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Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

I’ve discovered that I really like tag-surfing on WordPress. It’s a little like using the remote control to channel-surf the TV for something cool to watch – and if you have as little control over the clicker as I do, you can appreciate the excitement here. I never know what I’m going to find. I can click Tag Surfer on the left of my Dashboard, choose any word or phrase, and surf into the unknown world of anyone who decided to use that phrase on that day.

My favorite tag at the moment is Mental Health. Now that generates variety. Some people are blogging about general issues, some people are blogging about their treatment, and some people are just blogging about the struggles of everyday life. These are real stories about real people with real challenges. And this is just the thin slice of the population who have access to the Internet and decide to blog. I don’t know if this is a statistically valid sample, but it’s a start.

Some people should tag Mental Health and read these stories on a regular basis. For instance, I’d like to make it mandatory for politicians who are facing decisions about budgeting for health care and social services. Teachers at all levels could use some continuing ed on how nontraditional brains work in real life, and not just in their “special needs” course at college that they’ve already forgotten about. Educational administrators could use some of these stories when they’re contemplating budget cuts for the kids who really shouldn’t be forgotten at all. Then there are the people who truly and honestly believe that all unemployed and underemployed people are lazy. I’d like to see them tag-surf Mental Health every day, read at least a full page of entries, and see how the “different people” live.

Psychiatrists and other doctors should tag-surf Mental Health, and then suggest the tag-surfing or some specific blogs to their patients – they could all use some real-life stories to fill in the blanks about the definition of “normal” and how others experience it. Some of these bloggers seem to be contributing to a big virtual support group, and a psych patient who feels alone could really get a lot of mileage out of tag-surfing here.

WordPress is a great window into the minds of people from all over the world. Go ahead. Peek in the window. Learn something. Then take it with you when you go. You never know when it just might change your own mind about the world and the other people in it.

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I have to say that I’m impressed.  Brand new to blogging, I’ve done a little surfing lately and found little mini-communities sprouting all over the place.  What hits me the most is how many people fighting in the trenches of the mental health system are using this type of forum to connect with others like themselves.  Those of us who like to write can spout off, share information, and encourage the others with funny stories and empathy.  Those of us who like to write and happen to be having an off-day can poke around and learn from everyone else.  It’s like therapy without all the bills.

Speaking of therapy bills, I have a couple of people I’d like to send my bills to…

It’s amazing to look at all the different types of people reading and posting about mental health.  Concerned professionals write about their experiences and their patients.  Patients write about their experiences and the mental health professionals they work with.  (These two groups had better be keeping in touch with each other – I love the “You don’t know what it’s like!!!” posts.)  Then there are the people who are simply trying to come to terms with whatever oddities they find between their ears.

I like the posts from people who are trying to encourage the rest of the world to understand the complexities of mental health and not lump us all into the “too weird to give a crap” basket.  What we have now is sort of a huge identity crisis.  Seriously – we label someone mentally ill if they’re hospitalized with next to no cognizance of reality, and we give the next guy the same label when he just gets overly excited once in a while.  Some of us are still not sure what to do with the bored housewives who go out and do something completely out of character, except maybe give them a reality show.  Really, the weird thing is that we apply the same term to so many different people.

I’m on anyone’s team who decides to attack the stigma surrounding mental illness.  There has to be a way to make it less of a fright or a scandal when we meet someone who has a problem with their brain.  I know – it’s hard to know how to react to people who are different.  Some people are scary, and some people aren’t.  Some people are fine with medication, and some people are hard to treat because there are other physical problems in the mix.  Let’s start with a little unconditional respect and see where that gets us.

If you have issues, find others who are in the same boat, even if it’s only online.  Keep in touch with each other.  Share stuff about how you deal with mental health.  You never know when you’re going to touch someone and help their off-day from getting worse.

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