When I began hosting my blog last year, I set a goal for myself to post two stories and one HAPPY PIC a week. Piece of cake. Right? Wrong.
First, there's the issue of posting something versus posting something worthwhile. Anyone can offer drivel week after week. I don't/won't do drivel.
Second, where does a blogger get her ideas? I certainly don't think of myself as an over-flowing font of blogging brilliance. That means I need heartfelt submissions from people in the know. People on the front lines of serious mental illness.
Now and then stories (like yesterday's "Dead Boy Walking") come to my blog over the transom, but that doesn't happen often enough. Some days I go fishing and troll for stories that resonate. Sometimes, for appropriate reasons, I approach someone about telling his or her story and they decline. More often, thankfully, storytellers respond positively. I make a few edits, send the edits back to them for their approval, and together we craft finished stories. Some are a couple of pages. Some are a couple of paragraphs. The blog that achieved the greatest reach, so far, is actually a video.
But I never know. As of this moment, I have one story in the queue.
Let me be clear. This blog is a labor of love. I'm not looking for sponsors. I foster no monetary aspirations. (In fact, this little endeavor is costing me money. I'm working, right now, with a web designer to get my website ready to host two blogs — the current blog and a new blog, my book, Sooner Than Tomorrow - A Mother's Diary.) So every story that comes to me puts a skip in my day. No. More than a skip. A bounce. When my blog's working, I feel like I've found that magical place where my passion meets my talent.
People tell me I'm on a mission. I am on a mission. We have to make the case for effective, compassionate care for the seriously mentally ill, and to do that we have to tell our stories. Stories about tragedies that could have been prevented. Stories about the need for beds and housing. Stories about outrageous HIPAA laws that prevent us from helping those we love. Stories about our missing and homeless children and mothers and fathers. Stories about our sons and daughters in jails and prisons and solitary confinement without treatment. And on and on...
We have to do this. Nothing else is working. Not healthcare. Not government. Not prisons. Not advocacy organizations. Everything's fraught with hidden agendas, bureaucratic incompetence, and self-interest. Or lack of interest. As Ron Powers says in his eloquent book by the same title, "No one cares about crazy people."
I hear many of you in the mental illness community say, "So much has happened I could write a book." I believe you could write a book. Why not warm up here? Let's bombard the public with accounts they won't be able to ignore. Send me your stories.