I stopped writing this blog regularly after the November 2010 elections for a few reasons. First, as a new conservative, I was stunned and angry to learn that social conservatives run as fiscal conservatives but govern primarily to advance their religious agenda. I was in the process of losing weight, which took my sense of humor and patience with it. I didn’t want to spoil my brand by losing my temper. Second, I didn’t see how blogging would help me make enough money to live on or get me a good job after my father passes on. I do now, but I didn’t then. Third, I couldn’t figure out how to keep every post I considered writing about my personal life and challenges from sounding like a suicide note.
But a couple of friends and my therapist (thanks, Obamacare!) have encouraged me to do the writing I refuse to do for my own sake for others who are facing similar challenges. So I am taking the plunge. It will be awhile before I can tell the story in any organized way. For now it’s enough to dive in.
In addition to not writing, I stopped following the blogs of many of my online friends because I couldn’t be on the computer and look after my dad. And it’s not a great thing to do what I’m doing now: writing after seeing Dad to bed. That’s because I have to be awake when he’s awake, so to get enough sleep I have to have the same sleep schedule.
But being back at the computer tonight, I see my friend Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess, has her second book coming out, Furiously Happy, about her struggles with mental illness and suicidal ideation. She’s learned from writing her blog and first book that she has attracted a tribe with similar challenges, many of whom have told her she has inspired them to live when they were actively planning their suicide.
I should mention that longterm caregivers like me often are living their suicide, since it’s an occupation with a death rate of one in three who do not survive the loved one they’re caring for, rising to two in three after age 66. I’m 61. I’ve been doing end-of-life care for loved ones since 1984, starting with my late life partner of over 20 years. I suspect the ones that die are taken by illnesses caused or exacerbated by overwhelm, isolation, exhaustion, fear, worry, lack and sadness. So it’s worth your life in that kind of situation to figure out how to overcome those challenges. I’ve come through relatively unscathed and have a thing or two to say about how I’ve done it.
What I relate to about Jenny’s new book is how frightened she felt of telling her story because that is how scared I’ve been of telling mine. But in the last month, I’ve gotten emotional support from a therapist and a couple of friends that has given me the courage to start writing again and tell my story. I don’t know if my writing will save anyone else’s life, but right now it will save mine.