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Crazy Blogs - Trend or Truth?

Aug 17, 2007
There are many trends today in the blogosphere. From "Bitch Blogs" to having cartoon women in your blog header, as well as many others. One such "trend" as it may be called by some is not in fact a trend at all, but an interesting societal statement. So-called "crazy blogs", coming from those with mental illnesses of every variety from manic depression to multiple personality disorder (MPD), seem to be popping up all over the place. How many times have you seen a blog themed with the blogger's own personal mental disorder?

Are these people faking their illnesses because it is the trendy thing to do? Or is there more to these blogs than meets the eye?

Interestingly, the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) reports these statistics:

* More than 54 million Americans have a mental disorder in any given year, although fewer than 8 million seek treatment (SGRMH, 1999).
* Depression and anxiety disorders - the two most common mental illnesses - each affect 19 million American adults annually (NIMH, 1999).
* Approximately 12 million women in the United States experience depression every year - roughly twice the rate of men (NIMH, 1999).
* One percent of the population (more than 2.5 million Americans) has schizophrenia (Schizophrenia Bulletin, 1998).
* Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, affects more than 2 million Americans (NIMH, 2000).

So it would stand to good reason that if 54 million Americans have mental illnesses, quite a few of them are going to be blogging about it. So if these illnesses are real, why are people so skeptical? I personally believe that when a person says they have a mental illness, immediately the person hearing that statement looks for "signs". Obviously, when a person has a physical illness, it is often noticeable to the naked eye - a broken limb, a cut or open wound, an amputation. When a person is mentally ill, often with brief meetings or over the internet, there are no such "signs". If we notice the person is speaking coherently, in complete sentences, without running through the town square shouting gibberish, we automatically assume the person to be "sane".

But with the introduction of the internet and blogs - people who, if you lived with them on a daily basis, you would know that there is a serious mental health problem can actually "hide" their illness quite well over the internet. With the use of the backspace key, editing, and re-thinking what they write, people can appear to be whatever they want to be on the internet. And with the help of the right combinations of psychiatric medications and regular therapy, the person can appear to be quite normal to casual observers.

So are these bloggers lying about their illness for readers, or because it is "trendy" to do so? Likely not. In fact, every single blogger I know who has a mental illness and posts about it in their blog has a serious illness which they and their families have to deal with and cope with on a daily basis. Most likely we only know the "face" that is presented to us, and not the person behind that public image. Mental illness of any kind is a problem that seriously affects not only the person with the illness, but their relatives, friends, spouses, and community. We should be helping them and being considerate of them - not judging them or excluding them.

This entire post has been written by a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic with borderline personality disorder, PTSD and clinical depression - all which I have had since I was 12 years old (except for the schizophrenia which it's onset was at age 20. I am currently 27 years old). I write pretty well for being "nuts", don't I? Would it surprise you to know that I have my own business where I make handmade candles and incense - so that I can earn a living but don't have to come in contact with the public? Would it surprise you to know that I'm a married woman, and my husband helps me deal as best as he can? Would it surprise you to know that you see people like me all the time, at the grocery store, in the bank, at the restaurant? Would it surprise you to know I have a blog...?
About the Author
Stephanie Davies is a 27 year old Missourian with a loving husband and an 8 year old son. She currently owns her own business which sells handmade candles, incense, bath & body products and other handcrafted products at http://www.mystickalincense.com .
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