Since taking the LWW Community Reporter and blog training last year, I’ve enjoyed contributing not only personal reflective posts, but also those about activities and events that have helped me remain well. The act of writing the articles themselves has been therapeutic. Other commitments and the long winter have prevented me from using or developing some of the ‘field’ reporting skills we learned. My faithful Bloggie ‘snap’ (camcorder) however, remains my constant companion.
During the eight week course we learned to use WordPress.com, which is a ‘hosting platform’, or blog template tool which offers people the opportunity to set up a free blog. Learning these techniques fired my imagination sufficiently to also attempt designing my own blog, I’ve tried several themes for it’s appearance. I like the freedom that creating my own blog allows me; choosing the theme and colourways has been satisfying, but time to publicize or develop them further is restricted, they are a hobby. I’m not expecting their topics to have wide appeal.
On the training course we discussed the use of Twitter or Facebook for widening the LWW audience. In addition I was was surprised to see on a module I take, Current Issues, that we were encouraged to start a Twitter account and use it in class! So now I am a little addicted twit..ter!
Report writing because of its more clinical format I find easier than creative or analytic, academic pieces. In my forties I was assessed with a disparity between my intellect and academic ability, an SplD akin to Dyslexia but with an affect on my aural comprehension. The residual affects of ECT and age related memory changes may also have impacted on my composition skills, they are not always consistent. It makes me frustrated, but oh the sense of achievement when the piece is near to what I want to express.
Most of us probably know that remaining well is cyclic, like the seasons, …not linear. I don’t think promoting well-being is simply about putting a positive spin on what we might do to keep well. Having lived experience of mental distress undoubtedly makes life hard, my resilience has been affected by it. I find getting a balance between ‘doing’ things, ‘being’ and reflecting on past and present experiences all help me. ‘Being’ for me involves wrestling with some of the often disquieting thoughts and feelings that occur, allowing the healing water of time to wash over them. A good night’s sleep helps me but it’s something I am often chasing.
There were underlying causes which led up to my breakdowns and while diminishing, at times of stress they resurface. I try not to worry about any accumulative negative effect they, or their treatment may have caused me.
I believe one of the biggest factors in remaining reasonably well is, where possible, to have rejected the diagnosis I’ve been given and negotiate the treatment that remains. As much as I would like to be medication free, fear of another acute episode of being overwhelmed by thoughts of past events, prevent me from making a complete withdrawal, I have the freedom and professional support to do this at my own pace.
Being open, sharing experiences about mental health issues can be risky but I usually chance it even with strangers, doing so on a blog though is still an unknown. Feedback from friends, fellow contributors and comments from readers has proved a boost to my continued sharing. Sometimes my inspiration to write is low, I hope the summer months will improve my scope for community reporting. It was the spark of anger on this occasion, which intriguingly, roused my muse. Additionally my remembrance of the 18th century poet, John Clare’s commitment to share his truth despite his long struggle with mental distress, which spurred me on.
‘O Clare your poetry so translucent and clear, I salute you with tears’ Charles Causley.