Been Awhile, Eh? Thoughts and Ruminations…

Been a couple months. Eh, folks? This past year has not been great or consistent for me on the creation front. I started my website and blog back in 2010. I’ve written a lot, I’ve created a lot, and I’ve talked to many of you on numerous occasions. At some point, I’ve come to feel like I have nothing new to add, not much that I haven’t already said before.

And then there is the matter of my audience, you folks. My original intention of starting on this path was to help other people with Bipolar Disorder find their way on their own wellness path. That goal was quickly overwhelmed by the friends and family of people with Bipolar Disorder reaching out to me, trying to make sense of what their loved ones were going through. The problem there is those are entirely different demographics.

Delivering effective messages to a group boils down to understanding that audience well enough to strike emotional chords that will resonate. I almost feel like it would have been better to split off with a different venture. But splitting is rarely a good thing for an audience or presence in general.

Where am I now? Aimless, mostly. I used to feel like I had a clear and distinct path. Now that I’ve walked that path for awhile, I feel more like I’m staring at a snowy field where I know the path is there, but it’s impossible to see.

Not too long ago I had a conversation with a friend who has followed my work for awhile now. And he suggested the importance of building relationships and alliances with other people instead of trying to stand alone. I’ve never really avoided building relationships or alliances. The problem I’ve always had is – what do you do with them if you have no meaningful ideas to move forward?

I’m not exactly the most sociable person as it is, which may or may not be apparent from my writing, and it seems like most group endeavors I’ve tried to be apart of have been more about keeping their own morale up than anything else.

That’s probably not a bad thing, but it’s just not something my brain needs. It’s more exhausting than anything.

My original strategy and goals landed in an entirely different place than expected. But, I think that was also because I wasn’t experienced with what I was stepping into. At first it was trying to help other people with Bipolar Disorder find good information. And then there was the realization of how few people with Bipolar Disorder, diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder by a professional, actually understood how severe and intrusive of a mental illness it is and just don’t take it as seriously as they should.

So, I don’t know.

Anyway, I mostly just wanted to post an update to let you know I’m still here and around, just aimless and feeling like I don’t have anything worthwhile to say that I haven’t already said before. I really don’t want to go the route of a lot of content creators and start producing junk content just to fill the void.

Realistically, I should probably just pick a random direction and go rather than losing more time.

Ah well. Thank you for being here.

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34 Responses to Been Awhile, Eh? Thoughts and Ruminations…

  1. Eleni says:

    Hi Dennis,

    It’s always nice to hear from you. Thank you for the update. Please keep on dropping some lines when you think appropriate. I will be glad to read you.

    Keep going!

  2. Nancy says:

    Dennis thank you for writing this!
    It’s funny how life is…and how your original intent wound up helping me and caretakers and spouses etc. All I can say is that I had searched a long time and no one except for you helped me understand and eventually leave my boyfriend who like you say just didn’t take his illness serious enough to save our relationship…and himself.

    Anyway, don’t stress..keep doing what you’re doing to figure it all out and you’ll see what happens!

    I think I can speak for many many people who
    really appreciate what you’re doing!

  3. ALD918391 says:

    Hi Dennis,
    Just want to thank you for answering my questions and just taking the time to be there to listen about my precious handsome and intelligent grandson who suffers from Paranoid Schizophrenia or as I prefer to call it to those uninformed stigmatizers..
    a Brain Disease.

  4. Marsha says:

    I agree with all of the above. You really helped me get thru a terrible time and helped me to understand what I was dealing with in my partner. Keep writing, whenever you feel like it, don’t feel pressed to do anything on a regular or routine basis. I think I speak for a lot of folks when I say, we’ll be here whenever you do feel like writing.

    • Dennis says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Marsha. I’m glad I was able to help you through that terrible time. I appreciate the kind words and support a lot. Thank you!

  5. LJN918303 says:

    Hi. Sometimes there just really isn’t much to say so just letting people know your OK and trying to stay on the straight and narrow is enough. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep in touch.

    • Dennis says:

      That’s very true. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m not going anywhere. I just wanted to think out loud a bit, express some of what was going on in my mind and let people know I was still here and all. I hope things are going well for you and yours.

