Today, I wanted to chat with you all about a subject that is very near and dear to my heart, but one that I came to appreciate through some hard life lessons. Because it’s such an important topic to me, I will be quite candid and honest, which usually means it’ll be a bitch of a read and there will be vulgarity and possible triggers for discussion of: depressive episodes, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and grief. I’d also like to mention that I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist. I’m a person who has their fair share of mental health illnesses and I discuss my experiences—good, bad, and horrendous—with the hopes of helping others out there who may have similar challenges.
Now… let’s continue, shall we?
A few weeks ago I announced in a long letter-style post that I was taking a hiatus from blogging. In that post I discussed newfound feelings of unfulfillment from blogging, mostly due to a lack of conversation being garnered on my discussion posts. I also spoke about fears of people stealing my hard-work for their own shitty gain and fame. I would like to clarify now that the latter part of that post stemmed from a condition I have where my paranoia kicks up during severe bouts of depression, creating a sort of bottleneck that prevents me from seeing a much larger picture of my happiness, passions, or success, etc. as a means to keep me in the lowest depths of said depression. At least that’s the best way to explain it in its simplest form. So, I apologise for that bit dearly.
In the days following that announcement, I felt invigorated and utterly refreshed. The almost instantaneous free-time in my schedule from starting that break blew me away. I sat down and finished reading approximately four or five books in the span of two or three days, which is quite a lot for me. I finished watching Inuyasha season three (I was only an episode or two into the season) quickly as well. For a short while there, I felt quite fantastic. However, after the high of that so-called freedom faded away, I was hastily faced with a brand-new realisation: blogging was a major form of treatment for my depression and anxiety.
Going to give some history/background information here.
I started a WordPress blog in 2015 under a different guise and struggled with trying to get established as a book blogger. I dabbled with it here and there. I had just gotten out of an extremely psychologically and emotionally abusive relationship, and I didn’t know if I was going to survive the aftermath. I was very suicidal, returned to my addiction of pain killers, and my self-harming habits had been at their worst. I remember that I had become so anaemic from it that when I got a small cut on my index finger, the bleeding would not stop and eventually I passed out from it. There were other more severe symptoms associated with that incident as well, but that event worked as a bit of a wake-up call.
I knew I needed help, but I couldn’t afford it and I was too scared to admit it. A person that I met at the time, known to many here as either Sir Betrothed or Sir Besty (now that we aren’t romantically involved) came into my life. They were a spiritual counsellor. Even though I wasn’t of the same faith as them—and I would even shamefully admit that I loathed their faith (entirely due to the hatred I had received from this group of people due to my Islamic background)—they made the decision to help me. They suggested that one of the best ways to even get my tippy toes on the ground towards change and moving forward was to get out of my own fucking head.
One of the biggest contributors to my self-harm and desire to kill myself came from ruminating about the ten years I had wasted in a terrible relationship where I was demeaned and dehumanised in the worst ways. I’d think about the sacrifices I had made, every dumbass decision where I felt I was “putting my marriage first,” and all of the people I alienated who were only trying to make me see what my reality was. You don’t realise that you are being abused, most times, until you are out of the situation or environment. Then small titbits of memories that you once found endearing or just a “normal part of relationships/marriages” will play in your mind and you recognise that horror behind it all. The same can be said for conversations with loved ones who see the signs of abuse and try to assist you, but you’re in denial and don’t want to face the harsh truth. Because of that my mind was the most poisonous motherfucker to my existence.
We (Sir Besty and I) shared a passion for reading and our discussions would go from simple to in-depth in a matter of moments. They suggested that because I had a “unique way of looking at the narratives I encounter” and that I like to write, I should try my hand at writing book reviews. They felt that it could help me in many ways. Because of spending ten years being told that I’m a “stupid foreigner” or being treated like a moron, I had no confidence in my intelligence or my capabilities whatsoever. I never viewed myself as an intellectual person, or probably a person at all. I was terrified to admit that I had the potential to be a smart person. Yet, even with all of my reservations, I took them up on their advice and created a blog.
