Blogs Go Ghandi

Blogging is about community.  It’s about sharing and interacting and telling our stories.  It’s about friendship and honesty and all that’s good about people meeting people.  Blogging is about change, about language launched into action.  It’s about hope, about faith, and sometimes even about love.

So it’s happened in the past week, since I’ve been recognizing Mental Health Awareness Month, two bloggers have visited my site, two women who have fabulous and important blogs about mental health that put Ghandi’s imperative into action—they are “the change” many “want to see in the world.”

Sandy Sue’s “A Mind Divided” explores what it means to live with bipolar disorder and uses mixed media art to image its message of hope in the midst of struggle. Just the other day Sandy wrote about the poverty that often accompanies mental illness, about having to choose between meals and medication, since sometimes she can’t afford both.  She rightly suggests that those who say money can’t buy happiness . . .

. . .  aren’t considering those of us who walk to the grocery store when we don’t have enough money to get gas for the car.  Or who simply stay home, because funds for the groceries aren’t there, either.

Reminding us that “in all the ways that matter, money does buy happiness,” Sandy focuses a light on an ugly underside of mental illness, the poverty that often prevents patients, no longer able to work, from getting the medications they need and sometimes even food to eat.

However, “Suicide Ripple” delivers an even more sobering message—that, indeed, some don’t live long enough to go without medication or become hungry, because a hard, cold fact remains: mental illness kills.  Begun by the friend of a bipolar-diagnosed woman, who committed suicide in January of this year, “Suicide Ripple” is about

the effects such a suicide has on a family, a community, even people who didn’t know the person who completed suicide. This one act by one individual causes a ripple effect that can reach hundreds of people all over the country, even the world.

 The writer hopes her blog will prevent others from ending their lives, showing the impact such deaths have on loved ones left behind, as well as comfort the survivors themselves, creating a community of support.

The bottom line is this—social media has massive impact, affects the way we think about ourselves and the communities we’re part of.  As such, blogs should be used to lessen isolation, loneliness, depression and despair.  If blogging can create the very thing so many suicide victims lack, the very thing that drives them to end their lives and hurt the ones they love, if blogs can build community, create caring environments where sharing can be safely and anonymously undertaken, then  more mental health professions should exploit this potential, and many more who live with mental illness should tell their stories, talk about their struggles, share the hope and joy, peace and comfort that come with recovery.

May more of us use our blogs to affect change.  As Ghandi so wisely advised, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

28 thoughts on “Blogs Go Ghandi

  1. Nicely said Kathy. Blogs do have that power. I’ve already lead one student to your blog when he expressed concern about his mental health. Keep up the amazing work.


      • The student kind of disappeared, but I don’t think it was related (more like he realized he couldn’t pass so why bother coming). I am actually feeling a little better. I got some good feedback from some Comp students and I’ve realized that all I can do is my best. If the students can’t make the same effort, that’s their problem, not mine.


  2. Your bottom right is poignant, and I love how people like you are using social media to a great effect. Not only are you reaching out to all with mental illness, you are educating the masses about what it’s like to live with one.


  3. You have expressed beautifully everything I hope to be true about the power of blogging and reaching out to people. I feel as if I have had my head up my backside this last couple of days but I am finding now that when I get back to this medium my senses soar within minutes of reading. It really is very powerful. And I have just spent ages reading the blogs you linked to today so it is working, working, working! Thanks for a great post Kathy and yesterday’s too was just superb.


  4. Yes, yes, bravo! I’m hoping more people read my blog and start a stovetop popcorn revolution!

    I kid, of course. This is a great thing you’re doing…keep up the good work.


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