Celebrating Year Nine
I’m Douglas Cootey, and I’ve been blogging here since 2 January 2005. Before that I blogged for years into a tiny text file called “what’s_new.html” and hosted it on a site so old not even archive.org remembers it very well. I would update that blog via telnet using vi on a 1200 baud modem. It was very exciting.
I started out blogging about mental health in order to accomplish three goals:
- First, I wanted to overcome the stigma. I couldn’t talk about my ADHD or Depression without feeling shame. The method I used to overcome this was self-deprecating humor and honesty—a method that continues to work well for me.
- Next, I wanted to reach out to others who shared my issues. My blog has reached thousands of people, many of who don't comment because the mental health stigma is strong. However, many of whom send me emails thanking me from time to time for something that I have written. I have learned so much from their experiences. It has been humbling and educational. I have truly terrific readers.
- Lastly, I wanted to train myself to be a writer. I first worked on posting regularly. Then I worked on posting within a word count limit to train myself to prune & edit my work without fear. Now, I am actually writing a book. It has been a thrilling progression.
I feel I have accomplished those goals. Sometimes I even won awards along the way. I have had my work published professionally in magazines, and I have finished several children's books, a middle grade book, and started more stories than Vulcan has irons in his fire. This year is the year I pick something and see it through to publication.
Occasionally, I write about faith which angers the occasional atheist—something that puzzles me. They follow me for years then "suddenly" discover I have faith in God, which invalidates everything I have ever written for them. I find it sad. I do occasionally write about faith. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and my faith in God and a belief in personal accountability has helped me to overcome many of my obstacles. I don't advocate for my faith here, however. I try very hard to keep things non-denominational. I do advocate for the power of positive thinking in improving your life. No, I'm not sitting around willing the Universe to gift me a Jaguar, but I do strongly believe my life is better because I trained myself to stop thinking negatively. This may come as a shock, but thinking negatively was making me miserable. It took years of hard work to change how I looked at life, but now I feel quite optimistic. I see optimism as a mindset that opens windows of opportunity and solutions and negativity as a mindset that closes those windows.
I strongly advocate Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and I have personal reasons why psychotropic meds are not the solution for me. Please research my stances before firing off angry missives in the comments. There is a stigma within the mental health community against people who manage their mental health without meds. Please don't bully my readers who can't or don't want to use meds. There are effective alternatives out there, and the important thing to remember is that they are managing their mental health in their own individual ways.
In my personal life, I am divorced but not dating. I am busy raising two lovely daughters who still live at home with me two weeks out of every four. I am the father of four girls from twenty-two years old down to twelve, and now I am a caretaker of a Betta fish named Prince. He has yet to complain about my choice in music. He leaves that to the fifteen-year-old.
If you need to contact me, you can find me in a variety of ways:
Follow me on Twitter as @SplinteredMind, or you can friend me on Facebook as well. These days I do a lot of my thinking out loud on Path, though I do have a secret Tumblr page. You're welcome to request to join me there. And if you’re interested in what music I listen to you can follow me on Last.fm. Sometimes I take photos with my iPhone and post them on Flickr. I'm afraid I ignore my G+ page.
Lastly, I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn't mention how much I need your help. Please consider donating to my efforts. I publish my blog content for free, but if you find anything I've written useful to you, I would greatly appreciate a tip tossed into the hat. It will help me defray my internet costs and buy clothes for my daughters.
Anything I didn't cover? Drop me a line. Thanks for reading!
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