Am I Still a Mental Health Blogger?

Self, Wife, Mother, Caregiver, Writer, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate

What defines being a blogger, specifically a mental health blogger? Must I write regularly or frequently? Must I always write about mental health? What if that is not my focus ALL the time? What if I’m so busy that living with bipolar disorder is not in the forefront of my mind? What if I’m overwhelmed by my life circumstances? What if I’m simply taking a break?

I’m not the most disciplined writer. Never been one for discipline; though, I do brush and floss my teeth every night. My house is a mess – dusty and cluttered. I bathe or shower (I prefer to bathe) at least once a week. (You are probably disgusted by this admission. I try not to move too much, so I don’t sweat and get stinky. Yes, I know I should exercise daily. And, eat better. Just because I know better, doesn’t mean I do better.)

Followers of my blog say they miss me when I write once a month, and not more often. Not sure if it’s nice to be missed, or if it’s stressful, if I have an obligation to write.

No, I have no obligation to write.

That’s why I blog.

It’s mine. All mine.

Yes, I interact with others here and enjoy doing so. I respond to those who comment.
Recently, though, I’ve been busy with life. My illness, bipolar disorder, hasn’t been the focus of my blog. I’m fairly stable. My symptoms are more or less in remission. But, the concepts of remission and recovery can mislead. Serious mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are chronic, lifelong brain disorders. You can live with them. Medications can help you treat the symptoms. But, the brain disorder remains.

To stay stable, I must be careful. I must plan for how certain circumstances affect me.

Last month I presented and next week I again will present as an individual living with mental illness for NAMI Provider Education at the hospital where over a decade ago (12 years now) I was treated two weeks inpatient and for a few months in their partial hospitalization program until I got bored.f

I get overstimulated in social situations and must recover. I cannot sustain that level of social functioning without paying a high price – psychiatric instability, hypomania and subsequent depression, mood cycling. So, I must keep in mind that I will need downtime afterwards – time to recover.

So… I started writing this piece wondering about the effects of my recent lack of “mental health” blog posts. I’ve also slacked off reading and commenting on others’ blogs. Sorry, folks.

I’ve been too busy doing taxes (scanning tons of receipts), driving my son to and from school and numerous doctors’ appointments (unfortunately, he isn’t motivated to get his driver’s license anytime soon & knows we didn’t get ours until we were 18 & 19), and making sure my parents are happy.

When I haven’t been busy, I’ve been exhausted – too exhausted to write, to read, to do anything verbal. Instead, I took up doing jigsaw puzzles on my iPad – enjoy that they are visual, non-verbal, and engage my mind.

60 thoughts on “Am I Still a Mental Health Blogger?

  1. mihrank March 10, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    creative post, important words which is very valuable and important in our daily life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert Matthew Goldstein March 10, 2017 / 5:30 pm

    It’s a feeling of ‘needing’ do something. I wonder if it’s my way of trying to fix myself. If I accomplish enough I won’t feel like such a case. Except that I am a case in world of undiagnosed cases.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley March 10, 2017 / 10:15 pm

      Part of it, for me, may be that I’m always trying to please, and always feeling like I’m failing – carryover from relationship with my parents.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Kitt O'Malley March 12, 2017 / 1:52 pm

          Thank you. Some part of me seems to always feel guilty, no matter what I do, I fail to do something else.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Robert Matthew Goldstein March 12, 2017 / 3:11 pm

            That’s a hard feeling to live with and I understand it completely. We might be similar in that I suspect that you are also ‘driven’ to do and be your best. Your best at its best is probably better than most.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kitt O'Malley March 12, 2017 / 3:23 pm

              Thank you. I was an overachiever. So, I suppose there is a bright side. I fail at being a good homemaker, but honestly, that’s never been high on my list. More interested in intellectual or artistic pursuits. Not in dusting and vacuuming.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. bipolarbarbieq February 28, 2017 / 9:33 pm

    Brilliant! This actually hits home right now and your quirky realness made me smile a bit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. updownflight February 25, 2017 / 9:11 am

    Wow! Could I completely relate to this post. I mean almost all of it, except maybe not writing a lot lately, and not yet doing my taxes. I just started a blog here yesterday. My very first post. I still have some glitches to work out. When I started it I had already made my mind up that it would not be strictly a bipolar blog. I too am stable (mostly) and want to thinking about other things. I know it will do me good. Actually, I crave other things to think about. After all these years on disability, the time has come. I have been a member of several online bipolar support groups. I have been cutting down on my posts there.

