I wrote articles for The Mass Media from Spring 2016 to these final few shown in Spring 2019. It occurred to me at the end of Fall 2018 that I could write a commentary piece on the evolution of my articles and what I learned from being so publicly open about my experiences with mental health conditions. This is that article now. I will pull quotes and memories from the finely dusted caverns of my brain to create a final piece that, I hope, closes off this chapter as best as possible.
First of all, in the time that I’ve been writing articles, my font styles have changed in a very interesting way. Originally, my articles at the start were 1,500 words which was a lot of words and I typed single-spaced in Times New Roman. I then started to write non-indented paragraphs with one space in between which I still do today. And by Fall 2016, we cut down my word limit to 800 words. Around Spring 2017, I changed my font to Baskerville Old Face and in Fall 2017, I changed it to Bookman Old Style (which is also the font style I use for my fan-fiction stories).
Another thing that I noticed was a visible shift in my writing; by Fall 2018, I had an unspoken boundary in place for myself where I wouldn’t get too detailed about my depressive or OCD-laden thoughts. Basically, I learned from the past and made it so that I stayed safe and wasn’t triggered while writing my articles. My first drafts would be more detailed, but through the editing process, I took out unnecessary or questionable bits so that it was more polished and safe. This is probably something I could have utilized in the past, but for better or for worse, I didn’t. If nothing else, it shows how I have grown in my recovery and how things naturally evolve and change in life.
The most predominant shift that occurred in my writing was when I re-entered dark days in Spring 2018. I wrote a total of about five or six articles that never got published in the paper because I had lost my way in recovery and was writing very dark, very triggering content. It was the first time in my journey where I no longer believed in better days ahead and for which depression was wreaking havoc on my mind, and I was so consumed by suicidal thoughts. It was the first time that I was writing not to help others but rather only to help myself. While I spent time writing I felt safe, but at every other point in time, I did not. Luckily, around this time I started at Passages and after causing a panic and a ruckus at school with a very explicit article detailing my suicidality, I got hospitalized and stabilized so that I could take better care of myself and my story and do so in a way that was safe for all involved and considerate of those who read my articles. It was a significant lapse in judgment on my part, and I do sincerely apologize for losing sight of my power in writing these articles to share where I’ve been and where I hope to continue growing in.
On the part of notable articles, I remember that my second article ever written was called “The Recovery Lighthouse” and I received a button that said “Article of the Week” for it which I still have up on my corkboard to this day.
It is vastly interesting to me to find that the same tokens about recovery, growth, and hope integral to my telling my story today was present even years ago. I began so many of my projects back then, which was three years ago, and they’re still as relevant to me today as they were then. It’s funny how time changes some things and others stay the same. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to grow and change and yet, in some manners, remain the same. I’m happy that my journey has included hope and brightness and that I’m ready now to continue to share that with the world in the hopes to inspire someone else just beginning their journey.
Lastly, in re-reading some of my older articles this particular quote about the recovery process stood out to me: “I’m thankful for that one person who asked me whether or not I wanted to recover and that I said part of me did and part of me didn’t, because that combination of Q&A enlightened me more than I could have imagined.”
Recovery isn’t a one-time decision; it’s a series of continuous choices and decisions to maintain and manage health in the face of urges, triggers, and temptation.
As always, stay safe.