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2015 Blog for Mental Health Project

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I pledge my commitment to 2015 Blog for Mental Health Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.

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For the second year in a row, I am participating in the Blog for Mental Health Project. Many of you already know my story, but if you don’t, check out my post on Why I Blog About Mental Illness. You can also check out my post for the 2014 Blog for Mental Health Project.

I wrote my story about depression last month because Sarah Fader from Stigma Fighters asked me to write a 1000 word essay on my experience with mental illness. Since it’s hard to cram 25 years of depression into 1000 words, I basically just stuck with the facts. And yet, it is the post that has resonated the most with people who have struggled with depression.

I guess that’s because when you say things like, I stopped taking my meds because I didn’t want to rely on them to be normal, and then I relapsed 3 months later, they know exactly what you mean. You don’t have to spell out the shame and self-loathing involved in that process.

When I first started my blog, my goal was to model how to practice self-acceptance, because I need all the practice I can get. I was especially proud of that post because it meant I have finally accepted what it means to be someone who has struggled and will continue to struggle with depression, which is the thing I have been the most ashamed of.

But after I wrote my story, I realized that self-acceptance is not enough. Accepting all of the things that I have to do to prevent a relapse is not the same thing as acknowledging how painful it has been to live with depression. How hard it was to feel like a failure. How isolating it was to hide my depression because I knew that some people would minimize my suffering and make me feel worse about myself.

Until I wrote that post, I had never had compassion for my suffering because I didn’t think I deserved it. So now I’ve upped the ante, so to speak. Now I am modeling how to practice self-compassion. Which is why I’m also participating in 1000 Voices of Compassion, in which 1000+ bloggers will publish posts on compassion on February 20.

I will continue to educate people about mental health and do my part to erase stigma, but ultimately I cannot change what people think about me or anyone else with a mental illness. So I will make sure that I treat myself with the love and kindness that I deserve, and I will encourage other people to do the same.

On a final note, if you read my blog, then you know that I am obsessed with being a warrior. So I thought I would leave you with this article on Mental Illness Warriors, some of whom you may recognize.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

15 responses »

  1. Reading this, I can say that this is a huge step forward. I too, battled with depression for periods of time and it can be almost overwhelming at times. I never realized that understanding one or some of the reasoning for it could also be the method to recover or coping from it. Depression comes in many forms that we may or may not be familiar with, and that is why I also agree tenfold with raising awareness on mental health and illnesses as whole.

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  2. Your second last paragraph is the biggest indicator of how much progress you’ve made xxx

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  3. I’ve been looking forward to your pledge piece, and not surprisingly, your words and message did not disappoint. You have such a strong presence, so much that is wise and important and needs to be said. You also do truly understand true compassion, and do an amazing job of inspiring it in others with your words and beliefs.

    I’m delighted to have you on board again this year! You continually motivate me to try to do more, to make this project better in the small ways that I can — but you also remind me to cut myself slack when things are getting to be too much and I feel like I’m failing in my obligation.

    Thank you so much for all you bring to my life, and to the lives of so many others!

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    • Wow! Your comment made my day. You do so much for mental health, I am truly honored that you find my blog helpful. Isn’t it funny how we can dedicate our time and energy to a worthy cause and still criticize ourselves for not doing a good enough job? Just so you know, I am so thankful that you launched this project.

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  4. Yippie! “Now I am modeling how to practice self-compassion.” So hard at first. So many losses to grieve as a result of the years of depression. I especially wish my children would have had the mom I could be now. But I have forgiven myself. I have mostly stopped wishing I had been born different…as someone who has walked through that fog I am grateful my insights may help someone else find the way. hugs, gerry

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    • I feel the same way. I don’t wish that I had not struggled with the depression–although I could have done without the last episode. But in general, they have all contributed to who I am today, and they have helped me to be a more compassionate person. Plus I always have material for blog posts! Thanks for your feedback Gerry!

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  5. I’ve written many blog posts on depression and anxiety and my ways of dealing with them. It’s my hope that being open about my experiences will help remove the stigma from mental illness.

    Love,
    Janie

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  6. I was unaware of the Mental Health Project, but will investigate later today. You’re right, and you said it well, that those who’ve been there don’t need the details spelled out. Too, you reach a point in your life where someone else points out that what someone did to you when you were very little pales against what you’ve done to yourself since, and then you realize they’re right, though one required the other. Depression imposes loneliness upon self-imposed loathing so it helps the healing process to know there are others out there who understand. Yet, there are many who don’t understand, and it’s for them, too, that I blog. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Pingback: Normal in Training – 2015 | The Official Blog For Mental Health Project

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