It was a bit of a hit or miss situation initially. Between dealing with the emotional and mental turmoil of getting a divorce (additionally after you learn that this person is a monster in more ways than you ever could have imagined) and trying to find a new place to live, I didn’t take blogging seriously. It wasn’t until the end of 2016 where I established BiblioNyan specifically that I began to view blogging as something I wanted to pursue wholeheartedly. By this point, I had made some decent progress with my mental health. I was no longer self-hating. I began to understand that I am a very intelligent person but I was never allowed to let myself feel I had these qualities due to another person’s insecurities and shortcomings. Intimidation and manipulation kept me buried under six feet of filthy fear. I knew there were people out there who were far more intelligent than me, but instead of being afraid of them or jealous of them, I started to feel inspired by them. Anyone has the potential to become an “intellectual.” All you need is the desire to learn and the energy to take one step at a time towards educating yourself.
In addition to being more positive about myself inwardly, I stopped the act of self-harming and dedicated myself to staying clean. I quit being an addict around the time I moved out of my ex’s home in November 2015. I am proud to say that I have been narcotics-free and self-harm free for three years now. Even with these changes, my depression wouldn’t get better. The cold truth is that after getting my own place, the mutilation done to me emotionally and psychologically over such a lengthy period of time had done its damage. I became severely agoraphobic (fear of leaving one’s house). My paranoia and anxiety had grown into an intolerable monster no thanks to the PTSD that I had, which been exasperated from the marriage. (I had mild PTSD from being physically abused as a child, but the marriage nearly tripled the intensity of it and its triggers.)
I was desperate to make my life better, to know that there was something—anything—beyond the veil of “victim.” I knew that if I allowed myself to think about the things I had lost/sacrificed with the fact that I didn’t know what the fuck to do with my new uncertain future, I would revert back to being the frightened creature on the verge of death that I was. I encountered YouTube and the Diverse Books movement, which was just starting to kick-off. Those two things shoved my arse into gear and eventually I became a full-time blogger. The progression and evolution of content has increased over time on BiblioNyan as has my weekly contribution towards creating content. In my About Me section, I mention that I blog full-time. That is no joke. Before going on hiatus, I had a schedule dedicated to content creating where I would work anywhere from 12-16 hours per day. When I went on hiatus and pulled the rug on all that work, my life utterly fell apart.
The holidays are a terrible time for me. Between being reminded of my brother and everything that goes with that loss, the marriage and triggers related to that, as well as a crumbling relationship with my parentals—it’s a buffet for negativity and depressive thoughts. I didn’t consider any of this shit when I announced my hiatus. And it not only bit my arse, but kind of ripped it to shreds. You’re welcome for the image, by the way.
After the high from the break died down (yes, I’m finally returning to the point after a long-winded digression, my apologies), I was a hot fucking mess of the worst calibre. My mind became so heavy with the darkest and most traumatic memories of my life. I relived so many forms of abuse from my ex-husband, plus other atrocities I had experienced prior to getting married. My mind would dance around and around in a waltz of guilt, anguish, and grief as I relived moments of arguing with my mother and getting disowned by my parents. Until finally I hit that bleeding climax to my spiral into hell: thoughts of my brother. I was listening to a song that he played frequently on the piano and I lost it. Unable to resist the temptation, I put the song on repeat and just curled into myself as I sobbed and sobbed. My pillows and blankets were soaked from a kind of mourning that words cannot express the depth of. Then I began to crave pain killers in ways that I hadn’t for three long years. I even experienced some mild withdrawal symptoms that were caused entirely from my emotional state of being. Then the anxiety of my own mortality kicked-in and the paranoia of everyone I love dying one after another before the year’s end decided to join up. Thank you, Mental Illness. Fuck you too.
