Well, I survived all of my stressful events of the past week. I think I managed things pretty well. A big family event, visits with each of my sisters, long car rides and hotel stays with the kids, the arrival of a new puppy (!!). Add in some unexpected changes to our schedule and logistics for good measure. Looking back, I think I can be proud of how I handled myself through it all. Not perfect, certainly, but better than I would have a few months ago. Perhaps the most helpful thing for me was thinking ahead of time about the things that would cause me anxiety or emotional upheaval. I then forced myself to think of approaches that would make those things less stressful and overwhelming.
I took a break from WordPress while I was out of town, and that seemed strange. I didn’t realize how connected I had become to fellow bloggers and their experiences. Not that anyone would know 🙂 but I missed reading about what was happening in their worlds. And then when I got back from my trip, I became overwhelmed by all of the blog posts I had missed, so I sort of froze and put the blog world on hold. (This is rather similar to how I handle paperwork around the house – I get overwhelmed, and then paralyzed.)
I’ve often wondered whether blogging and reading about others’ mental health adventures are helpful things for me. There’s no doubt that I’ve gotten tremendous insight from reading others’ blogs, and I’ve appreciated so much the encouragement and support that people have shown me. But the thought that gnaws away at me is that maybe the blogosphere causes me to be even more “in my head” (which, I assure you, is not a good thing). I am all too happy to analyze and reconstruct my every thought and feeling. Not because I think I’m really worthy of all that fuss, but because I’m somewhat obsessed with understanding what’s going on in my head, figuring out the lessons learned, and applying those lessons in the future. This is not always healthy for me – because for one thing, it creates a delusion of control. That I can control my depression and my feelings in ways that simply aren’t possible.
My concern is that maybe the blog world forces me even more into that kind of introspection. And maybe it gives me an excuse not to be out and engaged with the world, because it’s safer and more comfortable to be sitting in a quiet house with my laptop.
So I delayed getting back to WordPress. Just for a short while. Then I tiptoed back into reading various blogs and catching up on all the posts I had missed. It felt good to reconnect with people through their blogs. I felt happy when I read positive posts from people, and I felt compassion when I read posts from those who were struggling – even if they had no idea I was reading at all.
It felt good to be back. Right now I guess that’s all that matters – I don’t need to dissect exactly what I’m getting out of it, or why on earth I think I’m qualified to write a blog, or how I would ever explain this blogosphere experience to someone. It feels good to be here and that’s a good enough bottom line for now.