If you’re like me, the minute somebody offers you advice the first thing that pops into your head is, “Who’s this jackass?” I don’t like being told what to do by anyone who hasn’t walked in my shoes, whether it’s “Don’t wear your hair that way” or “Meditate to relieve stress.”
Hopefully after reading my story, you trust me enough to take advice from me, and if you haven’t read my story yet you can either check out the Short Version or The Whole Story by clicking one of these links in the sidebar, depending on how much time you have and how much you care. The point is, I care about you, because we have one giant thing in common, and that elephant in the room tends to sit on everyone who comes in the door without the requisite elephant-handling experience. I’ve been working with this particular elephant for 20 years now; we may not get along like the best of friends, but I’ve learned how to take care of him and he, in turn, occasionally behaves long enough for me to get something done.
(In case you’re lost, the elephant is mental illness. Don’t worry, I have a lot of trouble following metaphors sometimes too. And subtlety. And… most humor, actually. Point is, we’re in the same boat. And the boat is not always understanding everything immediately.)
So forget the elephant; I’m here to be your friend, and to share with you the knowledge I’ve come by the hard way over the last 20 years in the hopes that it makes handling your mental illness a little easier on you. To that end, I’d like to make a pledge to you, the reader, so you’ll feel more comfortable about trusting me and the advice I give here on my blog:
1. I pledge to take my own advice. In other words, everything I suggest here will be something I have either tried and had success with or something I am currently trying. Because yes, I am going to tell you to exercise, and yes, I am going to exercise every day too, so you don’t feel like you’re the only one in the world sweating and gasping through a workout while trying desperately not to puke. I’ll be doing that same thing too. Every day. And if I can do it, you can too.
2. I pledge not to sell you snake oil. I’m not being endorsed by anybody, and I’m not going to try and swindle you with homeopathy or magic mood-enhancing sugar pills. I’m a rational, scientifically-minded person, and I plan to present only rational, scientifically-supported information. Though I may occasionally suggest products to you, it’s because I have tried them and experienced a benefit, not because I’m profiting from promoting them.
3. I pledge to post regularly and dependably. Let’s face it; those of us afflicted by mental illness usually have a reputation for being flaky. I’m not going to leave you hanging. If you’d like to see the schedule I plan to follow for my blog posts as well as the topics I plan to cover, click here or click the link in the sidebar.
4. I pledge to respond if you reach out. Remember I told you you’re not in this alone? Well, I meant it. If you want to ask me a question or share your story with me, leave a comment in the comments section after each post or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Striving and Surviving.” Unless a miracle happens and this blog suddenly goes viral, thereby causing me to get a daily flood of emails from around the world, I will respond as quickly as I can.
There you have it. This is my solemn pact with you, the reader. If you hold me accountable, I won’t fail you. So give me a chance, read on, and keep hanging in there.