I was going through the WP reader one evening shortly after that incident and it hit me all of a sudden, like a painful PlayStation controller to the face: blogging helps keep all of the negativity at bay on such a powerful and strong level. While I may feel a lack of fulfilment via lack of chit-chat, blogging helps fulfil the incredible urge that I have to keep unfathomably occupied. By having a strict working schedule that allows me to exercise my creativity in whatever realms that fits my persona and desires in that moment, by completely encapsulating myself in a bubble of work where my brain has no time to ruminate about stupid, godforsaken bullshite, I help treat my depression.
Some people can argue that this isn’t “treatment” but a form of distraction. I’m going to disagree vehemently. Yes, being a workaholic can be a form of distraction from a person’s baggage or other shite. Nevertheless, the ways that blogging treats my depression and anxiety are numerous, and quite brilliantly helpful.
- When I don’t have time to think about negative things, I am less likely to be negative about my projects, goals, and other life pursuits.
- When negative thoughts don’t invade my brain, other parts of my conditions don’t get triggered, such as anxiety and paranoia. This makes it easier for me to do other things, such as leaving my fucking house.
- Working constantly, especially on an array of projects, helps maintain my ADHD to the point where I can enjoy various things I love without feeling burned out, or feeling like I’m not doing it enough. When my ADHD is maintained, then it keeps me from being scatter-brained and contemplating harmful things, such as traumatic histories, etc.
- Staying positive and keeping my brain engaged in a creative avenue helps keep me focused and excited about my future and gives me a strong willingness to live.
- Avoiding negativity doesn’t allow depressive thoughts to take over my mind, which prevents me from staying in bed all day where my physical conditions, such as my sciatica, can get exasperated. It also helps keep strain off my heart, which helps prevent stress-induced heart attacks (not fun, by the way).
- By being a workaholic, I am teaching myself to maintain fortitude and strength even in the face of great adversity, which in this case is living with depression. It forces me to work through the days where things are very difficult and makes me learn to become more emotionally and mentally stable, which is the most important part of treating depression. Recognising and accepting that it doesn’t have to last forever and it doesn’t have to control my life, or my existence.
Many people who have depression who work on getting it treated when they are able to do so, have something in their lives that helps to keep them grounded and looking towards the light. While I’m not naïve enough to believe that blogging will be my light in this fight for all eternity (although I’m not closed off to the possibility), I do understand that it is something I need right now in this moment. I thought taking a break and walking away was what I needed the most because I have been struggling with bullet number 5 terribly. My low-days are the absolutely fucking worst between the end of October all the way through February. It is when I just want to lay down and give up, but that is not the solution or the proper way to address depression, personally speaking.
Taking the break was very good for me because I don’t think I would have ever truly grasped the profound nature of blogging and as it co-relates to my mental health otherwise. I was seeking fulfilment in some casual means without taking a step back and seeing the much larger picture of how the fulfilment that I truly need is one that goes much, much deeper than I ever thought possible; the one that keeps me sane and safe and unwilling to become a sacrificial fucking goat to my mental health.
So… I would like to return to blogging, if y’all shall have me.
I know that this year has been a bit uncertain with the sporadic and unannounced (unintentional) breaks that I have taken here and there from January up to this point. I can’t really say much about it other than that I am human and sometimes the only ways to figure tough shite out is to go with the flow of life and discover how you feel in that exact moment. It also requires us to take risks, ill-advised or otherwise, or how else are we ever supposed to grow and bloom into the best parts of who we are? I know that I will always be growing and evolving with whatever fuckery life decides to toss my way. I won’t apologise for that because it is a part of being alive, however, I will apologise for being sporadic and possibly even causing lots of confusion or frustrations as I work on that figuring out bit. I know it can feel callous at times and I’m sincerely sorry for that.
I do want to say that I appreciate your continued and constant support, not only for my blog, for me as a person who has been facing life as it came at me this year. I know it’s not easy, but your kindness, compassion, and words of encouragement really has made a huge difference in my life, especially where my mental health is concerned. When I say that this community is the best damned part of being a blogger, I 100% fucking mean that. I hope that you shall continue to support me on this journey and bear with me if I get lost in the forest of fears along the way.
Thank you so much for visiting me today. I appreciate the support! Until next time, keep reading and keep otakuing. 🖤