I know a few of you subscribed so you would be able to keep up on what I'm up to and the nonsense I'm creating so it's probably time for a real blog post about my mental health. Especially since most of what I post here is just creative prompts to help me work through it.
I've had a couple weeks to think about the role of social media in my current mental health state. While I'm thankful for the accessibility it once offered me, the more distance I put from it, the more clearly that I see it for the escapism it is. Which is not to say that isn't an important concept. Escaping the doldrums of this wicked world once in a while is vital to everyone's mental health. But for me, social media, and Twitter specifically had become like the mirror in Harry Potter. I can hear Dumbledore in my mind reminding me that men have lost their entire lives to it. And boy, do I feel that in my heart.
At first, it gave me the opportunity to make friends. Something I have not only always struggled to do, but also found very difficult given where I live. I found like minded wonderful people to talk to and in turn, that helped me rediscover the parts of my self and identity that I have been repressing for a lifetime. These are the people that I still miss in my self-exile. But by removing myself, I have found that while it is much more difficult to reach out to them, when I do, it is that much more meaningful, because it is a one on one interaction and not a blanket statement to the void. It's you and me in a virtual space and we are hanging out laughing about MarmaCliff or seeing what day I'm on with these PREDATOR joggers (it's 4 now).
As I was saying, for the all the good social media has brought into my life, lifelong friends, renewed confidence in creating, new skills, it has also unknowingly become another crutch to simply get hollow external validation. I didn't know that was what was happening. I'm not one to live for likes or anything like that, but I was spending all my time waiting for my friends to be a part of my life through the timeline. I wanted to feel like I was a part of something, but what I wanted wasn't going to happen online. What's even worse is that I was creating a self destructive environment for myself by using what I read and saw as the standard as to how right or wrong I am living my life. In social media terms, I'm a loser. I don't have the house and clothes and trendy lifestyle. I don't do exciting things or know anything about what's popular. I'm working from home with two kids. I'm battling a serious illness. I don't live close to any of my friends so I don't hang out with anyone. I get most excited about things that no one cares about and the most exciting thing I do is drive an hour for fancy donuts every couple months. But there are things that you can't translate to your online version of yourself. And it took me awhile to figure out, in real life, I'm fucking badass. I may be alone, but holy shit, am I strong.
Taking a break has given me time to refocus on cultivating a stronger creative and mental health discipline. One of my strengths is that I am eagerly and openly vulnerable to learning and trying new things. I live my life as a failure. I am not afraid of it when trying something new.
Creatively I prompt myself in many avenues, mostly writing these days and even though I may not be good at it, I enjoy it. I like to share it. It's not meant to be great work. The purpose is that it is meaningful and diligent.
Other things I've learned in a big way is being okay with letting people hate you, and letting things you love go. These are wisdoms that my brain always knew but my heart refused to accept. It still has a hard time. I'm forever going to be working on that. I think that's just what living is, learning how to suffer and set boundaries, gracefully.
I do a lot of somatic therapy. I have also introduced CBT into my regimen to help rebuild my extremely poor body and self worth image. This has been the most challenging part of my daily life. My therapy is often in conflict with my instincts thanks to my cptsd. The most important lesson I'm learning is that because this negativity, depression, and self loathing was taught even groomed upon me. I cannot expect that I can simply love myself from a place of hate. I have no real concept of what healthy love is so how can I expect myself to fix my self esteem completely on my own. It's both a relief to hear that yes, I'm allowed to need people and need reassurance and love, but also soul crushing that ultimately, I cannot do this alone. Because I do everything alone. I trust no one.
So that's where I am now. I am trying to figure out how to let in and reach for love, but protect my boundaries against triggers, toxic people, and negative environments that breed contempt. The second half is something I am good at. I can shut the world out like no one's business. I don't have faith in it. The first part about letting love in? Fuck my life. How am I even going to start with all that!
That's where you come in. Thank you to everyone who subscribed here or reaches out to me even though I am not easily accessible. Thank you for being willing to meet my needs while I work to better myself. Thank you for the punny jokes, the compliments, for telling me that I'm pretty and smart, thanks for the science and art articles, thank you for podcasting with me, thank you for keeping me in your loop when it takes a lot of extra effort. I am blessed to have you in my life.
I suffer from severe depression as well as a myriad of other traumatic issues. I accept that it is a part of my life and affects who I am. I know I will always have this burden to bear, but I am learning how to cope with it and share the weight. It may be a lifelong disease, but I refuse to be a victim to it. I do not want to die from it. I will fight so that I am not shortchanged any less happiness and love than I deserve.
Overall I am slowly headed in the right direction. I am still failing along that way and that's ok. Failing here and there doesn't mean I'm a failure. It means that I'm constantly trying, which in itself is courageous.
I may not have a whole lot going for me, but what I do have is priceless and special. And most of all, I have the courage to ask and fight for what I want from my life.
Coming from a girl that starts everyday listing all the reasons I can't try to die today, that's pretty fucking tough.