I was speaking to Will recently about depression blogs, writing about your personal tragedies for all to see, and the side of writing that makes the writer think.. “ooh, shall I post this? Or is this best just left in a journal for nobody to read again?”. I say speaking, I say recently, what I really mean is a series of discussions, arguments, and misunderstandings where neither of us could see where the other was coming from.
As I began to publish my most recent poetry/ tellings of the pretty rough year that life, depression, breakup and pregnancy horror had given me, he worried. He didn’t understand why I would feel the need to let people into my life so dramatically and viscerally. And to be honest, I didn’t really know either. I just knew I wanted to do it. I felt the need to finally see what had happened, and look at it as a past set of circumstances and events.
Part of me agreed with him. Why let strangers on the internet, distant facebook friends, and work colleagues into the depths of my personal life. What is there to gain? I’m just so vulnerable to judgement – she’s attention seeking, lying, dramatizing for the likes, maybe she actually enjoyed all of this nightmare in some sick need to have a drama-filled life.
I have to be honest. Sometimes I read blogs about depression, about breakdowns, about people blogging during their suicide attempt, and I have those angry and ugly thoughts myself. Or, I read ‘cutesy little’ illness blogs where the person seems so removed from talking about their illness I wonder if they even have an illness at all. But. But…
That is narrow-minded.
What I’ve ended up doing is trying to fit other people’s coping mechanism of writing/ blogging/ sharing, into my own experience of mental illness, and I’m judging them based by MY standards. Which is the complete opposite of what we’re supposed to do, especially as fellow writers, fellow bloggers.
The reasons for blogging are all three expansive, uniform, and unique. The reasons for blogging and sharing about illness and tragedy are complicated. And, I’ve been trying to work out why I’m blogging, why I’m sharing – something I’m constantly trying to work out, whilst battling with the knowledge that some people might find it distasteful or infuriating. But I guess the point is that, that doesn’t really matter, because I’m writing by my own standards. And I’m going to try and stop judging others by those standards, and enjoying and learning from their explorations of self.
Because sharing about mental health, physical health, traumatic events, and the personal is something that connects us, and is a tool for self-expression as well as knowing that you’re not the only one.
My next blog post will be about the reasons why I blog about the more personal, the harder, and the more private things in life, and why others might want to, too.