As part of my plan to be more involved, more active, and more mindful, I signed up for NaBloPoMo for January, and the theme for January is “beginnings”. So many ways to go with that theme, huh? So, since today marks the beginning of the work year 2012, and the first day of 2012 I’ve been able to breathe out of both nostrils, I thought I would start “beginnings” off reminiscing about the beginning of this blog.
I created my Blogspot account in 2009. At the time, Tim was beyond unstable. He was a raging, mean, unpredictable whirling dervish of negative energy and psychosis pretty much 24/7, and had been that way for a pretty long time. I was working for a small start up at the time that was based in Upstate New York, so I was traveling not only for meetings with clients, but back and forth between Chicago and Buffalo to the office, and the stress of worrying about Tim, Wonderboy, and The Girl, and whether Tom would be able to hold on while I was gone, coupled with me being on duty whenever I was home to give Tom a break made my Generalized Anxiety Disorder (a genetic “gift” from my mom’s side of the family) go into hyper drive. I was having massive panic attacks in airports, sitting in meetings, and at home. After missing a flight because I couldn’t drive to the airport during a panic attack, I found a psychiatrist of my own and started seeing her. I went back on Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug I hadn’t had to be on daily for years, and started talking out the issues I was dealing with at home with my doctor. She suggested I start a journal, to get the jillions of things floating around in my head down on paper where I could look back on them and see where there were patterns, and objectively see what could be done to address the things that triggered my anxiety attacks.
I guess I’m a true Gen Xer because my handwriting sucks, but I can type 95 words a minute (thank you, Mavis Beacon). I’ve worked on the Internet (eCommerce mostly) since the Dot Com boom of 1999, so I decided I’d keep my journal online. Blogspot was kinda cool and super easy to use, so I set up my blog and started just cataloging Tim’s childhood. Eventually I got to myself. I never thought anyone would really read what I was writing. Blogging was hot, and my blog wasn’t all that interesting, to me. I spent a lot of time whining to myself.
Then, I got a comment. An anonymous comment from someone calling herself “debbiem” encouraged me to keep posting. I was freaked out and excited at the same time. But I didn’t have any blogging discipline. This was still my journal, so I blogged when I felt like it. That first six months, I blogged pretty intermittently.
At the end of 2009, I read back over a bunch of previous posts and realized my blog was just one big self-pity party. I realized I had readers because they left comments, suprisingly, since all I did was whine. I realized I needed a new attitude, and if other parents in the same situation I was in were coming to read my posts and share their stories, it didn’t help to come and read about some loser bitching about her situation.
I blogged here and there throughout 2010, never really getting in to a rhythm, but I started reading other blogs written by other parents of kids with mental illness. I realized how much inspiration and strength I gained from those, and I started 2011 determined to blog more. To be a voice for not only my child, but for my peers – other parents struggling with insurance companies and social workers and school IEP teams and med choices. And, looking back, I did do better. I shared more news, and less whines. I got the opportunity to blog for other sites, which I love and cherish. I found MY voice. And, 114 blog posts in 2011 under my belt, I feel like I’ve finally come in to a place where I know what I want my blog to be when it grows up.
I want it to be OUR place.
A place where I can share news and information about childhood onset mental illness, and you can share feedback, additional information, and your point of view. I want YOU to write a post here, about your child, your situation, your hopes, your fears, what makes you angry. So – here’s my resolution for 2012 for The Mindstorm, and what I’m asking you to do. I commit to doubling the amount of post here in 2012 to 228. And you? Leave a comment. Send me an email about something you want to blog about. Join our Facebook Page and post a link to your blog.
It’s a new beginning – it’s like having a clean, new journal to write in. I can’t wait to have you help me write it.