So back in May I wrote a Mental Health Monday post about BPD myths versus realities – and I haven’t written a MHM post since. Well, I’m happy to say that this series is back, at least for now! So today I just wanted to have a brief discussion for any new followers about what MHM is, why this series went on hiatus, and why I feel that now is a good time to bring it back.
Mental Health Mondays
In a nutshell, Mental Health Mondays are posts where I talk about my experiences with mental health. (Currently I am diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, depression and generalised anxiety disorder. I have also experienced eating disorders and paranoia.) In my Mental Health Monday posts, I tend to chat about some of the different things that have played a part in my mental illnesses. For example, I’ve talked about periods and mental health, fatphobia and how that impacts my self esteem and body image, and my experiences with SAD. I’ve also had guest bloggers, who have discussed PMDD, dissociation, and personal experiences with doctors and prescriptions.
This is a series that I’ve been writing since February 2017, and one that I feel has definitely grown with me. Some of my thoughts and feelings have changed – for example, I’m no longer the hugest advocate for dark humour, and I no longer am okay with people using words like ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’. And I think that the way that I think about my own mental health has changed. Early on I wrote a post about learning to think of my mental health not as something that can be ‘cured’, but as something that I would learn to live with. This sentiment has grown even further with the addition of physical health problems that I’ve experienced in the last year. (I’ll come back to this later.)
It was always a series that I was incredibly proud of. I don’t necessarily think I’m the best mental health advocate, but I did my best to simply tell people about my experiences, and I hoped that by doing this I would help others to also talk more openly about their mental health. I also wanted it to be a space where people who don’t have mental illnesses could ask questions without worrying about judgement.
So, why did I take a break?
The reasons behind the hiatus
There are a couple of reasons. First of all, May-August have been very busy months. I moved house whilst working a full-time job. I got to know my new area, and met up with loads of friends who I haven’t seen in ages. I supported my fiancee as he started working as a junior doctor. I didn’t have the time to write any blog posts, let alone ones that could be emotionally taxing.
Added to this was also the fact that I’ve been dealing with physical health issues. I’ve been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and fibromyalgia. After so many years of thinking about and working on my mental health, it was weird to be focusing on my physical health. I didn’t have the personal vocabulary to talk about it, if that makes any sense. And I didn’t have the energy! It made more sense for me to spend my time reading and thinking about these new issues than my mental health, which hasn’t been much of a problem.
And finally, I simply didn’t have any inspiration for the series. I felt like I had written everything I could about my own mental health, and I didn’t feel like it would be right for me to write about others’ experiences on such a personal platform. I felt like people weren’t interested anymore, and that was pretty disheartening.
I’ve decided to reinstate MHM because, surprise surprise, things have happened. I’ve done a lot of thinking and learning over the past few months, and this includes stories and information that I think could be helpful for me to share! In particular I’ve had a lot of thinky thoughts about chronic illnesses such as depression, and how they may interact with chronic physical illnesses such as fibromyalgia. I was thinking I might also talk more about my current therapist, and why she in particular has helped me.
I also want to shake up the format a bit. I’d like to try and include more practical tips for people who may be dealing with similar things. So I’ve got a post coming up with practical tips for travelling with a mental health condition. I’d also love to give practical advice to university students who might not know who can help them if they’re struggling with their mental health. And I’d love to do some Q&As from people who don’t have a mental health condition, but want to understand better.
I’ve missed talking about all of this. I hope that this next chapter of Mental Health Mondays is helpful, and if not, at least it gives you a better insight into the inner workings of my brain.