

      Thank you. Your free little words humble me . . .

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  5. I can relate to much of what your blogging May taught you, thankfully (?) without the work of posting every day for a month. There are some amazing people blogging about mental illness, and I’ve found that community to be fabulously supportive and helpful to me. This being an indication of your writing, I look forward to catching up with your prior posts!

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    • Jennifer Butler Basile

       /  June 6, 2013

      Thank you, kind sir. I, too, have found that community incredibly supportive. Definitely a breath of fresh air in an often suffocating situation. Glad they have helped you, too.

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