  6. Julie says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder over 30 years ago. I’ve read a lot of stuff, taught a lot on both writing and mental illness, and written a lot of stuff. I think what you are doing is good and helpful because you are a real, live, honest, and down-to-earth person. In other words: you’re accessible and so is your content.

    You mentioned that what began as an effort to help those who struggle with bipolar disorder sort of morphed into a connection with the family and friends of those who have the disorder. Does that dishearten you? Several commentors mentioned that, in just being who you are, you really helped them. Cool. I agree. Keep doing what you’re doing. We are all glad you’re checking in. Even if sporadically.

    I have a question for you though. Why? Why do you think so many people who actually share our diagnosis of bipolar do not take it seriously enough? Is that question itself something you might blog on? I have been pondering the idea myself since I came down from the most recent mania and know my own thoughts. I’d love to hear yours!

    Keep writing–


    • Dennis says:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Julie. I hope your unwell cycle wasn’t too bad.

      I appreciate the support and kind words! Really just trying to shake this feeling of listlessness. I suppose I would feel less listlessness by just getting back to work, too.

      I’ve thought about the question you’ve asked quite a bit. Quite a bit. It is something I’m going to write on when I feel like I have a good enough understanding to wrap my brain around it. It’ll make a good topic.

      Thank you for being here and taking the time!

      • K.68 says:

        Just wanted to add that I am bipolar and here for your blog posts. I only just found your blog today. Maybe some of your readers who are bipolar are not posting comments a lot. I am more stable now than I have been recently. When I’m feeling at my extremes, I would certainly engage less.

        • Dennis says:

          Hey there. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Engagement is actually something I’m not too worried about. I know it’s kind of atypical with the way content is typically spread across the internet and all. But I partially worry that people end up giving too much personal information out. That’s one of the reasons I go through and manually read and approve every comment people leave on my blog, and edit out personal details. A lot of this stems from me just being dissatisfied with not having a solid direction recently. It’s more of a me problem than anything else, which I feel I’m on the path of correcting now.

  7. Lissa says:

    You may have begun just wanting to help other bipolar people. But ended up helping not only them but family and friends as well.
    As for your path …. seems clear to me, Maybe writing something to help family and friends understand bipolar has opened up a wider path than you were on in the beginning.

  8. MR381918 says:

    Exactly right about having the illness and not taking care of oneself. I have watched the father of my children turn 40 and he still will not medicate properly. It has came to the point where we stay in touch by phone but he has to show his family actions behind his promises. Sad situation but he refuses to take ownership for anything and is still hell bent on things from the past are true. I grew up with a bi polar mom, i am no doctor but i am familiar with the illness. Myself i have ptsd, anxiety, depression and NARCOLEPSY. I treat all of these illnesses and work and raise two girls and im exhausted if only i had a mate. So please dont stop with your articles. I feel ya when the avenue has gotten to the point of feeling like nobody is listening, but just maybe you have changed one persons life, or maybe one person gets excited when they see your name come thru email becuz they are ready to read your article becuz it is good stuff. Keep it real brother. If you go another avenue i totally understand do ya thang.

    • Dennis says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and providing your perspective. It’s definitely a grind all around. I appreciate the support. I hope things get better and a bit more peaceful for you soon.

      I don’t intend to stop. More just venting off about my journey.

  9. RAL830181 says:

    Hi Dennis,
    I started reading your blog as I was finding it hard to know what type of friendship I should/could have with my bi-polar friend. The things you have written have been very helpful and supportive to me, and helped me feel better about looking after myself, and I am very grateful to you for that. I had a few thoughts in response to your above post.

    Firstly, you appear to have very much engaged your audience, albeit not the audience that you expected, and while I understand that this was not your intention, your blog is clearly meeting a need out there. Is this a problem? I understand that this might not be what you want to do, and if so, fair enough, you might want to search for other ways to better engage with your target audience. You say however, that many people with bi-polar do not want to (yet?) take responsibility for finding the best way to manage their lives, so maybe they are a very difficult audience to engage? At the same time, my guess is that you have already indirectly influenced the lives of a great many people in your target audience, by enabling their friends and family to feel ok about strengthening their own boundaries, and looking after themselves. I don’t think you should underestimate how much benefit/reality check this could have been to the people you want to help.

