Much of my current writing efforts center around my experience dealing with my poor mental health. Even so, my personal health is not my niche. I like to think I spend most of my time being an advocate and talking about mental health in general. But I have to admit the most impactful stories I’ve written have been about times in my life where my mental illness got the best of me — whether it’s suicide, self-harm, or psychotic episodes.
Over my years of writing about these experiences, I’ve been thorough and have hardly left a stone unturned, so when I do feel like writing about my personal life, there aren’t many unique scary stories left. I try to avoid writing about the mundane details of everyday life — I blog on Facebook for that. I save my time here on Medium for the remarkable.
The thing that drives me now more than ever is my need to help others. The best way I know to help is to write about the experiences that shaped the person I am today. So, the point I’m getting to is if I run out of “material,” how am I going to continue to help people?
Is it weird that I feel guilty that more bad things aren’t happening to me so I can overcome them and write about it?
I’m all about honesty
I know you may be thinking I’m a writer — couldn’t I make up scenarios and create lessons around them, like Aesop’s Fables?
My answer is no. My whole persona, my voice, my relatability — is built on the fact that I’m honest about the things that happened to me in my life. I never embellish, and I never hold back important details, even if they are heartbreaking and embarrassing.
I know we should be adaptable and willing to change, but I’m not sure I can make an impact with stories I’m not 100% invested in. I can’t change who I am for views and reads. I know the purpose of the views and reads is to help people, but I’m so attached to helping people with my own experiences that it would feel like cheating if I made up stories.
Does that make any sense? I feel so strongly about connecting with others through my writing, and I wouldn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize not only the reader’s feelings toward me but my own opinion about myself.
Where do I go from here?
I’m going to keep writing about my life, and I’m sure that I’ll always be able to put a different spin on the story, but eventually, people are going to get tired of my talking about the voices I hear, my suicide attempts, and the years of depression and anxiety.
My recovery may be progressing faster than I’d imagined, so I can’t count on bad things to keep happening. Besides, feeling guilty for having good mental health is about the silliest thing I’ve ever heard from my mouth.
I only have the stories I have, and I’ll have to continue to find a way to use them to create articles and essays with the sole purpose of helping others. My job as a writer is to find unique ways to tie them together with my new stories of building a life after mental illness.
A different path
I’m unique in many ways. All ego aside, I know I have an interesting story to tell. I am a man who has made it through some of the hardest years anyone could have lived. I’m building a life despite being schizoaffective and hearing voices. I’ve learned to exist with an illness that most of the time will send the sufferer through a life of mental hospitals and debilitating medications.
I came back from almost ending my life and used my attempts as a catalyst to change everything about myself. I mutilated myself for years and now use my scars as a lesson to others that even if you hit bottom, you can still find your way out of the rabbit hole.
I’m on the road to better mental health, and it was a hard battle to get here. I’m sure the stories I live from here on out can also be used to help others as well.
I’m a brand-new father at 50 years old. I’m eight years into my forever-marriage, and every day sees me getting happier and more fulfilled. Despite what I’ve gone through, I’m a father, a husband, a son, an advocate, a writer, an entrepreneur, an influencer, and a damn-good human being.
Every day I walk a path to greater happiness, and I feel fulfilled by every little event in my life.
Writing about my life now has to be of help to someone out there. Someone out there is on the same path as I, hoping to connect with someone else who feels like they do and can relate to their story.
I may have the same old painful stories of the past, but my hopeful stories from my future will help just as much.