Sunday, April 26, 2015

Blogging Survey Update

First of all, thank you to everyone who responded to my blog survey. The answers were encouraging and informative.

In the blog entry linked above I mentioned my reasons for blogging. I was worried that my impact was different than the one I intended. But based on the survey responses, my blogging is right where I want it to be. Granted, not that many people responded, but that just means I will give the few respondent's voices more weight.

They all agreed that my blog informs/educates and offers a story from a woman of color living with mental illness. All but one said my blog helps to dismantle mental health stigma. I am proud that my blog does all three. And I hope I am doing my story justice.

A few weeks ago when I opened the survey, I wasn't sure if I would continue to blog. But for the time being, I can confidently say that I will continue. I will continue to blog until I feel it no longer serves my purposes.

Thank you so much for reading these past 10 months. Thank you for commenting and engaging with me. Thank you for sharing with your friends and families. Please continue to do all three: reading, commenting, and sharing.

Sending you peace, love, and blessings.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cape May

My boyfriend's birthday was a week ago. To celebrate we took a trip to Cape May, NJ, a quaint beach town. It was both our first times to Cape May and we loved it. We stayed at a beautiful bed and breakfast one block away from the Atlantic Ocean. It was nice to get away.

I haven't been blogging much because I was hospitalized for a manic episode for two weeks in March. And now I'm in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) three days per week. I just finished my third week, I still have three more weeks to go. Don't worry. I have plenty to blog about. And over the next two months I will be writing about my experiences with this manic episode (my fourth); my 13-day hospitalization; IOP; and my normal, non-bipolar life.

Hence, why the weekend getaway down the shore ("down the shore" is a Jersey saying) was so rejuvenating.

Here are some pictures of our weekend. We stayed this past Saturday to Monday.

 The obligatory feet-in-the-sand shot.
 Me and the ocean.
Had to take a selfie.

A beautiful capture of the sun and the shoreline.

Our bed & breakfast. A gorgeous Victorian home.

 A town trolley. Unfortunately, we were unable to take a tour around town.
There's always next time!
Me and the town bell.

Even though it's spring time, we still have cold days here in NJ. I had to buy a sweatshirt
because I didn't pack a jacket. The sign I'm holding says: "Take vacations. Go as many places as you can. You can always make more money. You can't always make memories."
Indeed. I'm hoping to incorporate more travel into my self-care.

My favorite picture of the entire trip. We took a bus from Manhattan to Cape May.
This is us on the return trip home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Blogging Survey: What is My Impact?

I've been blogging since June 2014, that's about 10 months. I had lofty goals for my blogging.

First, here are the not-so-lofty goals:
  1. I wanted to write again. Before June 2014, I had not written since my days as a poet in high school some 13 to 14 years prior.
  2. I find blogging to be very cathartic. I discuss stuff here, on Manic Monique, that I haven't even fully processed in 8 years with my therapist. And I love my therapist. But in session I tend to be guarded. On Manic Monique I have let down my walls.
  3. I wanted to demystify bipolar disorder for the average reader. Granted, my blog just represents one story, my story, but I wanted to show what bipolar is and is not or what it can or cannot be.
  4. And I wanted to write this blog to show that black people, and by extension, other people of color, of various races and ethnicities, too struggle with mental illness. It is not a wealthy white person's luxury problem.
  5. And now, for my lofty goal: the blog would serve as fodder for the memoir I want to write. In 10 months that I have been writing this blog and through the two memoir writing classes I have taken, this goal has shifted some. I no longer want to write a memoir. Instead, I'll be writing a collection of personal essays. Still very much memoir-inspired. But they'll draw from my non-fiction writing strength. (Memoir while non-fiction, draws heavily from fiction in terms of style. And I am no fiction writer.).
I recently got discharged from the hospital for a 13-day stay. I'll be writing about it soon. Just doing some recovery and IOP. But the hospital stay made me question the effect of my blogging. Was I adding detrimentally to the face of mental health? If I present as highly-functioning and so-called "normal," was I not showing the true impact of mental illness on consumers?

Well, I wanted to know what my readers thought. So I created a brief Google Form survey to find out. I've shared it to Facebook and Twitter, and now I share it here. Please take 5 minutes to anonymously tell me what you think of my two blogs, Manic Monique and the Huffington Post. I really do value your feedback.

And I need to know that I am having a positive impact. If the impact is not what I want, I am considering stopping blogging and instead devoting that time to my collection of personal essays.

Please take the 5 minutes and share your thoughts with me. I will be eternally grateful.

You can access the survey through this link here.