    I’m not sure what your friend means regarding you building relationships or alliances, you clearly engage with the people who read/respond to your blog. what is that if not being in relationship with people?

    It appears to me that in doing what you want to do, in writing about what you want to write about (and when), you have delivered an effective message, but it just happens to have been heard by a different audience. That doesn’t make it any less helpful out there in the world of mental health, just not what you expected. My suggestion is to keep doing what is right for you, because that is what makes your message effective and meaningful, and as for losing time, isn’t it the nature of life, to have times of fruitfulness, and times of rest or fallowness?
    I hope something of my ponderings is useful, and thanks again for your blogs.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m happy to hear that you’ve found my content so helpful on your own path.

      I don’t think it’s so much that it’s a problem that I found an audience. It was more just reflecting, thinking out loud on the different path my efforts and journey ended up taking. I don’t think it was a bad one though. I figured out awhile ago I could still be helping mentally ill people just by providing quality information and content to their loved ones, to empower them to make safer or better choices. Not a bad thing at all. “Indirect influence” definitely nails it.

      I appreciate your taking the time to voice your ponderings. I think they make a lot of sense all around. Sometimes it can just be difficult to see from the inside of a situation, looking out.

  10. Julie says:

    Dennis. I think your most important post has been the one about “talk to someone” but you specified talk to the doctor. That made a light go off in my brain. When my husband gets to that point, he can’t even think straight so telling him to talk to someone simply allows his head to keep spinning. Telling him to talk to the doctor or to call the doctor, and calling the doctor by name….”Call Dr. Smith now” is the way to talk to someone who cannot think straight. That is something that I hope I will never forget. You are not spinning your wheels. You are getting important information out to people. Perhaps you should think about expanding on that topic. I think that topic and the way you addressed it can be a real life saver.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Julie. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for the support. I’m glad you found that particular post so helpful! I definitely agree that a direct, Point A to Point B approach is far more likely to get a meaningful result. Sometimes people need some guidance and a gentle push.

      I may have to give some more thought on expanding on it. I think the key in presenting that kind of information is making it usable to many, hence not wanting to get bogged down in a ton of direct examples. Something for me to think about anyway!

  11. Linda D says:

    Dennis. This morning at 2AM, I found you. I wasn’t sleeping and was looking for support. I am 67 years old and have been giving both support and doing plenty of enabling, to my 43 year old son who has been in and out of treatment centers and psych hospitals since adolescents. He has done some incredible things through the years–got a degree, wrote a book, worked in the drug treatment field, was a good dad to his two children. He always has enough successes to keep me on board with financial help–rent, car, child support. About 3 years ago he started smoking pot to manage his anxiety. He’s often binges on meth, sex and gambling. When he’s in this place, I back Off with help, telling him we only support health. Then he gets back on board with therapist, meds and meetings and I once again, help,with place to live, food, phone etc. Believe me, I don’t feel like a victim. I know it’s on me. So, It is time to pay his rent but Ive not heard from him for several days. Tomorrow he will surface to ask for “food money”. I’ve just came to a place where I have to stop because there’s no more money to give and I am very tired of the ride. I’m writing because your blog made more sense to me than any thing I’ve come across. I’ve done the NAMI, Alanon and AA–I clearly understand it all intellectually, but my heart is breaking and I needed what got in reading your words early this morning. I was looking for courage to step off the roller coaster with love. Please take care of yourself. Your blog was a beacon in the dark for me this morning and I am grateful. Thank you. Linda

  12. V says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I am glad somehow your work ended up helping so much those who care and love those suffering bipolar, as a collateral consequence I guess. You’re the best source of info I found to make sense of my experience, to understand it better and if I had had the chance it would have helped me to support someone who suffered it with better knowledge.

    I think it may help you to vent and to feel that you don’t have a clear path right now, it may be the way for you to find a new direction for your work. I certainly trust in your capability to help others through your words, you’re really good at it 🙂

  13. Emma says:

    Hi Dennis

    I’m bipolar and I love your blog, you’re one of my favourite bloggers on the illness. You have a way of putting things to words, things that should be talked about, but aren’t. You should be really proud of that.

