Rest in peace Amy Bleuel: The Semicolon Project

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” A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life. ”

It is heartbreaking to think that Amy is no longer here with us. She has been out in the world constantly trying to raise awareness and educating people about the importance of overcoming the deep rooted mental health stigma. Whenever I have tried finding some resources online, I have read a story or two about how this project saved someone’s life and gave them hope.

Thanks for all that you did Amy. We know there is long way to go, but your efforts will not go in vain because your story isn’t over;

Rest in Peace. Love ❤

Is there such a thing as a blogger’s block?

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Writer’s block, that I know, been there, have set up a tent and have spent whole summers there. But this is not that. I can write easily in my journal but I simply cannot write on this blog! Saturdays nights around 3am is when I make stupid life decisions, like painting my black hair purple or counting the number of followers on this blog. It is 150, in case you were wondering and that number has been haunting me since. Probably on this blogosphere, it is a minuscule non-number, but you must know I eat lunch alone in the storage unit of our office to avoid talking to a group of people and hence 150 seems like a big-ass number

I tried going to the core of the problem  because that is what I do now and came up with the following

  • When I started blogging under a made-up name I was trying to outsmart the ‘fear of rejection’. If no one knows me, it wouldn’t matter if my writing was good or bad, right? It was going very well in the beginning primarily because literally, no one was reading hence there was no way of receiving virtual rotten eggs back. Then people started liking and following and my writing changed quite a lot. I picked up some good habits, like proofreading and using Grammarly to correct errors but it also got me worried. Instead of writing what I wanted to write, I started writing what might get more likes and traffic and views. It was writing things only when I was sure of it being received well. It is like showing only photoshopped and touched up pictures of my life on social media.
  • Also, some of the readers started having names and faces and now I have people to disappoint in this virtual world. Would so and so like my post? made me hit delete on a lot of the drafts. Whenever a post did not receive any attention, I tried staring the notification button into blinking…BLINK DAMMIT BLINK.
  • This blog started as a place to chronicle my PhD journey one day at a time and now I write about anything but that. A lot of things interest me, sketching, books, fiction, feminism, and most importantly mental health. And sometimes it feels like the blog is getting too chaotic just like my head.
  • Whenever I come across a well-written post on some other blog, I want to come back and cover my blog with a tarpaulin so no one can see it.
  • Every time I publish a post I feel as if that was the very last post idea I would ever have, a fear of running out of ideas.
  • The feeling that I am faking all this. Imposter syndrome
  • And I sound like somebody else in writing

So the intense need to please  people and a fear of running out of ideas are giving me a severe blogger’s block.

Do you know the phrase, Dance like nobody is watching? A few years ago I used to dance with a group, we did shows in many German cities. The choreographer said to me after a show, “your moves are okay but you have to express more on your face and smile”. The mantra dance like nobody is watching worked well when dancing in front of a mirror but when people were watching me for real, it was hard imagining they weren’t there. So he gave me a piece of advice that seemed counterintuitive then, What if you imagine that people are watching you even when you rehearse alone and try to smile as well? So while rehearsing I started imagining an audience. It was terrifying at first, but doing it over and over made that situation less foreign when I went on stage.

So maybe that is all I need, sharing fake sounding pieces until I have the guts to sound like myself even when somebody else is reading.

Have you ever had a blogger’s block?

How do you deal with it?

Love

Jo

Paralyzing anxiety

Tension was an overused word in our household. Amma used to spend almost all of the time in bed, curled up like a prawn, a bed-sheet barely covering her feet, eyes devoid of any traces of emotion. Me and my brother knew better than to disturb her. “She has tension, leave her alone”, all the elders had warned us repeatedly. Annan was the first one to give an explanation, “it is something grownups have, we will not understand”. As time passed the meanings this single word could contain grew wider and wider.

Anxiety might have been too American a term.

We are talking about a village in India more than twenty years ago. So dragging her to temples for long spiritual retreats and trying a thousand different versions of  little rituals to scare away the ghost that had gotten into her, were the go to solutions. Going to a psychiatrist, not even in the top twenty five list.

In the end psychiatry is what put her on the road to recovery . It took everyone long enough to take her there.

 


 

Come 2016, tension invades my life. Instead of curling up and retreating to a bed I stare at a blank computer screen for eight hours a day. PhD is overwhelming. So is BPD. I feel like a person with all the tools at their disposal but who is too paralyzed with anxiety to go forward and take them.

Is there a way not to feel things too deeply?

–Jo