If you read the comments to this blog with any regularity, you know that I am enormously grateful for your feedback. They are a rich dialogue between you and with me, because I try my best to answer as many comments personally. Often, ideas evolve through the comments that further the discussion in the main posts. They're synergistic. Like brainstorming session because your ideas and reactions and experiences are so stimulating and inspiring to me.
WITHOUT YOU, I WOULDN'T BE HERE
The main point is, without you, I wouldn't be here. And between you and me, I love being here. This blog is my passion. I love writing it. It's the most satisfying journalistic experience of my 38-year professional journalistic career. (I started young, very young. Trust me.)
You, as veterans of the mental health system, know more than most people - especially doctors and psychiatrists and neuroscientists - about how it feels to be on the other end of a "notebook." Collectively, your expertise, your insights, your experiences in the mental health world is monumental.
So, today, I'm going to muse about why, share the spotlight with you, and share some insights that have come my way in particularly in personal correspondence from those of you who struggle with and have learned so many "truths" travelling along their roads to Recovery, but are a little shy about being in the limelight.
I REMEMBER HOW ANXIOUS I WAS COMMENTING FOR THE FIRST TIME
Liz hooked me immediately because she used to post short videos of herself and she seemed so friendly and down-to-earth and lacking in ego, which she is, by the way. But she also has a huge following and she monitors her comments, so I didn't know if mine would make it. This was nerve-wracking for me.
Back then, I was just getting my feet wet as a blogger. (Until I began blogging, I had never read a blog and knew little about the blogosphere. In our embryonic days, we were not live and interactive, so being interactive and engaging publicly and openly with the Internet was scary. I didn't know, then, that the blogosphere could be very forgiving, but at the same time, risky, too.
You put yourself out there, less so in The Comments, than in my main posts. Still, it's a daunting experience until you've done it a few times. As Malcolm Gladwell asserts in his controversial, highly readable and bestseller Outliers, The Story of Success, it takes practice. Not 10,000 hours, but a few.
This week, one of my regular "anonymous" readers sent me the following note in response to Wednesday's post.
"So sorry to hear you are still under the weather, but I hope you can give in to your 'rest' regimen. Thank you for your most recent effort on your blog, despite ill health.
"A HOT BATH AND GREAT LITERATURE AS A SLOW CURE FOR DEPRESSION"
"I had a laugh about you mentioning the comparison between diabetes and depression, often put forth by every garden variety shrink. I had a similar experience with a well-meaning but distinctly insipid psychiatrist, soon after returning from living abroad. I told her I was a great follower of The Greeks. The Greeks suggested a hot bath and great literature as a slow cure for depression.
"I find at the depths of sadness, one must go inside oneself, that the remedy comes from within. We slowly come back to our essential self or soul, and there we find peace.
"Yet in our rapid age, no one seems aware that quick cures are often only superficial. So far, I have avoided antidepressants, yet I suppose they work for some people. I think I am with Tennessee Williams who reportedly once said, 'If I lose my demons, I may lose my angels, too.'"
In a subsequent note that arrived a few minutes later, this reader added:
"Couldn't resist firing off this quote to you. Seemed somehow relevant in the light of my last message.
"'All great truths begin as blasphemies.' This, from George Bernard Shaw. I guess he was a bit of a contrarian, and somehow when I question the status quo on mental health I feel like one, too. Something to ponder. I found it an interesting quote."
And ponder, I did. I love pondering.
YOU GIVE ME SUCH RICHES
See? You give me such riches. This is just one recent example. I have dozens in my inbox. I hope one day this exquisitely enlightened person will be able to make the leap into the Comments so her wisdom, insight and literary largesse will be seen and shared with everyone in our community. So she can engage with all of you who are similarly thoughtful, understanding, empathetic, in endlessly diverse and fascinating ways. Experts on mental health and wellness and Recovery.
Now, you know why I am so beholden to you. All of you. Why I thank you constantly.
I'll rest my case. And rest, too.
Have a great weekend. For me, school starts on Monday morning at 8 a.m. I have much to do. I need my energy.
Be good to yourselves and speak soon.