    But you’re also a great writer in general! and I think it’s such a rare thing to have, and you should keep posting — hell even if it’s about something different. I’d still read your stuff. We all evolve, things change, it’s inevitable, it’s not a bad thing.

    All the best,

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Emma. Thank you for taking the time to comment and the kind words. I appreciate your thoughts. I have actually been kicking around the idea of at least one other project at some point so I can get some other things flowing through my brain. I’m not going away though. I know I have more work to do.

  14. Alexander says:

    Glad to hear from you again. An idea, if i might be so bold, to get back into feeling productive, is to make use of the material you have already written. Perhaps a best of post, or an index, so that new people can get all the wisdom you are so reluctant to rewrite.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Alexander. Thank you for taking the time to comment. That’s a good thought. I think my website needs a general overhaul as it is for the purposes of organization and navigation. I probably should just embrace the circular nature of the internets and stop fighting it.

      • Alexander says:

        Another idea besides an index page/”best of” post, would be something i suggested a while ago. A post for us support people on the line between caring accommodation and enabling, and the line between encouraging someone to get help and pushing them. obviously us support folks aren’t the primary focus of your site, but i think that is one we would get a lot of help from in a way that will help those we are supporting.

  15. eSuzanne H. says:

    Dear Dennis,
    After searching the Net for days, thank goodness I came upon your 2013 blog, “I Recently Fell In Love With This Great Person Who Mentioned They Are Bipolar But…”

    Thank you for explaining the level of hatred my just-former lover feels for me now. It’s crushing!

    Never have I entered into such an intoxicating affair; and never (while he is now in a state of depression, insomnia, and paranoia) have I been falsely accused of so many brutally-inspired “crimes”. He hates me to the point of wanting me poisoned ~ It’s whiplash!

    Neither NAMI, or any other source has helped me understand this visceration as much as your 2013 blog.

    There is a Buddhist inspired slogan, “Leave gently,” That’s all I can do at this point, as I process my misunderstanding and ignorance of the inescapable affects of Bi-Polar.

    The warmest gratitude for the insights you put into your 2013 post.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m happy to hear that you’ve found my post helpful. It’s something a lot of people reach out to me about. It’s unfortunate, but that is sometimes just how things go. A lot of people mistake Mania for love because it so closely mimics everything we’re taught about love, soulmates, and that sort of thing. It can be crushing when the pendulum swings back the other direction.

      I hope you find the right path for you.

  16. Eric says:

    As parent of one refusing to accept his diagnosis, and as my wife and I see a period of unwell ness quickly approaching, we are looking for the type of resource you provide with your perspective and writing. Though we just discovered you, it suggests your work is not “one and done” and adds value to those looking for help whatever the year or season. Thank you for sharing your experience; we think you rock.

  17. Eric S says:

    Our son declines to acknowledge his diagnosis, and in the middle of our frustration we came across your blog. You have helped us see things from a different and important perspective we cannot get from our son, and for that we thank you.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Eric. I’m sorry to hear about your son’s struggles. It’s a difficult thing to see, understand, or accept being diagnosed with a severe mental illness. It’s just as difficult for the loved ones who are struggling to understand. I’m glad that you’ve found my work and writing helpful.

  18. Mara Briere says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I just discovered you and I am impressed by your honesty, ability to express yourself, knowledge, and compassion.

    I founded a small non-profit to help families who have loved ones with mood disorders and other serious mental illnesses because there is so little for families to access on information, resources, skills, and support. The journey morphs regularly and in surprising directions. I am a professional and a parent of an adult child with bipolar disorder 1, a sibling with an older sister with bipolar 2, a daughter of a father with bipolar 1, and the auntie of a niece with schizoaffective disorder. You have brought light to some of the dark places I travel with my loved ones and reinforce much of what I encourage myself and other families to do, especially in identifying safety, boundaries, etc. Whatever direction you move in, you touch those who need the flicker that you shine.

    Thank you!

    May 2018 bring you peace in your heart and mind.

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