    I’m still on disability. I’m in the process of transitioning back to a more regular existence (at least the way I see it). But I’m still not completely functioning normally. I need to discipline myself to do more self-care and get up earlier. And go for walks. And eat better. And…and…and. Well, one step at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 25, 2017 / 6:03 pm

      And dance! Just as your blog title suggests. I LOVE to dance. Free dance. I’m not a trained ballerina.

      Like

      • updownflight February 25, 2017 / 7:36 pm

        Anyone who loves dance is a true dancer, in my opinion. I was trained in ballet, but I also find free dance to be an especially wonderful way to express yourself (and creativity), and your emotions.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Talasi Guerra February 13, 2017 / 8:33 pm

    “To stay stable, I must be careful. I must plan for how certain circumstances affect me.” –> I think this is very wise! I totally relate, and am learning to do this as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mindy Ogg February 12, 2017 / 6:34 pm

    Hi Kitt,

    I’m hearing you say you’ve been caught up with “life”, and now you’re left wondering if you still see yourself as a mental health blogger. Is that something you want now? Or perhaps you’d like to tweak your direction or perhaps narrow the scope or even broadening it?

    You have enjoyed years of knowing exactly who you are and what your direction and mission has been. But life changes. It changes the world, our life’s circumstances, and changes deeply withing ourselves. So many people make changes to fit who they have become. We all grow and mature.

    I haven’t been as lucky as you in your gift of drive and direction. I’m still defining myself. So what’s holding me back? I have always been far from remission in my mental illness. That is one huge problem. Very long story. Lately, with all that is going on in our country and in the world, It dawned on me what I wanted to do. I’m not just a mental health advocate, I’m not just an aspiring author. I am an advocate for peace. It’s what I really want to do. I want to focus more on blogging where I can learn and grow for now. And I really am satisfied with the ideas that have come to mind. The writing prompts continue to grow in number.

    But for now, I’m recovering from the day-to-day trauma of watching our new government unfold. After that fateful day in September of 2001, with all these new phobias cropping up and panic attacks ruling my life, my therapist told me “denial is okay”. And that really helped! Here where I live, a retirement community, we live in a bubble which protects us. People don’t seem to know what is happening in our country. For now, I am going to go with denial while I recover a bit.

    You’re at a crossroads, Kitt. At least that is what I’m hearing you saying. You’ll find your way. Stay curious, driven, imaginative, and the compassionate and caring woman we all know you are.

    Cheers…
    Mindy Ogg

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 13, 2017 / 12:00 pm

      Thank you, Mindy. Focusing on peace is a natural extension of the work you’ve done as a writer and mental health advocate. Both are human rights. We all crave peace. Your therapist is wise. Life has always entailed both joy and strife. We can focus on our struggles, or we can be grateful for our simple joys. Enjoy the bubble of your retirement community. I tell my mother that now is the time that others care for her. She no longer has to care for others, specifically my father. Peace to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Susan Irene Fox February 8, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    Kitty, we all do what we can while taking care of our health. I applaud you for taking care of yourself. Sending love and prayers your way. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Paladin February 8, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    Agree with the “TwentySomethingTenacity” comment, Kitt. Enjoyed all the questions in your first paragraph. I am not any trained mental health professional, but my analysis would be this is your “social interaction” format equivalent and it is far better for your resilience, wellness, and health. I have never really felt very comfortable with social events either. Too many mindsets and sometimes the events are excessively long. With this method of interaction, you can focus on the specific topic(s) your blog specifies. You have done well math geek and I know you have the ability an potential to train mental health professionals with the NAMI Provider Education classes. Yay.
    Best Wishes !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ridicuryder February 8, 2017 / 7:43 pm

