I started this blog with no exact sense of direction or any real idea where I wanted to take it. The mission of this space was simply to share my story in hopes of processing and fighting stigma. Then, something really cool happened. Without intent, I realized I was sharing not only my story, but also tools, coping strategies, and methods of challenging and changing perceptions I’ve learned along my recovery. I then realized with perfect clarity: THAT is what this space is meant to be! It’s meant to be a place where, yes, share my own experiences, struggles, and triumphs, but I do it in a way which may break outside of the confines of one person’s difficulties and maybe provide some help and support to others as well. This is what really ignites passion in me. As someone who has spent the majority of my adult life studying or working in the mental health field, it’s probably not that big of a surprise.
But it turns out that such a task can be rather difficult when one is still in recovery. Realistically, I’m still spending a frustrating amount of days swimming against the current of my own internal ebb and flow. As is to be expected with PTSD and Bipolar, things come in waves. Sometimes, the waves are refreshing – self-confidence at levels I’ve never felt before now that I’m finally living abuse-free, immense gratitude for the amazing support network I have, the hope that comes from the knowledge that the future is finally open to me and I can spend the next 28 years of my life living instead of surviving. Sometimes, the waves are brutal and can leave me sea sick or even terrified – flashbacks and nightmares that still happen, grief at all I’ve lost in the last seven months, hopelessness that things aren’t where I want them to be yet. I know that on one level, I have made so much progress in these seven months. I’ve learned so much about myself. I have an understanding of myself and my emotions that would have been impossible to attain were it not for everything that’s happened. On the other hand, I’m working a part time retail job with no benefits and I’m no where close to “where I was.”
“Toy Boat” Take at Venice Beach.
My Papa had a sailboat when I was a kid. I spent countless summer afternoons sailing around Boston or just anchored at Hingham Harbor swimming off the boat and watching the occasional harbor seal hanging out on a buoy. I miss those sun and salt-filled days more than I can say, especially since my Papa passed away. But the metaphor of the sail boat will forever resonate with me. Especially when thinking about my mental health recovery. There are days that the PTSD symptoms still take the tiller and drive my little boat around in vicious circles. There are days that Bipolar catches my sail and whisks me away into depression or mania. I will say, though, these moments are getting less. I am making progress. Most days, I have enough gasoline in the out-board motor to keep myself mostly on course. But when the gas runs out, and I have to wait for a gust of wind, progress is slow, and it’s frustrating. When the occasional storm kicks up, it can feel like every moment of the last seven months has been for nothing.
Learning to ride out the waves and turn my sail to use the wind to my advantage has been very slow going. Especially when I can see True North and I know exactly where I want to be. If you’re following at all, that’s where I’m at with this blog. I know exactly what this space is meant to be. I know exactly what excites me about this project. Getting there is slow, though. I also have a lot to consider about content in light of my pending divorce. I don’t, in any way, want to detract from the honesty of this space. But I do have a lot to consider in terms of potential repercussions from too much honesty.
You all know by now that I get excited and I try to set posting schedules and get organized and then I fall way short of those ideals. So, as of tonight, I am going to be working very hard on setting a schedule which I can stick to and which you can follow and expect consistent content. I’m really sorry I didn’t do that before launching this little project in the first place. I should have. But, when I first started this blog, I was posting almost daily and I didn’t realize that that would not be sustainable long term. (Who needs foresight and logic, right?) The truth is, almost every post to date has been written during all-nighters (which is why they are frequently posted at 4 or 5 AM) and that method of doing this is just no good for my brain. Sleep is necessary and I am no longer living in a schedule which allows me to sleep from 5 AM to noon.
I am going to be writing some posts in advance of the publishing date (I know, who is this organized, together person and what has she done with Sheila?!) and I’ll be producing a lot more resource posts for the time being. I’ll also be revamping and actually, officially launching my Patreon, so be looking for that link! I know that a month away in internet time is… absolutely unacceptable. And I sincerely apologize for leaving you all hanging for so long. Just know that this is not an abandoned blog and your regularly scheduled posts will resume shortly and continue consistently. I am going to find a schedule that works realistically within the confines of my recovery, my mothering, and my work schedule. I hope that you are all well. If you have any specific requests for topics covered, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I’ve already received a few and I’m looking forward to writing them and giving them the attention they deserve.