I haven’t written for a while. Things have been going okay, quite good in fact. I just haven’t had the desire.

I read a comment, I think it was on Natasha Tracy’s Blog Bipolar Burble. This person claimed that all bloggers were self-absorbed. And, I wondered, does that statement have any merit?

I enjoy reading blogs. Some blogs, anyway, and truly to all my fellow bloggers who are reading this (thank you by the way), I don’t get the impression that other people, other bloggers, are self-absorbed. But I really did start to wonder, am I?

Do I really think there is anything particularly interesting about my story? Is there a reason to tell it? Is it any different from anyone else’s? Does anybody actually care? Do I even care?

These are the thoughts that were clambering around inside my head. Knocking on the walls of mind, and harassing me for answers.

But those thoughts were not the real problem, so I discovered. The real issue is that this blogging about Bipolar business requires a lot of focusing on that one aspect of my life. Not only am I much more than just Bipolar, but writing requires processing, and thinking, and remembering the unpleasant.

I found this issue was painfully obvious when I was beginning to write Early-Onset Bipolar: Making Meaning out of Chaos for Mental Health Talk. To put it simply, it was hard, and at many times it was tedious. I wrote a draft, and then another, and then another; multiple, totally separate, completely distinct drafts. Most of it was utter crap. My heart wasn’t in it, and I had to ask myself why.

Why? Because I had to step back in time and relive those years, relive those memories, and those emotions again. It was uncomfortable and unpleasant.  It was painful.

And at the same time as this, I was once again living in my hometown, in my parent’s house. The place where all of those memories live, lurking in every corner, under every pile of books, at the back of my wardrobe I can see them.  Behind every lamppost, at the end of every street, I can see a shadow of a memory. Some are happy, some are funny, and some are so deeply shaming and painful that I do not want to know. Sometimes they are all three at the same time.

Two weeks ago, I stood outside the university library, the home of my mania, and around me walked the ghosts of 2008. The men, the women, the memories; swirling around me, as if it were still the same, and totally different, all at once. As if nothing had changed, and yet everything had. Me, still the same vessel, looking slightly more worn. My mind something new, haunted by a shameful past.

I didn’t realise until I came back that when I moved away, I left all of those small reminders behind, and it was away from the shadows of my past that I began to heal. Would I have healed had I never left? Would everything still be the same? Would me, the real me, still be trapped within the confines of a disordered mind?

And that is why I have not written. I do not want to go back. I want to be here in the now, and I want to be moving forward, moving on.

It was okay when I was not here, when those reminders were 1000 miles away. They were so far, and the memories so vague, it was as if they were memories from someone else’s life.

But now, they are all around me. They are all the more real, this other person’s memories, when their ghosts walk in front me.

And now, my writing requires reliving, real reliving, and I do not know if that is something that I am ready to do.


13 thoughts on “Silence

  1. I know what you mean – but I don’t think that a blog about living with bipolar disorder means you have to constantly go mining through all your sewage. You can flip it; how have you managed to live well, either in the presence or absence of symptoms? Does your bipolar give you a unique perspective on the world, and all its goings-on? The topics can be quite broad, and not necessarily sickness or symptom based. That’s what I try to do, anyway.

    • You are absolutely right. I guess the issue is that I feel bogged down with the past, and am somehow struggling to move beyond it. The blogs I find the most interesting are more than just symptoms and bad news. My intention was never to create one of those blogs. That is not what I want to be about. I think I had just lost sight of that. Thank you for reminding me!

  2. I am going through this very thing. I started my blog with my bipolar disorder in mind. But then I followed mostly bipolar people and people with other mental illnesses until all I thought of was mental problems. Everyones mental problems! I was getting into a weird depression from it. so I started blogging about other things like my life and memories. I started following people who weren’t mentally disabled and blogged about their lives. Then I started aanother blog, a journal about my whole life. I wanted it to be private but eventually I let a few people follow. Big mistake. Now all I think about is my past and all the mistakes I have made and that people are reading about it. But it is hard to put it down for some reason.It is really stressing me out but I keep writing. I have been wondering if all this blogging has helped much also. I was more content before I opened all this up. Sorry for rambling on. I just know what you mean.

  3. I actually have a hard time focusing on (or talking about, I guess) the past. I tend strongly toward informational stuff – not so good at baring my heart, either. Perhaps eventually I’ll get better at those other categories, but that’s part of the journey, right? I just have to remind myself to try to do something different once in awhile. You too, maybe?

  4. I did not know how hard it was for you to write the post for MHT–I wish I could have helped. Please know you have helped others with your post — the comments show that people have resonated with your past experience.

    My father has no idea why I started MHT–why I didn’t just want to put it all behind me. He was so adamant about his opinion that he won’t even acknowledge the blog. I find this kind of funny because the continued effects of PTSD make it kind of hard to “put it all behind me” 🙂

    But now I think he sees that the blog is what I want it to be… sharing our stories = yes but also about the wisdom we’ve garnered along the journey and continue to learn. I intend that is what makes MHT different and I seem to attract those who wish to recognize they have something to give from their lived experience.

    It is your blog and you have a clear mission to write about what’s working in your life now. That’s what I have always loved about it.

