Mental Health Advocacy: Don’t forget yourself!

I’ve hit a snag with mental health advocacy. I volunteered for years at the nearby drop in. I had high security clearance and brought meetings into the psych ward. I developed an eating disorder meeting. I got sick with depression and a three year struggle with trying to get Tardive Dyskinesia under control and fell off the volunteer rolls. They no longer think I’m ‘well’ enough to be a volunteer. Despite this, I tried to write a nice story about them and their services for International Bipolar Disorder. I interviewed the project director and took good notes. I gave her final editorial approval since I did want to quote her and wanted to improve our relationship. I guess I sent too many emails because when she returned from a vacation that I didn’t know about, I got a nasty one in my inbox telling me to stop ‘bombarding’ her with emails. My deadline for the story had come and gone, and I was just being compulsive in trying to accomplish and be done with a task. She works with the mentally ill so why should she expect so much out of me?

I’ve been lucky in that somehow I’ve been picked up as a blogger by International Bipolar Disorder but truly for every four submissions I send out, only one gets picked up. The rest are rejected for one reason or another. Their was Stigma fighters, I guess that evaluating my 25 year struggle on paper I told too many stories and talked about meds too much. When you develop Tardive Dyskinesia, it’s pretty hard not to., Then there was the seeds of hope and they objected to too much personal narrative and not enough of a “we” presentation. So I’ve realized that in all this advocacy, I have to nurture myself, focus on what’s really important and develop a thick skin. And to stick to my own platforms, like this blog and the book I am writing. Does anyone else out there ‘feel’ me?

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