Tuesday, June 25, 2013

And This is Why I Blog

Remnants of two weeks ago

The next time someone says, "Hey, weirdo. Why do you blog, anyway?" I'm going to throat punch them for calling me "weirdo" and tell them nobody likes a bully. And then I'm going to direct them to two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago, I was having a day that not even chocolate could cure. That not even chocolate could cure, you guys. That's serious. Let that sink in. My child was in the midst of a mental health crisis. He and I had spent the day at a hospital ER and two clinics. We had no way to make things immediately better, only the promise that help was on the way - eventually. We came home to wait for phone calls and answers.

He was now fast asleep after his ordeal. I was drained in ways that took me back to colic and engorged breasts and 3 a.m. Law & Order reruns.  Worse still, none of the things I normally do to de-stress after an eventful day were working. There was no unwinding this band; it had wound so tight it had snapped.

I couldn't bring myself to talk to anyone. I wasn't returning phone calls or replying to texts. I just didn't know what to say anymore. I had talked too much, cried too much, and yet still had enough emotion pent up to pull a Mount St-Helen.

So I blogged.

And I can't tell you why, exactly. I can't explain why I couldn't talk to people but could internet my shit all over the internet. Maybe it's because I was just too overwhelmed. Maybe it's because I'm an attention whore. Maybe it's because I could say what I needed to say on my terms, without being asked questions I had no answers for. Maybe it's because I was hoping there would be one person, just one, who could tell me they understand what we're going through. Maybe it's all of those things (with a heavy emphasis on the attention whore bit.)

So I wrote, and I didn't care what it said. I didn't even bother editing it (writers everywhere are hyperventilating right now.) I didn't expect many people would read it, to be honest. It was too deep, too serious, so beyond the lighter, funnier stuff I normally write. But I had something to say and I just said it because, well, it needed to be said. Writers write things and sometimes it makes us feel a little better like this did.

I went to bed shortly thereafter, and woke up in the morning to an explosion of kindness and compassion.

There were thoughtful comments on the blog; more than on any other post I've written in the past seven years (which practically makes me a blogging dinosaur.) There were so many wonderful comments on Facebook and Twitter.

There were emails - countless emails - from people who shared their stories of mental illness with me. Some were parents who get it, others were recovering adult children who wanted to tell me we're doing all the right things. Every single one told me I was a good mom (they clearly haven't been over during PMS week when I morph into a foaming-at-the-mouth harpy) and each one offered tremendous support and reassurance. I still haven't been able to reply to everyone, although I'm trying. Please don't think I'm a jerk. I mean, I am kind of a jerk, but I'm one who tries to reply to her emails.

Then BlogHer syndicated it, and Schmutzie featured it, and there were others that I know I'm forgetting. As people read, the support would come in like waves, and each one helped carry me closer to shore.

I've spent the last two weeks trying to psychoanalyze what happened. I can't. I just know that blogging, as always, is helping me through a tough time. In turn, I'm better able to help my son through his tough time. I'm able to read words of support to my husband, and I know it's helping him, too. We don't feel alone in this anymore.

I know it's strange to put your life online for everyone to see. I know it's not for everyone. But while I'm sure there are downsides to leading a more transparent existence, I haven't seen them yet.

Well, unless you count the bizarre hate mail I occasionally get.

Oh! Or the stalker who was convinced I was a demon and tried to exorcize me by posting scripture and threatening to burn me out. But other than that it's been pretty sweet.

So thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my cholesterol-filled mavenly heart.

Thank you for reading.

Thank you for listening.

Thank you for understanding.

Thank you to the local peeps for the hugs, the cookies (especially the cookies), the offers of help.

Thank you to those who are too far away to give hugs for your outpouring of compassion. I felt hugged every single time.

Thank you for helping us lift the stigma veil off mental illness, so that we can reach a time when no one has to hide it or live in shame because of it.

Thank you for encouraging me to find a local family support group. I did, and it's exactly what I needed.

Thank you for letting me know that our story has aided you somehow, has encouraged you to find the help you need for you or your children. Those messages will stay with me forever.

Thank you, most of all, to my sweet middle child for allowing me to write about this stuff (yes, he knows and he's okay with it. But he finds me boring and old so he doesn't read my blog.)  I hope you never lose sight of the beautiful, amazing soul you are. We all have our struggles, but trust me when I say they can make us stronger. When you find yourself in the dark, know that I'll always come find you. I love you. We all love you. And we're going to figure this out.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

You are all why this weirdo blogs.