#HAWMC 19: Lessons Learned?

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I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life; decisions I wish I could take back. Some I have learned from and try not to replicate. But others  . . . . well it’s the saying “history repeats itself”?

As the focus of #HAWMC is health, I will consider a decision I didn’t make and should have. Not so much a mistake, as a miscue for my mental health.

By the fall of 2005, I had been through a series of traumatic events over the course of 5 years. Circumstances where I had little or no control over the situation, nor the outcome. I lost faith in myself; my self-confidence hit an all time low; and it took all the reserves of my mental and physical energy to keep on.

I was stressed to the max which aggravated my mental and physical pain. Despite high doses of morphine, my facial pain worsened. Always chronically depressed, I wasn’t doing any better on antidepressants. In other words, I was a physical and mental wreck.

The decision I didn’t make was to pursue therapy for my mental health issues. To see a diagnosing and medicating psychiatrist, find a good therapist, piece back together my fragile self-image and sanity.

Six years later, I had a complete mental meltdown, and wasn’t able to access professional mental health assistance from the fall of 2011 until the late winter of 2013. I had an excellent cognitive behavioral therapist, but I needed more.

Finally in March of this year, I started seeing a medicating psychiatrist and a therapist. The last 10 years have been really rough – a layer of icing over a cake of hard times. If I’d entered therapy in 2005, the last six years would have been very different.

#HAWMC 8: Work

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I haven’t worked in many years. My mental and physical health issues have an impact on this – especially my mental health. Though these are not the reasons I stopped working; they have influenced why I haven’t started working again.

Therefore, I’m looking forward to others’ responses. I hope to find the courage and confidence to finally finish writing my new resume, and rather than looking at job postings, actually apply.

#HAWMC 7: why do I write?

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Today’s prompt requires writing for 15 to 20 minutes (without stopping) on the topic of why I write, when I began, and the effect it has on my life. Almost 600 bambling words of self. This is a warning of what lays ahead should you decide to read this post.

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I’ve always told myself bedtime stories. Some were/are elaborate, multi-chapter mental tomes. In some, I’m a character; in others I am the narrator. The stories can be fairy tales, fiction, dreams and hopes, rewriting of existing stories, my novels, novella, poems, letters/emails (and now blog posts.)

I guess most of this is mind-writing. Translating these into concrete words and paragraphs on paper or screen can be difficult. Often, I forget whole chapters, or what sounds good inside my head, doesn’t when I read in back. Or there just isn’t time. These are long stories, written and rewritten over years before sleep, walking, sitting on a train or in a doctor’s office. What takes only minutes in my head, takes hours when I try to write them down.

I started using blogging as a means of translating my head stories into “print” in 2009. That’s the year I got a laptop and discovered a whole world I’d heard about but never entered. It had the same feeling of wonderment as the first time someone showed me the web in the early 1990s. Communities of people writing their mental stories. Blogs that informed. Blogs that communicated. Blogs that entertained. Blogs that helped me understand myself and my physical health issues.

Writing in my head now took a different route – more reality and less fiction. A very private person, it took awhile before I could “open” up and show more sides of myself. Though, it’s important to remember that I can write a fictional autobiography. People’s comments and responses to my blog and my comments helped me explore new territories and trek through new land and mindscapes.

Blogging helped me deal with my mother’s illness and death. After a mental meltdown in the fall of 2011, without access to mental health care, blogging was my therapy and life line. Diagnosed with bipolar 2, I used my blog to work out what that meant to my past, present, and future.

I write of my frustrations at not becoming unstuck. My anxiety. My inability to commit and follow through. The demons that haunt me. My battle with mental and physical illness.

Lately, my blog has taken a more “literary” turn as I find myself drawn to blogs that focus on writing prose and poetry. Bloggers that supply prompts from which to launch myself. In one way, it takes me away from blogging about my mental and physical health, providing a distraction from everyday mental and physical pain. But, my all my writing is influenced by who I am – imperfect, hurting, anxious, full of guilt, crushed dreams, and uncertainty.

I’m writing a sort of novella by prompt. The character is a reflection of me and how I see and deal with the world. She is also part of my fictional autobiography as she plays out my mind stories on the computer screen. I have a series of mystery novellas in my head (and a bit on paper) where the main character has mental or physical health issues that don’t stop them from solving mysteries, and in fact, help them be excellent detectives. I hope to fully commit these to the computer. If ever published, they would encompass so much of my writing: mind stories, fiction/prose, and mental and physical health issues. Wish me luck.

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