Link – The Pressures of Mental Health Advocacy
I’ve seen this too, and I’ve struggled with it at times.
“I know at least in my situation, I’m terrified that one day I may have a serious setback again that requires hospitalization. What does that say to all of the people that have read my book or followed me on Twitter as I declare, you can do this! You are a warrior!
Do I look like a hypocrite telling them to keep fighting as I’m curled up in the fetal position having not showered in 3 days? The whole concept makes me feel like a giant failure. There have been times when I have had to step back or not get involved in certain situations, not because I didn’t care but because I needed to protect myself. I’ve seen some backlash from those experiences, but I can’t let that get to me. As I’ve often stated, I’m not a professional with a degree, and I’m certainly not getting paid to offer my advice, so unfortunately, there will be times when I am not 100% dialed in. “
What I can say is that, 15 years later, I know a few things. One, I know that I love having this site. I still get excited when people comment or share things they read here with others. I get excited when someone emails me because I know that, if nothing else, I’ve succeeded in letting them know that there are other survivors out here, they are not alone. But, I have to temper all of that with the fact that this site is a very, very small part of my life. My family, my job, my friends, and my health all come before it. My other websites and hobbies are mixed in there as well. As much as I love being able to offer encouragement, or help someone find the courage to speak or ask for help, I am not a therapist, or a social worker. I’m a guy with a blog. I do what I can do, but I can’t feel guilty for all the things I can’t do, because if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t even be a guy with a blog anymore.
Advocate in any way you feel led to, but don’t lose your own life in it. It’s important that we have regular people doing regular things to point at and say “that’s a survivor too”.
Photo by Sean MacEntee