how being part of this blogring has made me feel…
My love/hate relationship with the blogring.
This is going to be a hard entry to write, but I feel it’s necessary for me to do it. Not only am I compelled to explain why I’ve been away for so long, but also, perhaps, as a way of coming to terms with my year in this group. In some ways I feel like I’ve let the other group members down by not being here as often as they are, and certainly not commenting on their blogs as much as they deserved. But I have to remind myself that I’m here for me…and for you…
When things started to fall apart for me last fall, all three of my uni supervisors explicitly told me to leave the blog ring. They thought it was harmful to my emotional well-being. I couldn’t be convinced and knew that somehow I was gaining something important from actually having to write this all down to share it with you. And as I fell deeper and deeper into depression and eventually hit the wall emotionally and physically, it was sharing on this blog that kept me going. I felt like this was the one obligation that mattered then, and knowing there were others in the group struggling from day to day gave me the courage to keep fighting and not give in to the sorrow and anxiety. It was a forum where I could speak out loud (in a way) about my fears, my failures, and my worries. It was a safe place to be heard and to hear others. When the break came, I needed this place, this group, and our group leader’s support to keep me going. I must say thank you to those of you who really supported and encouraged me in my darkest days. Your kind words and love helped me in ways I could never fully express in mere words…and sadly I’ll never be able to give you the hugs I want to in order to really express my gratitude.
When I did go back into therapy, the first thing my therapist said when he found out I was part of the blogring was that perhaps I should leave. He was concerned, as I truly was, that thinking about and writing about my previous suicide attempts was damaging me. Perhaps it was. Perhaps it did damage me a little. I was shattered after the initial application when I had to relate my story, and then I was shattered after my interview when I had to tell it all again out loud. I was shattered after I read the story and approved it for posting on this website. I was forced (by my own choice, mind you) to relive events that I had long put away. But yet, something compelled me onward.
While it is true, and undeniable, that the advance work for the blogring really shattered me in ways I never expected, I can’t and won’t blame those events for what happened to me in December when I crashed and burned. It would be easy to say the blogring was the reason for my breakdown….or even that it prompted it in some way, but I’d be lying to myself and to you if I said that….or even thought it. What happened to me in December was the culimation of years of self-abuse and overwork. The blogring wasn’t to blame — I was.
When I finally did crash, having the blogring here to turn to as a place to voice my worries and work through my problems was the gift I really needed at the time. When I was at my lowest, the only thing I seemed to love was my connection to this blog and the other members in the group (many of whom also struggled as I was struggling with my life). It was my comfort. It was my platform. It was my dark space that was safe. It is what helped me work through many of the issues I might not have attended to otherwise. In many ways, it was one of the important tools that saved me — for that I will be eternally greatful that I didn’t leave when I was encouraged to. For that alone, I will always love and cherish this space and this forum. It helped me, and I hope it helps you in some small way too.
But as I started to heal and crawl back inside myself again, facing the blogring and reading about the others’ problems ….well, scared me to death. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t face it. I couldn’t, in any way, surround myself with anything negative or frightening. And in order to save myself, I had to walk away for a while. I guess it’s no different than the time I had to take away from uni. I had to stop — completely — and focus all of my attention on healing me.
At first, I was consciously aware of my time away — constantly reminding myself that I had to return before I was missed….before too much time had passed….before it was too late. I tried to assure myself that there was time, and that it would all be alright. But as I went back to uni, with my revised ‘work to live’ mentality and schedule, time just seemed to slip away from me. I found myself months
behind in my research and facing a pending court battle that would change the lives of a number of people. It was overwhelming to say the least. I consciously reminded myself to get back to the blog…but the days just continued to slip by. I’m sorry I was away for so long, but I hope you understand.
At times I really do hate some of the bad choices I’ve made in my life, and as I fight now for the custody of my children, I hate that I actually left my children in the situation they are in….apart from me…half a world away…just waiting for me to return. Facing the blogring again meant facing my failures as well as my successes, and I wasn’t quite ready for that. I guess my therapist was right…it’s been six months since my break, and I’m truly only now feeling whole again.
I’m glad to be back, and somehow sad that my year as part of the blogring is coming to a close. It’s been a tough year for me, but I’m glad I joined and stayed here. I can only hope that my story has touched someone, helped someone, or inspired someone, because, in all honesty, I did this as much for you as I did for me. If I can help one person through the pain I suffered, it will all be worth it.
I’m a fighter…a survivor…and I’m damn glad to still be on the planet! The world is far more interesting with fighters like us in it! Keep the faith and be good to yourself.
Comment by Iona posted on Wed, 30/06/2010 17:19
Alma I can definitely say that I haven’t felt let down by you – so please don’t worry. You’ve been facing an awful lot and I think all of us understand that sometimes you need a break – I know I took a break for about a month at one point because I wasn’t doing great and new that reading others’ stories wouldn’t have been helpful to me at that time. I think I then returned to blogging and only reading comments before I was able to read about others’ struggles again. I guess it reflects real life and relationships: sometimes we’re in a period where we can give more and sometimes we’re in a period where we need to draw back and set boundaries to protect ourselves. However as time proceeds relationships switch balance and either become more two way again or we can give more when someone else is taking more. I think it’s something we often shy away from and view negatively – one person giving more when another is taking – but actually its a natural part of the cycles of life!
Thank you so much for your posts – I’ve learn a lot from reading them. I’m so glad you’ve taken time off and are on the upwards path again. Learning that uni and work has to come second to health is also something I’ve had to learn.
I can also empathise with what you said about the interview process and reading your story back for your blog being emotionally draining and difficult. I forgot to mention it, probably because it’s been a while and I’ve began to forget. It was hard having to relive difficult times, but at the same time I found it helpful to tell someone everything. Reading back my own story was difficult as it was a shock – it was like the story must be about someone-else, not me! Reading it back it seems a lot more shocking than it had felt – perhaps because I minimised everything or buried my head in the sand. Perhaps because I never thought of the whole story together. Having it published was a big step. It felt like in a way I was accepting this was my story and I’m ready to stop completely hiding it. Through it’s pain it brought a little bit of freedom. Over the whole year though the benefits have definitely outweighed the challenging beginning and I’m very glad to have taken part in the blogring!
Wishing you all the best for the future – I hope you’re healing journey continues and hope with all my heart that you get your babies back! Keep going and remember you’re never alone,
Comment by Rees posted on Mon, 14/06/2010 22:59
I feel I’ve definitely taken a lot away from your posts, as well as the posts of other bloggers here! I get how focusing on your failures and bad feelings seems like it would be a totally negative thing, and it’s somehow counter-intuitive to have to focus on this stuff, but I think in reality letting it out to the world is quite cathartic, it makes the bad stuff seem just like stuff that happened, just facts, rather than the pure emotional stimuli that it is inside your head. I think that it forces you to be honest with yourself as well; it’s somehow harder to put a lie down on paper than to tell it to yourself in your head.
I hope you find some other comfort, and some other way of letting your feelings out… even writing it down on paper and throwing it out could be beneficial. Best of luck in the future, I have no doubt as to the strength you possess but am aware that you have some obstacles still to face. I’m sure you’ll do just fine.