I tend to get a lot of mail from people who read this blog, particularly the stuff about the rougher parts of my life. God Bless ’em, because they’re good people who want to buck me up. But I think they misunderstand where I’m coming from sometimes.
There are days when my posts cross over to darker territory, especially when a wave of depression or OCD moment hits. I also do a lot of soul searching here, which is part of what I started this for. Some see those posts and tell me I’m way too hard on myself.
When too much of this happens, I need to come on here and tell you why you don’t need to worry about me or express sympathy. This time, I got a nice, shiny five-point manifesto to make my point:
1.) If I write about something bad that happened to me or something I’m feeling bad about, it’s never, ever a cry for pity. I approach my experiences from the point of view that EVERYONE has bad stuff happen to them and that EVERYONE screws up. I’m nobody special. But many times I need to expose my raw feelings to make a point. That’s what writers do.
2.) This blog is all about me making an example of myself. The way I see it, I’ve learned a lot of lessons and developed a lot of coping skills every time I’ve failed. If I don’t admit to my own failings to show where I used to be and where I’m going, the reader won’t walk away with anything useful.
3.) When sharing a bad mood or experience, the goal is to tell others they’re not alone. A lot of people with depression and addiction suffer in silence, thinking they’re different from everyone else in a bad way. The more people come clean about their own struggles, the more those sufferers can see that they’re not so hopeless and strange after all. In other words, some of the stuff readers try to buck me up over are based on my attempts to buck other people up.
4.) Never think for a moment that I don’t love who I am and what I have. It’s easy to read the darker posts and see a guy who loathes himself and curses his lot in life. But these posts aren’t meant to be that way. I still have my struggles and always need to be better than I am, but I also appreciate who I am, where I’ve been and what I’ve learned. And I know when I look at my wife and children that I’m THE luckiest guy on the planet.
5.) Writing all this stuff down is excellent therapy for me, too. Some people may be taken aback by some of the stuff I come clean about here. But in doing so I clear my own mind of the obsessive thinking that can hold me back. Then I can move on to the next thing. That doesn’t mean I don’t get locked into OCD moments, but spilling it here makes things better.
So you see, my friends, there’s no need for sympathy. I’m doing just fine.
But I am grateful for your kindness and good intentions.
Now, as MC5 once sang, “Kick out the jams!”