No you’re not lost. Yes, I’ve done it again. Let me ‘splain, though…
When I retired Stuphblog and opened TD421 I didn’t really open a new blog. I merely changed the name and URL of the existing blog I had. My blog has been wonky ever since. Yes, I just said wonky. I decided to leave it be, though, because the thought of changing everything again was daunting.
Then a couple of things happened. When I started promoting fundraising for this year’s AFSP Out of the Darkness walk, I realized I could only raise funds under my real name. I was torn between protecting my anonymity and giving my full support to a vital cause. I had been wrestling with this until recently, when a fellow blogger began promoting Mental Health Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day. Under her real name.
It struck me at that moment that even though I’ve been very open about my mental health through my online endeavors, I’ve not been very open about it in my personal life. In fact, I’ve made no attempt to talk about it with anyone other than my children. I feel very ashamed by the thought of discussing my depression with anyone in real life. It’s something I can’t explain. So I’ve been inspired to blog openly about my mental health. As a way of forcing myself to confront this, I will now be blogging under my real name (first name only) and sharing my posts where everyone can see them, meaning I’ll be exposing my writing (and therefore every skeleton in my closet) on my personal Facebook and Google+ pages (not that anyone ever checks Google+, but that’s another post for another day). That’s as transparent as I’m willing to go. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve done since deciding to become a father again.
I figured since I’ll be changing everything around here I may as well start a completely new blog while I’m at it. There were too many demons in the archives of my old blog, anyhow. Literally. I figured, a fresh new purpose deserves a fresh new blog. I’ll still use this blog as I always have: poetry, flash fiction, anecdotes, and kids-driving-me-crazy stories, but the main reason for this change is for me to hold myself more accountable for my mental health and to force it out into the open so the choice to hide it fades.
So here goes….*takes a big breath*
My name is Scott. I was diagnosed as manic-depressive at the age of 13. After a year of treatment we moved and I was never seriously treated for it again until my separation in August of 2012. I recently tried coming off of my medication, thinking that perhaps my depression was situational, but I was wrong. I have since accepted the fact that taking medication will be a part of my daily life until death do me part. I made this decision with the help of my doctor.
Depression runs in my family, which makes it all the more incredulous that I’ve been too ashamed to share my diagnosis with others. I am hardly alone. Not even close. I’m hoping that by speaking about my mental health openly and transparently, I can encourage others to do so as well. Eventually, if we all keep talking about it and can remove the stigma, those of us who need help won’t feel so ashamed in asking for it.
Despite my depression, I’m very much a functioning member of society. I go to work. I pay my bills. I raise my children. I don’t murder people who cut me off on the highway, though I’m sorely tempted (joking, of course). I am no danger to others and really not a danger to myself. Not physically, anyhow. But I battle. There is a never-ending struggle in my mind for control of my emotions. You don’t see it, but know it’s there. You also need to understand that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Working with, or befriending, someone with depression is okay. It’s not contagious, and more people have it than you might think.
I have been blogging for years from behind the mask of a stormtrooper under the pseudonym Twindaddy. I’ve become accustomed to that and kinda like it. Star Wars, and stormtroopers in particular, will still very much be a theme around here. But it’s time for me to do something more with my words, and no one takes a stormtrooper seriously. I mean, have you seen the movies? Those guys couldn’t catch a dead chicken. So, for this cause most dear to my heart (depression and suicide prevention), I have decided to remove the mask.
It’s time I walked the walk. I hope you’ll walk with me.