    I agree that there isn’t a lot of benefit in drudging up the past unless 1) it is pertinent to the present or 2) it is to help someone else. And it is a real challenge to look at our past with compassion because we see memories through a distorted mirror: we regard the past using the eyes of who we are now versus who we were then.

    • Thanks for your comment Trish. You are a wise woman!

      What I didn’t say (and should have) about my guest post is that when I finally got it right, I was very happy. I felt really good about it, and I found it a very rewarding. I did not write it so much for myself, but for others, to make a connection with other people, to hopefully make someone feel that they are not alone and give hope that their struggles can be overcome too. Also, I really did want to write the post, and I am still pleased that I did. I think that if I were not back in my hometown, back with my parents and in this place with all of its reminders, then writing about the past would have not been so difficult.

      In fact, this whole process has taught me something else about myself: I am more avoidant of unpleasant feelings, thoughts and memories that I originally realised. Like I said in the post, “I have always tended to brush my experiences off as if they were just grains of sand, irritating but meaningless. Easily removed, and easily forgotten.” What I have learned from this is that my experiences are more painful, more serious and more important than I have ever given them credit for. They have a deeper effect, produce stronger emotions and have bigger consequences. I have never felt I had due cause to feel sad or hurt or angry about what has gone before. Thanks to writing the guest post, I now feel that I do.

  5. Sara,
    Sometimes, I believe you have to look back to move forward! A good friend of mine and best-selling author has always said that some people will like you and some will not! If you are passionate about sharing something in this world, don’t worry about those that criticize. Why would they comment on bloggers? – instead of commenting, just stop reading them!!
    The most important thing is that you are writing from the heart and with each word you write; know you are touching someone’s life somewhere- that’s a blessing!!!

    • Thanks Sherry 🙂 I think there is a lot to be said for looking backwards to move forwards. Once I am done with this processing of the past, I think I will have learnt a lot more about myself. I will have more insights and understanding, and I will be able to find better ways to help myself in the future. It’s just not the nicest process! And maybe I shouldn’t spend an overwhelming amount of time on it!

  6. I have gone through these periods of silence. Yes, partially because putting it out there is just too hard, but also because of certain sources of discouragement. Now, I’ve gone through this before when I wrote a 30 Days of Truth piece entitled It’s All About Me.

    But, as some kind readers pointed out, I can only write for me. Unless I’m writing a research piece based on empiracal evidence, and rigerous study, then I have no right to write for anyone else (excuse, the pun!). That’s what I know when it comes to this disorder. Claiming my egocentricity is making the assertion that i am intentionally overdramatizing my life for attention.

    Making that assertion would imply that I sit and obsess over stats, plug my blog whereever possible (and no, when I reference a post, that does not count. I would reference another author if I knew of a relevant post), and make this – confessions of my misdeeds etc – my job. It’s not. My life is my job. Period.

    So, I’m going to go ahead and make my own assumption, since it seems to be popular to share strong opinions today. The person who wrote that comment in the first place is a troll, potentially jealous that they are often overlooked, because unless they have something nasty to say, they are just boring. And I’ll tell you this. The moderator could potentially be attention seeking to let a malicious comment like that slip under the radar.

    • I think you are right. We can only really write for ourselves, and if someone else enjoys it or benefits from it in some way then that is a bonus. At the end of it, I want to enjoy the process. I write this blog because I like to do it. I enjoy interacting with readers, and I enjoy reading other blogs. It provides a sense of community, and I get support from people who know what it is like. I don’t have that in my real life because no one really knows “about me”. I just need to remember that my purpose of this is for enjoyment, and to share with people like me and learn from people like me.

      Regarding the comment that person wrote on Bipolar Burble: it was a nasty comment, and I don’t really believe it holds any truth to it. I am not sure why it even bothered me so much in the first place!

      As always Lulu, I am so appreciative you have taken the time to comment 🙂

      • I am more than happy to open a dialogue with you. You’re right. This is the means that we have to build a community.

        Often, I liken this to being African American in the 50’s and 60’s. The only difference is that we can’t be identified by our skin. But, once we are positively identified as “having a dignosis”, it’s just the same. There are laws that are supposed to protect us and guarentee our freedoms. But, in reality, they don’t. We are treated like second class citizens. Many of us stay in hiding because we know there is no future for us if we come out about it.

        And it’s because of attitudes like that commenter’s that keep us here, and not in a public dialogue. There are some awful attitudes in the world surrounding mental health disorders. I could say that I wish I were making it up. If that were true, I could turn it on and off at will. What person on the Earth who is happily married, with the blessing of a child, and the love of their work, would ever want to make this up?

        I don’t like not being in control. I dislike the fact that there are times where I am unable to be a proper wife and mother. Sometimes, I can’t pull myself together and go to work. Do I sit and play all day when I’m home? No. I cry. I scream. I beg God and entice the Devil to take this away from me.

        If they want to know if this is real, hide cameras in my house. I would guarentee that a person would change their mind and attitudes about mental health in a month.

  7. Pingback: Bipolar Means | Is Bipolar Hereditary

  8. Pingback: What Bipolar Means | Is Bipolar Hereditary

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