    I think the blog could round you out in interesting ways…not all directly related “mental health…although some gains will usually be made (sometimes lost) in certain endeavors. Good luck, let me know what I might contribute. 🐝

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 9, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      Thanks, RidicuRyder. My son and hubby used to ride MX on the Mojave. We’re back in the burbs nowadays, but close to mountain bicycling. My son is pretty proficient at downhill riding. Recently, he’s taken up snowboarding. He always had good balance.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. twentysomethingtenacity February 8, 2017 / 3:53 am

    I don’t see you as less of a mental health blogger because you’re taking time away to take care of your mental wellness. Like someone (or maybe more) said before me; there is no quota. No one is sitting here thinking ‘oh that Kitt, she missed another deadline’ because there are none! You do what you need to do for you. If that’s writing, great; if that’s not, still great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 8, 2017 / 10:06 am

      I agree. What’s interesting is that it may be healthier for me to focus on other aspects of my life and not just define my mission in terms of mental health or mental illness.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. kbailey374 February 8, 2017 / 2:25 am

    I love reading you and I also love when you take care of yourself, the two are not mutually exclusive 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Garth Amundson, Psy.D. February 7, 2017 / 7:50 pm

    Best wishes to you in your quest for a normal life. It’s boring but strangely fulfilling, lol. You may find my blog of interest in this regard – http://www.therapyviews.com Stay in touch?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kitt O'Malley February 7, 2017 / 9:24 pm

      Intriguing essays on psychotherapy. I was psychodynamically trained, but basically did “whatever worked” as a clinician. As a consumer, I find that my needs change over time. CBT helped me out a suicidal crisis at 18 and gave me tools I could use throughout life. My work in analysis allowed me to work through my issues with my parents, but also deepened my depression when I was severely ill. Supportive therapy has helped keep an even keel. Most clinicians use more than one theory and technique.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Garth Amundson, Psy.D. February 11, 2017 / 3:49 pm

        Yes, there is a depressive aspect to any interpretation offered by an analyst.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. Annah Elizabeth February 7, 2017 / 5:25 pm

    Love what you write whenever you write. Can’t think of a better reprieve than jigsaw puzzles! I happen to have a 1000 piece out on a table right now; a Christmas winter scene I wanted to embrace but didn’t until last week. Making up for lost time… 😉

    Keep taking care of you, Kitt, and the rest will take care of itself. Hugs (if you’re a hugger…)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley February 7, 2017 / 9:12 pm

      Thank you! Enjoy your wintertime puzzle. Sending you love.

      Like

  14. vanbytheriver February 7, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    About those jigsaw puzzles…my husband became obsessed with 1000 piece puzzles right after he retired (early..not his choice). I didn’t understand why at the time. I do now.

    Write when you feel it, Kitt. That’s the only time the work comes out organically, and that’s how it should happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kitt O'Malley February 7, 2017 / 4:09 pm

      Thanks! My father “retired early,” too. Since my mom had lymphoma, her “pre-existing condition” cancer made it near impossible for my dad to take another job. He was insured by his previous employer until he became eligible for a new group policy. Once they got first catastrophic health insurance, and later Medicare, it was a real problem. As Trump rolls back the Affordable Care Act, I pray we still can get coverage for pre-existing conditions.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Jess Melancholia February 7, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    Kitt I’m always here to read your posts. I think it’s hard to keep up with posting all the time especially when life gets in the way. Your true followers will always be there to read and comment and such. Take care of yourself and your family first and then come back and see us when you can.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. saywhatumean2say February 7, 2017 / 2:28 pm

    In my opinion, you are what you consider yourself and considering yourself is of utmost importance. Do as you want….no obligations from me. ~~dru~~

    Liked by 2 people

      • 10000hoursleft February 7, 2017 / 2:25 pm

        I know that feeling! But any amount of anything is enough if that is what you are capable of in a given moment 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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