I began this writing endeavor with a series of 9 posts on Facebook. I’d like to share them again here over the next week or so, adding a few thoughts which have occurred as a result of feedback received.
When I made this first post a little over a week ago, it was my first public hint at an explanation to my friends for my absence from social media and life in general over the past several years… I was testing the waters to see what kind of response there would be, so I kept this initial post short and sweet. I also knew the series would have 9 posts in all… I expected to tailor the remaining posts according to any comments made in response.
I was surprised and pleased to receive an outpouring of love and support from friends with whom I had mostly lost touch over the years. In addition to numerous comments, I received private messages – not about my condition, but from others suffering in various ways from the consequences of mental illness and/or addiction, thanking me for making this statement.
As you will see, even though this initial post emphasizes that mental illness is not a choice, the final post in the series will clarify that – for me, at least – mental illness is in large in part a result of my choices in life. This may seem obvious to some; others may disagree wholeheartedly. But that’s my assessment of what I’ve experienced to date.
By the final post in the series, I was confident that blogging was something I should start doing. Some say it’s therapeutic – and perhaps that will be true. But for me, what’s important is sharing what I’ve learned through this difficult time, to find some purpose and meaning in an otherwise inexplicable period of my life. My hope is that my reflections will make life easier somehow for someone else – either as they suffer, or so that they don’t have to. Also to educate those who are not conscious of having dealt with any mental issues or medical conditions concerning “mood disorders”… that these are not irrational things, but rather the result of various factors that, once grasped, can be understood to a large extent.
We will never be able to predict what a person with a mental disorder will do next. But if we are honest, can we ever say that we can predict with 100% certainty what anyone will do? Maybe instead of thinking of the mentally ill as “irrational” or “unpredictable”, it would be better to view them as an extreme or dramatic example of what it really means to be a “human being” and a “person”.