Bloggy Birthday

Today is my blog’s first birthday.

When I started out last year, I had no idea what I was getting into.  I wanted to talk about being bipolar and how managing a mental illness became a spiritual practice.  I also discovered it to be the perfect platform for sharing my art and fiction.  More people could see my art.  And I could put my stories in front of readers without going through the soul-breaking horrors of the publishing world.

What I didn’t expect were the revelations and gifts that came from simply showing up.  First, that so many people came to visit.  As of this writing, there are 99 people who read this blog regularly, and in the year that it’s been out in cyber space, folks have crossed the threshold over 15,000 times.  Once I Googled myself (aminddivided.com) and flipped out when several of my postings appeared at the head of the list.  That explains why “If You Meet Carrie Fisher on the Road, Kill Her” continues to be my most popular post.  Who knew so many people sought out Carrie Fisher?

The second revelation came through the process of writing about my illness.  The Bipolar Bad-Ass Training program took shape and was not only entertaining (so some have told me), but gave me a real, nuts-and-bolts method for shucking off the victim mentality that held me captive.  I’m proud to have figured out a way to stand tall and take no prisoners in my daily life.  It enabled me to discontinue psych meds and to pioneer a new form of self-management.  If ever a book ever comes out of all these posts, it will be The Bipolar Bad-Ass.  And you all will be a part of it.

The third revelation is that I’ve become something of a mental illness advocate.  That was not my intention when I started.  But, as I’ve explored my process and offered an ear to others who need to share theirs, I’m finding a population suffering in relative silence.  Stigma still exists for folks with mental illness.  The media image of the homicidal whack-a-doo needs to be countered by those of us who are articulate enough to speak.  I’ve started speaking at groups about mental illness and bipolar disorder, and the response there is the same as on this blog.  Relief.  Finally, people have a place to talk about themselves, their loved ones, their co-workers.  Someone understands.

The fourth revelation is that writing these posts has made me a better fiction writer.  And the more fiction I write, the better my posts are.  Writing of any kind primes the pump, and my well has become self-sustaining over the past year.  When I posted the first chapter of Callinda a few days after I launched this blog, I intended to just “clean it up and put it out there.”  Instead, I’ve completely rewritten a novel that came out of a long period of rapid cycling and deep depression.  It’s a much better story now (and almost done, I promise).  I’m already looking ahead at picking up October Roads again and crafting a compelling bipolar heroine.

This first year in the bloggy world stunned and amazed me.  This site has become an integral part of my spiritual work and a way for me to be in the world again.  I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruby Tuesday
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 07:01:37

    A very happy blogoversary to you! You should be so proud of all that you have accomplished here, and in your offline life. :D

    Reply

  2. Rev Marshall Wright
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 08:50:45

    HO TO YOUR FLOW . . . for it certainly embellishes mine,

    Love is . . .

    Rev M

    Reply

  3. Fiddle gal
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 10:28:35

    You are amazing! Your blog is an important part of my life. As you explore yourself, I explore more about who I am. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to bring my own stuff to the surface to be healed with your honesty and way with words.

    Reply

  4. Sheryl Mae
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 10:47:47

    I’m so proud of all the work you have done this year. I love your writing! It makes me laugh. It makes me think. It makes me consider the options. I keep waiting to read the novel when you have it completed – that’s assuming that you really will finish it. Either that or you will have a Stephen King-sized book. (Pun intended)

    Reply

  5. fivereflections
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 12:23:50

    HB to your first year with your wordpress family :)

    Reply

  6. docrob50
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 12:56:50

    yep you are one bad ass bi-polar person……and I am excited for you – for us your readers – for this year………

    Reply

  7. Kathryn McCullough
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 15:09:15

    Happy anniversary, my friend. So glad to have found you this year!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    Reply

  8. Kitty
    Feb 05, 2012 @ 22:26:40

    Happy Birthday, Baby!!!

    Reply

  9. JAPLM
    Feb 06, 2012 @ 08:06:12

    Happy Bloggy Birthday! I found you last year while doing a google search for bi-polar and spirituality. You were writing about your bi-polar badass training at the time and I’ve been reading faithfully ever since. Thank you for being so open and real!
    Joyce

    Reply

  10. littlesundog
    Feb 11, 2012 @ 23:35:12

    Happy Bloggin Birthday to you! I have only followed you for a short time, but I was hooked from the start. I relate to much that you write about, and have found your words inspiring and comforting… and you make me laugh – a lot! I look forward to reading more about you and your life! Thanks for letting me tag along…

    Reply

    • Sandy Sue
      Feb 12, 2012 @ 08:07:12

      Growing up a farm girl, your site touched my heart immediately. The conscious way you tend the four-footed and winged ones that come into your sphere brings so much Light. I’m grateful we found each other.

      Reply

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